County Transport meeting aborts after matatu operators disrupt proceedings.

Rufus Ngugi Kariuki, the Central region Matatu Owners Association Chairperson addressing the press after he led his members to storm out of a meeting organised by the County Government of Kiambu to discuss the public transport industry in Thika Town.
A meeting convened by Kiambu County Government to streamline the transport industry in Thika Town ended in a huff yesterday after members of the Matatu Owners Association (MOA) differed with the organisers of the forum that was chaired by Christopher Wanjau, the Thika County Transport Committee Chairman.

The matatu owners demanded an explanation on several issues, among them the criteria under which the committee was constituted notwithstanding a row over some items of its agenda.

Among the items on the agenda was the election of public service vehicle (PSV) representatives which the matatu body argued was manipulated to oust the bona fide elected officials to bring on board people friendly to the authorities.

The matatu owners further accused the county government of working with non-matatu owners behind the scenes without recognising the duly registered body to deliberate on matters related to the PSV industry.

“We cannot allow the county Government to handpick makangas (touts) to represent the matatu industry in this committee. We are the bona fide officials and the right people to decide who sits in the committee on our behalf,” said Rufus Ngugi Kariuki, the Central region Matatu Owners Association Chairperson.

Kariuki said that as an industry, they would not allow themselves to be micromanaged by the county government, adding that they were investors in their own rights whose operations were guided by the law.

The matatu owners scheduled a ‘members-only’ meeting on Tuesday next week where they would chart out their memorandum to the county government besides choosing their two representatives to the county transport committee.

However, it emerged that the bone of contention was emanating from matatu rivalry with a second group accusing the association of matatu owners of sabotaging its efforts to operate in the town.

Speaking on behalf of the latter, Joseph Muhia, who is the Chairman of Chania Prestige Sacco said that (MOA) was hell-bent to suppress new Saccos out of business with intent to dominate and control the industry.

He accused MOA of frustrating their registration by The National Safety and Transport Authority (NTSA) through their influence and financial might, something that had rendered most of their members out of business.

“The truth of the matter is that these group (MOA) are against change and don’t believe in fair competition. They should let everyone to be free to do business. We therefore appeal to the county government to also give us a place to operate,” said Muhia.

(Related story: Thika matatu owners give Kiambu Govt. ultimatum to remove illegal termini.)

Committee Chair Christopher Wanjau admitted that the meeting aborted but said the forum will organise another one on Thursday next week.

Wanjau added that their main objective as a committee was to bring order in the PSV industry especially in the wake of public concerns over congestion in Thika Town.

“We are not interested on internal matters of any of these organisations. Our aim is to bring forth all stakeholders in the industry in order to streamline the transport industry and seek solutions to the traffic congestion within Thika Town,” explained Wanjau.

The committee comprises of 18 members who include representatives from the county government, the security agencies, NTSA, and two representatives each from matatu Saccos, Bodaboda Saccos, Tuktuk Saccos, Taxi Operators among others.


Others include a representative each from both the business and residents associations.
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