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Malindi Matatu operators cry foul

21 September 2012, 10:37 Alloys Musyoka

Business activities at Malindi Municipal Council ground to a halt for hours on Thursday after about 200 Matatu operators in the area stormed the offices accusing council officers of corruption and harassment.

The matatu operators who were demonstrating blocked the main gate of the municipal council offices with their vehicles as well as the road heading to Malindi district hospital forcing traffic police officers to intervene.

They claimed that there are two of municipal council askaris who harass them on daily basis by forcing to be given 100 shilling per every trip failure to which their vehicles are confiscated for petty reasons and later charged KES 13,000.

Representatives of Matatu operators and municipal council officers met for hours to discus s the same as others continued blocking the municipal main gate paralyzing operations.

Led by their spokesman Sabaki Travelers Sacco Chairman Johnson Kalisho they accused the municipal council for taking no action on the alleged officers even after they reported the matter to them earlier.

“There are two people who are working like a cartel by extorting money from matatu operators of passenger vehicles operating from Malindi to Marereni. They force drivers to give them money and when they refuse our vehicles are driven to the municipal yard where without paying KES 13,000 it becomes difficult to get back your vehicle back,” noted Kalisho.

They also accused the two municipal askaris for registering 5 matatus which they allow to pick and drop passengers at the central business district for a certain fee, and strictly arrest other drivers apart from the five selected when found doing the same.

Kalisho said the Marereni Malindi matatu operators want clear explanation from the municipal council on the mode of operation as well as restrict the alleged officers from harassing them.

“We have five matatus which are allowed to pick and drop passengers within the town while others are not allowed, and so that makes our job difficult because when we queue to wait for passengers at the bus park. Others pick them along the way so they don’t come to the stage and that is one big problem we want addressed,” lamented Kalisho.

They also went further to add that the council must harmonize payment of all passenger vehicles ferrying passengers in the town from all destinations.

He said matatu from Marereni pays KES 70 to the municipal per trip while those operating from Watamu and Mombasa to Malindi only pay KES 90 per day, a fact they claim should be reviewed.

However effort to get a comment from the deputy town clerk Mohamed Bathez on behalf of the Malindi town clerk were futile as he kept putting the media on hold saying he was in a meeting to address the same.

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