Transport sector stakeholders meeting aborts in Mombasa

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By Tobby Otum

A meeting of stakeholders from the transport sector in the coast region ended in disarray after failing to agree on the way forward.

The meeting which brought together owners of buses, trucks, tuktuk and motorcycles (boda boda) among other stakeholders was held at Tudor Water Sports in Mombasa county with an agenda to call for a national strike over the government’s insensitivity in the ongoing dawn to dusk curfew.

The meeting was suppose to come up with a resolution to paralyze the transport sector in the entire nation after being frustrated by government’s order not to operate at night.

Divisions emerged when truck owners rejected the idea of a national strike saying they are not activists and they are exempted from the order not to operate during curfew hours.

The truck operators said they are allowed to operate by the government being part of essential services.

But they were in agreement with the proposal to oppose the hike in fuel price and calling for a dialogue with the government before resorting to a strike.

Bus owners accused the government of double speak for allowing trains on the standard gauge railway line to operate at night while ordering them to adhere to the COVID-19 pandemic protocol.

The bus owners said to make matters worse passengers using the SGR flouted the COVID-19 health protocol which was not the case with passengers using buses.

They said majority of passengers preferred to travel at night and therefore they are operating at a loss.

When a section of the media arrived at meeting venue the transport sector stakeholders and members of the civil society who were present at the forum declined to talk to the media.

The bus owners chairman Abubakari Talib said he was away in Nairobi but he had assigned his deputy to hold brief for him.

He acknowledged they had an issue with the government over night transport and that is why he was in the Capital City to meet with transport and health ministry officials.

“We are ready to abide with health ministry protocols to curb the spread of the virus but we want to be allowed to operate at night as we have to service bank loans,” he pointed out.

The bus owners chairman downplayed the disagreements between truck owners and other stakeholders in the transport sector saying he was not aware.

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