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Taxi drivers in Kajiado decry bad business impacted by coronavirus

Kajiado County taxi drivers are urging the government to relocate the roadblock at Isinya and Kiserian towns as their business has been greatly affected.

The drivers said the roadblock that was erected following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Containment directive has paralyzed their business as most of their clients operated between Kitengela, Ngong and Ongata Rongai towns.

The  Kajiado Central Taxi Chairman, John Simiren has decried the losses that they continued to incur adding that they were struggling to make ends meet and provide for their families due to a huge reduction of passengers as most people also opted to work from home.

Simiren noted that most of the taxis were bought through loans and the owners needed to earn money so as to repay the loans but the containment imposed on Metropolitan Nairobi and satellite towns has dealt them a big blow.

He urged the Government to at least push the roadblocks further so that they could access Kitengela and Ngong towns.

Michael Ngige a taxi driver at the Kajiado stage decried the drastic reduction of their daily earnings due to the erection of roadblocks.

“Most of our customers travel between Kitengela, Ngong, Ongata Rongai and Nairobi but since the lockdown, we have found it difficult because the police have mounted a roadblock just before Isinya and another along Kiserian- Magadi road completely locking us out from accessing these areas yet we had bought sanitizers, masks and we were ready to maintain the required social distance so that we can protect ourselves and our customers,” said Ngige.

“We are forced to park our cars by the roadside until evening yet we have family members at home and responsibilities therefore it is important that the government looks at our interests as well and allow us to take our clients to Ngong and Kitengela areas so that we can earn something. We are really struggling,” he said.

Although he welcomed the reduction of fuel prices, Ngige said it would not benefit them much as they could not access Kitengela, Nairobi, Ngong, Ongata Rongai and Kiserian towns where most of their clientele operated from.

“The taxi industry has been greatly hit by the coronavirus. We are staring at poverty because most of our clients are no longer requiring our services. We are relieved that the petrol prices have gone down but still the roadblocks mounted are extremely limiting our movement,” Ngige said.

President Kenyatta on April 6 banned all movement by road, rail or air in and out of the Nairobi Metropolitan.

The designated Nairobi metropolitan areas include: Nairobi city county; parts of Kiambu County including Kiambu Town up to Chania River bridge, Thika, Rironi, Ndenderu, parts of Machakos County up to Athi River including Katani, parts of Kajiado County including Kitengela, Kiserian, Ongata Rongai, and Ngong towns.

He said the move was aimed at combating the spread of the coronavirus to other parts of the country since 82 percent of Kenya’s reported cases have been recorded in Nairobi.

“The cessation of movement within the Nairobi metropolitan area shall be for an initial containment period of 21 days with effect from 7pm on Monday April 6, 2020,” said President Kenyatta.

The President also banned movement in and out Kilifi, Kwale and Mombasa where an additional 14 per cent of the country’s cases have been recorded.

However, movement of food supplies and other cargo continue as normal during the declared containment period through road, railway and air.

By  Rop Janet/Albert Lemomo

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