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Thika Under Siege As 100,000 People Hold Town Residents Hostage For More Than 14 Hours.

Thika Town was on Friday a beehive of activities for at least 14 hours after over 100,000 people streamed into the town for the Mount Kenya University (MKU) 10th graduation ceremony that was held at their pavilion grounds along the busy Thika-Garissa Highway.

Roads into and out of the town were completely ‘locked’ with both human and motorized traffic as people from all walks of life came to witness the graduation of 9,699 students. As people from both within and without the country travelled long distances to witness family and friends receive the ‘powers to do all what appertains to their degrees’, they experienced the frustration of getting stuck in a traffic jam, some for the first time in their lives. The result of hundreds of vehicle visiting the town at one given time, several kilometers of road was converted into a parking lot, with cars grinding to a halt. This forced the visitors and residents to walk for over 10km to their destinations.

Traffic started building up as early as 5am as vehicles locked all entries into and exits out of town. By 8 in the morning, traffic from Nairobi and from Murang’a had stretched to Witeithie and High Level respectively. People heading to the graduation arena were forced to alight their vehicles, walk towards the venue for kilometres, leaving the drivers to sort out the mess alone, lest they missed out on the big occasion.

The situation, especially for those using the Thika Superhighway from Nairobi, was complicated by the fact that Kenyatta University was also holding their graduation ceremony on the same day.
This meant that they had to contend with jams from Githurai towards Ruiru Town, which was actually on both sides of the road before joining the next traffic at Witeithie all the way to the pavilion grounds. It took them more than three hours to wade through that stretch which is barely 20km.

Traffic police did an awesome job controlling traffic and ensuring that everyone followed the rules. Vehicles moving out of Thika were only allowed to exit via Haile Selassie Road through the Blue Post exit. Any vehicle entering town from any destination using the Thika Superhighway was only allowed to do so through the Gatitu Junction via Kenyatta Highway.

The biggest beneficiaries in all these were the investors in the transport industry. Fare to or from Nairobi shot two-fold as the buses charged commuters sh. 200 up from the sh. 70 they were used to. Makongeni-bound matatus charged between sh. 40 and 50 as the bodabodas took home between sh. 100 and 200 for a ride to or from the town.

Hawkers and other traders especially those trading in foodstuff and gift packs had a booming business as they served breakfast to those who had slept overnight in their buses, given the fact that it was a rather cold morning. After the graduation ceremony, the visitors took hostage all the food joints in town as well as entertainment spots as they took late lunch and for those who had booked hotel spaces, held their graduation parties.

Virtually all boarding and lodgings within the town and its environs were fully booked and one could hardly get a place to sleep. The cerebrations were spread all the way to Kenol and Makuyu on the Murang’a side with those heading southwards taking all spaces in both Juja and Ruiru.

Thika Town was active throughout the night with entertainment joints packed to capacity.

All in all, it was all blessings in Thika to have hosted such a big crowd. In one way or another, the visit guaranteed very many people to put food on the table last night, if not for the rest of this week.

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