NAIROBI, Kenya (ViaNews) – The Nairobi City County government has suspended its move to decongest the Central Business District (CBD) by banning of Public Service Vehicles off the area. This followed a directive by the Nairobi Governor, Mike Sinko.

A notice was given by Nairobi County secretary Pauline Kahiga in accordance with the 12th May 2017 Gazette Notice 4479. “All the previous gazette notices allocating any other place as picking and dropping areas within the CBD are hereby revoked and become null and void as from Monday,” read the notice issued on December 3, 2018.

Nairobi, Kenya, skyline after sunset. Taken from the top of the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC). Photo by: Stuart Price.
Nairobi, Kenya, skyline after sunset. Taken from the top of the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC). Photo by: Stuart Price.

Commuters using Jogoo Road and Lusaka Road would be dropped off at a distant Muthurwa terminus. Those plying the Thika Superhighway, Kiambu and Ruiru Roads had to stop as Fig Tree Terminus B. Ngara Terminus was set as the final destination for vehicles using Ring Road, Park Road, and Juja Road.

This comes barely a month after the government through the Ministry of Interior Coordination imposed a nationwide crackdown on PSV’s. The government wanted the vehicle operators and owners to adhere to laid down stringent rules geared towards ensuring road safety and reduction in road accidents. Top on that list was making sure that all PSV’s were equipped with safety belts. Failure to comply attracted a steep fee of about $100 for every seat belt that was dysfunction or outright missing.

Nairobi's skyline from Uhuru Park, next to the central business district of Nairobi, Kenya. Photo by Jorge Láscar.
Nairobi’s skyline from Uhuru Park, next to the central business district of Nairobi, Kenya. Photo by Jorge Láscar.

Since the order was effected, thousands of Kenyans were affected with many of them forced to walk several kilometers to the city centre. There have been many protests since the implementation and a fierce online storm criticising the county government. Nairobi Senator Johnstone Sakaja was one of the first people to be vocal against the move. On Monday, he sued Sonko through the court system thus joining in support of many affected Kenyans.

However, things are looking up after Sonko released a press statement on the current state of affairs. “Yesterday, Monday 3rd December 2018, that Nairobi City County Government with full support from the National Government, effected Gazette Notice 4479, effectively banning Public Transport Vehicles from Nairobi Central Business District.

“However, I have noted with deep concern the plight of Nairobi residents as a result of the ban and hereby announce that the full implementation of this directive has been suspended with immediate effect,” read part of the statement.

Sonko has further stated that he will engage various stakeholders in order to find an amicable solution to the traffic quagmire. The vocal politician has previously championed for people’s rights so it comes as no surprise that he had a change of heart. Photos of the elderly and the disabled struggling to find their way to the city centre as a result of the ban surfaced online.

This caused an outrage from various quarters. For now, it is business as usual. Kenyans will have to wait and see how this story unfolds given that a suspension is all but a temporary move. The Nairobi County Government has in the past tried numerous ways to ease the traffic situation in the capital. It remains to be seen as to what steps will be taken next to ensure that all parties are satisfied in this contentious matter.

Download the press statement released by Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko following the ban of public service vehicles from accessing the city centre.

Via News TV