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Matatu Sacco pleads with the government to lift movement ban

A  Matatu Sacco in Murang’a county has appealed to government to save them from incurring daily loses as witnessed since the President issued travel restrictions to and from Nairobi two months ago.

Officials from Murang’a Shuttle Limited have said the Sacco was losing close to Sh.10 million every month since the month of March, when the national government imposed cessation of movement in and out of some counties across the country.

They said their matatus used to ply Murang’a-Nairobi route but since then their fleet of vehicles have been grounded.

Led by the Sacco chairman, Martin Wairimu the officials asked the president to consider easing some of the anti-covid-19 containment measures so as to save them from inevitable auctioning of their property by creditors.

“We have been out of work for almost three months now and have used up most of our savings. Imposing some of the very strict directives to mitigate the pandemic have only served to aggravate our situation,” said Wairimu.

The chairman said they acquired some of their vehicles through loans, and the creditors are threatening to auction their property due to unserviced loans.

The Sacco has almost 100 matatus which ferry passengers from and to Nairobi, but after the directive, their about 200 workers including drivers, touts and other staffers were effectively rendered jobless.

At the same time, the chairman opposed proposals by some stakeholders in the sector to have matatu seats fitted afresh to ensure the vehicles only ferry fewer passengers at a time.

Wairimu pointed out that fitting matatu seats costs an average of Sh.40,000 and many vehicle owners may not afford the cost at the moment.

However, should the government give us a chance to resume business, we are ready to abide by the laid down guidelines,” said Wairimu.

On his part, the Sacco treasurer Peter Kabore said each vehicle used to make about Sh.4, 000 daily. “Cumulatively we have lost about Sh.30 million since March and we are asking the government to consider the sector as it moves to ease the partial lockdown,” he said.

Another Director in the Sacco, Roy Waweru said so many other people including mechanics and car wash workers rely on the vibrant matatu sector for their daily upkeep and were now enduring untold sufferings.

“When we were told to carry only eight passengers, we complied. Even now, we are willing to follow any other additional directive to the letter,” he said.

By  Bernard Munyao

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