Nairobi News

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Githurai commuters stranded as matatus strike

Morning commuters in Githurai were on Wednesday stranded for hours after matatus on the route went on strike to protest the arrest of their colleagues over the twin terror blasts on Thika superhighway.

The five – two matatu drivers and three conductors- were arrested were charged at Makadara court with failure to prevent murder resulting from the terror attacks by not screening passengers.

The prosecution told the Makadara Chief Magistrate Emily Ominde that the crew failed to screen passengers “thereby allowing the buses to be blown up by an unknown passenger.”

However, the accused Robert Gakuru and Joshua Wambugu, who were drivers, and conductors James Munene, Geoffrey Mwangi and Antony Muthee all denied the charge.

The Director of Public Prosecutions has asked for the police file of the five bus crew charged over the Thika Road blasts to establish “the reason and desirability” of the case.

Wednesday’s strike in Githurai started at 6am, with the matatu operators blocking the superhighway to demand for the release of their colleagues.

One of the protesting conductors Codeck Muepi said the arrests were unfair.

“It’s not fair to arraign the drivers and conductors in court because one never knows who he is carrying in these vehicles,” said Mr Muepi.

The police however say that it is the work of the conductor to frisk passengers.

“Police will not retreat. People’s security comes first,” said Nairobi County Commander Benson Kibui.

“They should buy screening machines and hire female security guards to check female commuters,” added Mr. Kibui.

Earlier this year at the height of carjacking, the Inspector General Kimaiyo directed that all Public service vehicles ought to check passengers before boarding vehicles.

He also said that the operators would be responsible for all the carjacking that would happen to their vehicles.