Matatu operators in Nairobi are up in arms against the county Chief Office for Mobility Mr Boniface Nyamu whom they claim keeps on harassing them for no good reason. According to the operators who spoke to us on strict condition of anonymity for fear of victimization, upon taking over the newly created department at City Hall, Mr Nyamu crafted, what they allege was a dubious money-minting policy targeting PSV vehicles that operate within the city and its environs, in what he termed as validation of PSV licenses.
Operators allege that Mr Nyamu, Governor Johnson Sakaja’s right-hand man controls a cartel-like squad that targets PSV Sacco’s, and some members of the squad have suddenly become millionaires. Operators say that despite them possessing valid stage licenses, Mr Nyamu has crafted new rules requiring all Saccos to apply afresh for stage licenses and that during the validation process, only Saccos who paid higher fees had their licenses renewed.
They allege that during the validation process, each Sacco parted with between Ksh. 1m to Ksh. 2,5m as fees. It was not made clear to us whether the alleged payment was officially documented, however, despite having picked up the hefty fees, he has failed to renew some of the licenses. A case in hand is where he collected fees from both Msafi Sacco/Naekana and a rival Sacco plying the Nairobi Ukambani route on Tom Mboya Street outside Church House.
The matter has generated a lot of heat to the extent that the two Sacco’s are now appealing to Governor Sakaja to save them from Mr Nyamu. Several other Sacco’s are also appealing to the governor to tame his CO for mobility before they call a matatu strike that will paralyze the transport sector in the city. Those who parted with money to have their stage licenses renewed claim that they were put under pressure and threats hence they had no option but to comply.
Irate operators now say those who fail to comply usually have their vehicles impounded and charged with several trumped-up charges which culminate in more than Ksh. 10,000 in fines or sometimes being put behind bars.
Our attempt to get a comprehensive clarification from him did not yield much, his only answer through WhatsApp was as follows ‘’I have no time for cartel-sponsored questions. Corrupt cartels fighting back won’t stop us from streamlining the transport sector. Thanks’’