Brace for major strike, matatu lobbies warn

Sunday February 19 2012

PHOTO | FILE  Chairman of the Matatu Welfare Association, Mr Dickson Mbugua.

PHOTO | FILE Chairman of the Matatu Welfare Association, Mr Dickson Mbugua. 

By FRANCIS MUREITHI [email protected]

Public transporters have warned Kenyans to prepare for the “mother of all strikes” to protest the Transport ministry’s decision to phase out 14-seater matatus.

Matatu Owners Association and the Matatu Welfare Association issued a 21-day strike notice as they accused Transport Minister Amos Kimunya of plotting to plunge the country into a transport crisis.

They want the ministry to shelve the decision to allow the sector to regulate itself.

In a show of unity, the two groups agreed to speak with one voice as they issued what they described as “Nakuru PSV Declaration”.

They vowed to stage a major strike if their demands are not met by March 8.

“We have been having strikes, but the coming strike will not only be the mother of all strikes in the industry, but it will be a case study for generations to come,” said the two groups in a joint statement after the meeting held at Nuru Palace and attended by representatives from Nairobi, Mt Kenya, Coast, Nakuru and Kiambu, among other areas.

To add weight to their decision, the groups invited several leaders including Naivasha MP John Mututho, Roads assistant minister Lee Kinyanjui, former Naivasha MP Jayne Kihara and officials from the Ministry of Transport and Kenya Revenue Authority.

They condemned the Transport Minister for “deliberately misadvising President Kibaki on the phasing out of the 14-seaters”.

“President Kibaki’s legacy will largely be remembered for the expansion of infrastructure especially the roads and this legacy should not be distorted by the minister who is misadvising the government to kick us out of the industry,” the chairman of the Matatu Welfare Association, Mr Dickson Mbugua, said.