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It’s showtime for Nairobi matatus

Matatu operators on Sunday paraded their best vehicles at the KICC grounds for the Nganya Awards.

The panel was not looking into the flashiness of the vehicles but chose to concentrate on safety.

The public was made the judge. Nairobians were to vote for their favourite matatus across multiple categories including the best Sacco, driver, conductor, most compliant route, among others.

The event came on the backdrop of public fury over public service vehicles’ daily operations which some feel have become very reckless, costing many lives.

“Being a ‘nganya’ is not about the fastest or the most colourful vehicle. It is about the matatu and crew that will get you where you are going safely,” said Dennis Mugo, popularly known as OJ.

It was, however, inevitable that flashy matatus would get more votes. The matatu unique transport culture has made other Kenyans know Nairobi.

“Our objective is to celebrate the unique Kenyan Matatu culture,” said Dennis Bikambo, one of the organisers.

The event also doubled up as a road safety campaign with the Kenya Red Cross holding a blood donation exercise at the venue.

Some of the colourful competing matatus were from various saccos including Umoinner, Embassava, 45 Sacco and 105 Shuttle. Molo Line, 2NK and Mash Poa were among upcountry operators at the show.

By the time of going to the press, the only award presented had gone to Bikers Association of Kenya for road safety.

Meanwhile, a Sunday church service to pray for Umoinner sacco fleet was postponed for the second time on Sunday.

The service was to be held in Umoja near Visa Place where the Umoinner Sacco has a piece of land.

It later emerged that the area MP George Theuri who was supposed to attend the service got engaged elsewhere.

“The MP was supposed to come but he called to say he would not be available. We will probably hold it next Sunday,” said Umoinner treasurer John Wanyeri.

The prayers too were meant to boost public confidence in the vehicles.

An Umoinner matatu was involved in an accident with a train at Mutindwa on September 30, killing 12 people and injuring many others.