Kilifi County withdraws truck operation restrictions after drivers' strike

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The decision came after they went on strike on Saturday, causing severe transport disruptions along the Malindi-Garsen Highway.

The Kilifi County government has been forced to withdraw new regulations restricting truck drivers to operating between 6 am and 6 pm.

The decision came after they went on strike on Saturday, with sand transporters blocking both sides of the road, causing severe transport disruptions along the Malindi-Garsen Highway, with the traffic stretching more than two kilometres.

The truck drivers accused Kilifi of hampering their work by cutting their hours and eliminating operations.

Kassim Abdul, one of the striking drivers, said there had been complaints since Friday morning when Governor Gideon Mung’aro imposed the rule.

“Why are we being assigned hours? There have been complaints from loaders, timber transporters, and others," he said.

Ahmed Salim, another driver, said, "We have a big problem. The governor has imposed inappropriate regulations. He has set us unworkable times. The roads are bad and not repaired and then he comes and tells us not to work at night. Why not? What does he want?"

He added, "We are not going to move vehicles until the governor himself comes here. We want him to allow vehicles to work as before. We pay the county. We pay for everything so he should let the vehicles operate without restrictions. He should not control our work."

Peter Kenga highlighted the economic impact on residents.

"We agree to be led, not to be ruled. The time for being ruled is over. It was said that vehicles operating at night do not pay cess but for us sand transporters, it is hard to evade paying cess because you receive a message showing you have paid."

The situation forced Mung’aro to intervene and visit the cess collection point during the protests.

In his address to the drivers, he said, "I apologise for the trouble you have experienced all day. I have met with transport and drivers' leaders, and they have explained your issues. We will have another meeting with transporters and lorry leaders in my office to discuss the issues further."

Mung’aro also acknowledged the issues at the cess collection stations, explaining that they were fighting corruption.

"The measures we took recently were because a lot of money is being stolen at the cess stations. Maybe you pay correctly but there is corruption among our staff, not among you transporters. Our county workers are involved. That’s why I fired everyone working at the cess station recently," he said.

"Starting Monday, there will be new young people from here working at the cess stations, and we have agreed to suspend the ban on operating times starting today."

He assured the drivers that the ban would be lifted immediately, allowing them to operate day and night and promised to address the other concerns in a forthcoming meeting.

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