Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen has unveiled plans to formalise the matatu industry.
In a statement on Thursday after meeting association heads, the CS noted that his Ministry was working on a brand new code of conduct to govern the industry.
He explained that the new rules will professionalise the industry making it a dependable formal sector for consistent job creation.
“In my meeting with officials of the Matatu Owners Association (MOA) at Transcom House this morning, we explored a myriad of ways through which we can streamline and professionalise the industry and transform it from an informal to a formal sub-sector regulated by set codes of conduct and policy guidelines that would create better working terms for employees, uphold professionalism in the handling of passengers and promote efficiency in its management and operations,” he explained.
Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen (center) with matatu sector leaders on Thursday, November 23, 2023.
He further explained that the sector is an essential driver of Kenya’s economy, generating over Ksh200 billion in revenue annually.
The sector also offers direct and indirect employment to over 1 million people, including drivers, conductors, and graffiti artists.
Others are interior designers, spare part dealers, mechanics, and car wash attendants.
“We will be engaging further with all industry players and the public with a view to concretise agreeable reforms that would enhance proficiency, safety, and reliability, and turn the industry – which is responsible for the transportation of over 70% of Kenyans – into a treasure trove of opportunities,” added Murkomen.
Governance of the matatu sector, which is infiltrated by cartels and is known for its brash operating style, has challenged the state for years now.
In 2020, the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) carried out an audit of SACCOs operating in the sector in an attempt to kick out the cartels.
Part of the changes at the time included writing contracts for individuals offered employment directly in the sector including drivers, touts, and managers of the SACCOs.
Over 700 SACCOs complied with the directive but three years down the line, the sector is still filled with Kamageras among other employees with no contracts.
Other road users have also complained that matatus operate with impunity and contribute to increased road crashes.
Different matatu saccos along Ronald Ngala Street majorly occupied by matatus heading to Umoja Estate in Eastlands in August 2019.