Commuters using Kangema-Murang’a town road were on Monday left stranded after local matatu Saccos staged a demonstration.
Four Saccos which ply the road were protesting what they termed as intrusion of their route by unauthorized matatu operators.
The Saccos including Muigana, Kamuna, Kangema travelers and Mathioya for the better part of Monday morning blocked the affected road at St. Mary’s area accusing traffic police officers of failing to prevent other operators who were not authorized to use the route to ply on it.
Led by one of the Saccos’ officials, Mr. Stanley Ngari the matatu owners accused NAMU Sacco of plying the route without a permit.
They said the Sacco had interfered with public service transport along the route and urged the National Transport Safety Authority to stop the unauthorized matatus from using the road.
Ngari said NAMU Sacco was licensed to ply Nairobi-Mugoiri-Kangema road but not Nairobi-Murang’a- Kangema route.
“NTSA has failed to rid NAMU from our route, we are now demanding action from the government to ensure there is a level playing ground for all operators,” said Ngari.
Efforts to block the Sacco from the route started in 2016, but the court directed NAMU to operate five mini-buses along the road.
Police officers were called to calm the situation as they escorted NAMU vehicles fearing to be attacked by the demonstrators.
In a rejoinder, NAMU Sacco Chairman, Samuel Wangige said NTSA had allowed them to ply vehicles along the route.
He said they won the court case filed by the four matatu saccos and thus they were legally using the route and downplayed the demonstration as underhand tactics to monopolize the route.
Three weeks ago, the county security team held a meeting with matatu owners in an effort to streamline operations in the sector.
The Area County Commissioner, Mohammed Barre cautioned Matatu saccos not to use gangsters to frustrate their rivals after it emerged.
The Murang’a East Sub County Police Commander, Alex Muasya promised to bring order on the route saying they will ensure only the legitimate Saccos ply the road.
By Bernard Munyao/Luka Kirubi