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Matatu operators in Kasarani threaten to stage fresh round of protests

Operators of matatus that ply the Kasarani-Mwiki route are threatening to down their tools again, barely three weeks after staging a four-day strike to protest the poor state of the roads.

The saccos claim they were cheated into resuming their operations by Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja’s promise to have a contractor immediately commencing repair of the dilapidated roads.

Sakaja’s “one hour” promise has since turned to three weeks with the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) now blaming the rains for the delay.

“We wish to inform the public that repair works along the 2km section of Kasarani-Mwiki road is set to commence before the end of this week. We hope the ongoing rains will subside as predicted,” Kura said on Tuesday.

Nairobi News has established that the only work that has been done on the 5km stretch is digging roadside trenches.

A sacco representative who spoke to Nairobi News said they feel betrayed by the government.

“We met the government and they promised work would start immediately, and they even came here on top of a bulldozer. But as soon as the cameras left, they also left. Nothing has been done, and if they don’t start soon we will down our tools again,” he said.

VIOLENT PROTESTS

During the meeting, which was also attended by Sakaja and top security officers from the DCI, Kura made a commitment to have a contractor on site within one hour to commence road works.

Kura Acting Director General Cyrus Kinoti, said the authority was aware of the state of roads in Nairobi and other towns.

He promised to embark on pending repairs as soon as the rains cease, noting that Kasarani-Mwiki road had been allocated Sh300 million of the Sh1.7 billion set aside for repair works in the city.

Mr Sakaja later accompanied the contractor and together with the Presidential Delivery Unit, promised to personally monitor the progress of repair of the road.

Public transport was paralysed in the area for four days after matatu operators plying the route went on strike over the sorry state of the road.

During the protest, Kenyan police used teargas and water cannon to disperse the protesters which left one dead and several injured.