Machakos County Commissioner Mr. John Ondego has warned matatu Sacco bosses against riots, blocking roads and causing chaos after Naekana Sacco joined Tala, Kangundo and Nairobi routes resulting in tough competition.
Ondego speaking to the media in his office in Machakos town said they have resolved the issue of the riot that happened two weeks ago and law must be followed to protect transport sector and people’s lives.
The County Commissioner said they cannot condone lawlessness and have so far arrested 26 lawbreakers, who have now been taken to court and charged.
“The Law must be followed, those who were involved in the riots on Tala and Nairobi route were all arrested and charged in court. As for now matters are resolved,” said Ondego.
Ondego said the matatu Sacco leadership together with the County Government agreed that all matatu must operate from the Bus Park.
He added that his Security team together with the transport committee from Matungulu, Tala and Machakos, had a meeting where they went and showed all the matatu Saccos where to pick and drop their passengers.
Ondego further stated that Naekana is not a new entrant because NTSA had licensed it to operate the route since 2019, so the other Saccos should charge fair prices and not blame Naekana.
He advised the Matatu Sacco’s to work together and resolve their issues amicably. He also asked them to follow the right channel to communicate their grievances instead of resorting to riots.
“Work together and solve your issues amicably as you follow the right channel to air your grievances instead of disrupting transport,” added Ondego.
He noted that fare was the big issue because the Saccos which have been there before were charging Sh400 from Tala to Nairobi a 40km distance and yet Naekana was charging from Sh 150 to Sh. 200 on the same route.
He said fare charged will be controlled by the market and Passengers have an option to use any matatu they want depending on the prices.
Ondego appealed to the Matatu Saccos who practice monopoly and threaten new entrants that the work of the Government is to regulate the transport industry through the NTSA.
He further added that the County Government designates the point of picking and dropping passengers and Sacco’s should not deny licensed operators to work.
“If a matatu Sacco has been licensed to operate then you as an operator should not deny them because you are not the regulator,” noted the County Commissioner.
Two weeks ago hundreds of commuters travelling to Nairobi from Tala and Kangundo were stranded following tensions triggered by the protests.
The two dominant Saccos in Machakos are Kam and Makata, who claimed that the move by Naekana to reduce fares was a scheme to have unfair competition. They barricaded the road from Tala to Komarock about 15km apart, disrupting transport on Kangundo road and Tala.
Naekana Regional fleet manager Peter Mutuku said his company had complied with all legal requirements to operate the route.
Several Naekana vehicles had already been destroyed by criminals allegedly hired by their rival Saccos, even as police stepped in to enforce law and order.
The road was later cleared by Anti- riot police officers after they lobbed tear gas canisters to disperse protesters.