City commuters have been dealt a major blow after the High Court on Monday declined to suspend a directive barring matatus from accessing the Nairobi CBD.
Justice Pauline Nyamweya was ruling on two petitions filed by Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja and Matatu Saccos. She directed the parties to file and serve their petitions to the respondents- county government of Nairobi, National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), and police for hearing on Thursday, December 6.
At the same time, Governor Mike Sonko has held firm on the ban despite an uproar from Nairobi commuters who on Monday had to walk from various designated bus termini to the city centre as the matatu CBD ban took effect.
While appearing before the Senate Public Investment Committee, Sonko apologised to Nairobians for the inconveniences caused and called for patience.
He even joked that Nairobians should accept the ban as a way to work out through walking.
“Over the months we have been going to Kigali, Dubai, New York to benchmark…why are we wasting taxpayers’ money if we are not implementing all these directives, we are going to learn there. I know people are suffering, I am just requesting for patience from commuters, we are going to work on an amicable permanent solution to address this issue,” said Sonko.
“From Muthurwa to the CBD it’s just a walking distance, it is a one minute walk. Many people don’t go to the gym this is now part of exercise,” he added.
“Mr Chair even if you go to the restaurant today and you want an omelette, before it is prepared, an egg has to be broken. Our people are now suffering, but we are very considerate of this fact. Before anything good happens, it is painful and I understand that people are suffering walking from Ngara to town or Muthurwa to town. We have invested a lot on transport. We are very considerate leaders and our intention is not to punish Kenyans,” said Sonko.
He further said that the government was working on providing BRT and NYS buses for the physically challenged.
“This morning I just spoke to the President and we are looking for NYS buses to transport the physically challenged from their stages to CBD,” he said.
Sonko is expected to reappear before the Senate Transport Committee chaired by Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi on Wednesday to give more insights into the Matatu CBD ban.