Page last updated at 18:10 GMT, Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Kenya matatu minibus strike called off

Commuters in Nairobi, 05/01
While schoolchildren enjoyed walking, some commuters were exasperated

A two-day strike by Kenya's matatu minibus taxis, which had stranded thousands of commuters, has been called off after government intervention.

Matatu operators agreed to go back to work after the government promised to deal with their grievances.

Many disgruntled commuters have been forced to walk for miles to get into work over the past two days.

Matatu operators are protesting against police harassment, but the authorities say they are enforcing safety laws.

Nairobi's police chief accused the strikers of blackmailing the population.

A spokesman for the matatu operators confirmed to the BBC that the strike was over after talks with senior officials.

The mutatu operators said Internal Security Minister Orwa Orode had given "assurances" that their grievances would be dealt with.

But no firm deal has been reached.

Tighter enforcement

Matatus are the main mode of transport in towns across the country and the strike had caused havoc.

The BBC's Christine Otieno in Nairobi says groups of schoolchildren were quite happy strolling to school but commuters were less enamoured by their altered journeys to work.

One commuter told the BBC's Network Africa programme he had set off walking at 0600 to get to work by 0830.

He was adamant that the strikers had little public support.

The matatus last went on strike in 2003 over new safety rules but their protest fizzled out as the measures had strong public backing.

The latest protests were sparked when a new police chief took over and demanded a tighter enforcement of the rules.

Print Sponsor

Kenyans stranded as buses strike
04 Jan 10 |  Africa
Crackdown hits Kenyan commuters
02 Feb 04 |  Africa
Crash courses for Kenya's drivers
31 Oct 02 |  Africa
Country profile: Kenya
07 May 11 |  Country profiles


Times Online Live: Britain hit by minus 10C temperatures and more than 40cm of snow - 3 hrs ago
The Independent Starvation looms as UN suspends Somalia food aid - 12 hrs ago Bus strike chaos in Kenya - 19 hrs ago
Spiegel Online Picture This: Crush Hour - 19 hrs ago

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific