The High Court has rejected a decision by Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko to ban public service vehicles (matatus) from accessing the city centre.
Governor Sonko started enforcing the restriction on Monday, as part of plans to decongest the central business district, but suspended it on Tuesday after the public and business people in the matatu industry complained. Some politicians also opposed the move, noting it requires proper planning.
Lady Justice Wilfida Okwany said that Monday’s ban caused a great inconvenience to the public and dented the economy.
The judge further noted that that it is not clear how long the decision by the Governor to lift the ban will last and therefore it’s necessary to issue the orders.
The orders from the High Court are to stay in force until the December 11 when the matter will be mentioned.
Businessman Paul Kobia filed a case arguing that the decision to prohibit PSVs from accessing the Nairobi City is capricious, oppressive, irrational, unreasonable, illegal, unjustified, and unconstitutional and against the rules of natural justice.
Through lawyer Henry Kurauka, Kobia told the court that in 2011, Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko moved to the court to lift a similar ban and was successful.
According to him, the circumstances have not changed to allow him to support the ban and he should not be allowed to ‘blow hot and cold’ when he understands the predicament facing city residents.
“The action will slow and adversely affect the economy because movement of employees, traders, goods and products will be hampered. Further employees who will walk long distances will not be optimally productive,” she said.
Kobia wants the County Government to comply with Articles 10, 35, 40 and 46 of the constitution that allows public participation, transparency, information, accountability, equity, among others in making critical decision affect citizens.
He also wants the governor to issue reasonable and adequate notice to the commuters prior to the implementation of the ban.