A Walking Nation in the Wake of New Year
Thousands of commuters reporting to work were stranded yesterday due to the countrywide public transport strike. Citing police harassment on the Kenyan roads, the matatu operators have vowed to carry on with the planned 3-day strike despite threats from the government. The situation forced most Kenyans to trek long distances to get to their work destinations in the chilly, drizzly morning weather. Most employees were resuming to work after a long Christmas holiday break.
Transport was paralyzed in most parts of the country and with the on-going el Niño rains that started last month, Kenyans are braced for tough times. School-going children were not spared either. Being the first day in school after long holidays, many could not make it to school due to the strike.
Matatu Welfare Association (MWA), the umbrella body of matatu operators accused traffic police of harassing them and demanding for bribes. But the police spokesman Erick Kiraithe has defended the police, saying the current traffic operations and crack-down is meant to ensure safety for commuters and remove any unroad-worthy vehicles. He added that the exercise will go on until sanity returns to roads.