Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja on Thursday, January 16, intervened after one person was killed as matatu operators clashed with police during protests in Kasarani on Wednesday.
The matatu operators had gone on strike and blocked sections of the Kasarani-Mwiki road to protest its dilapidated state when police officers descended, firing teargas and engaging the crews. Gunfire was also heard with one person later confirmed dead from a gunshot wound and another seriously injured.
Sakaja met officials of matatu Saccos plying the route, the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) director-general Cyrus Kinoti and police officers in a live televised event to resolve the matter on Thursday.
The senator announced after the meeting that KURA had agreed to immediately begin repair works on the road with Ksh300 million earmarked from a Ksh1.7 billion kitty already set aside to fix various roads.
He further announced that matatus which have kept off the roads since Monday, January 13, had agreed to return to work.
“Met with [the] leadership of Kasarani Saccos, The director-general of Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) and the police to address the issue of Kasarani.
“Works will continue immediately and the matatus will be back on the road,” he wrote on social media after the meeting.
Kasarani residents have been the worst hit by the strike with commuters forced to walk to Roysambu to access matatus heading to the CBD.
The strike has led to a surge in fares both by matatus and boda boda operators in the greater Kasarani area who sought to capitalize on the crisis.
Matatu operators have previously gone on strike multiple times over the 5-kilometer stretch that remains filled with potholes and is rendered impassable during heavy rains, including in December 2019.
Sakaja asserted contractors would not be allowed to undertake sub-par repairs for the road as has previously been witnessed.
“Anybody who does work in this country below standard, by law, they must be surcharged. We do not want a situation where someone who is doing shoddy work is allowed to continue It is a waste of taxpayers’ money,” he stated.