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Motorists’ fuel price protest fails to take off

Simon Kimutai
Matatu Owners Association chairman Simon Kimutai. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A strike planned by motorists over impending rise in fuel prices flopped on Wednesday as matatu owners withdrew their support, citing losses to their business.

Motorists Association of Kenya (MAK), a lobby which champions interests of private vehicle owners, had said earlier in the week its 20,000 members will park cars on major roads across the country for three hours between 7:30am and 10:30am.

Traffic on major roads in Nairobi, however, flowed uninterrupted.

“Of course, there was sabotage. In this industry we have vested and sectarian interests. There were pronouncements that were made against the protest, some of which were sponsored on twitter and other social networks to just to try and water it down,” the association’s chair Peter Murima said.

“Some of our members decided to keep their cars at home, while others drove slowly. Next time we have learnt what to do, and we will be doing it every Wednesday until the government listens and takes action.”

The enforcement of the Value Added Tax from next month, after a five-year suspension, will see petrol prices shoot to Sh131.93 per litre in Nairobi, while diesel and kerosene will cost highs of Sh119.18 and Sh98.54, respectively.

Matatu Owners Association chairman Simon Kimutai said public transport players will not strike over the impending rise in fuel prices, but will pass on the added costs to passengers.

“It is only common sense that we pass over the costs as a result of VAT to consumers of the service. Not that we don’t mind their welfare, but it’s business. We are not a charity,” Mr Kimutai said.

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