Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has suspended the controversial matatu ban that saw public service vehicles prevented from accessing the central business district.
His decision comes barely hours after he insisted that the ban would not be rescinded.
“I have noted with deep concern the plight of Nairobi residents as a result of the ban, and hereby announce that the full implementation of this directive has been suspended with immediate effect,” he said in a statement.
The Nairobi Governor came under fire on Monday after the CBD matatu ban saw thousands of residents forced to walk long distances.
Traffic was also congested as residents decided to drive to work as opposed to leaving their vehicles at home.
“Although the directive is well intentioned, many innocent commuters, including senior citizens and those with health challenges requiring emergency medical attention, expectant mothers and children traveling all suffered untold inconvenience, and this is regrettable.,” the statement released on Tuesday morning added.
Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja moved to court to challenge Sonko’s decision.
According to him, the Governor announced the decision to ban matatu’s from the city centre without public participation as is required by law.
In a twist of events, Sonko’s statement agreed with Sakaja’s sentiments saying that after the chaos witnessed on Monday: “It also became clear that it is necessary to have contingent measures before enforcement of such key decisions.”
He however reiterated that the city is congested and order must be restored as traffic gridlocks affect businesses negatively.
He added that though the ban has been suspended, he will continue to hold talks with representatives of the affected parties.
“I have met this (Tuesday) morning with the affected PSV operators with a view to agreeing an acceptable solution that has less negative implication on all affected…. During the coming days, I will continue to hold discussions with affected parties to find a way forward,” Sonko said.