• Kwale matatu operators say it takes hours to get adequate passengers per trip.
• They have threatened to defy Covid-19 directives.
Waiving parking fees is not sufficient relief for the transport sector, Kwale Matatu operators told Governor Salim Mvurya Thursday.
Kwale is one of four counties affected by a travel ban issued by President Uhuru Kenyatta on April 6, to contain the coronavirus.
The directive has left vehicles grounded while those plying intra-county routes struggling to get passengers.
Operators have urged Mvurya to emulate his Mombasa counterpart Ali Joho and provide food rations and free face masks.
“We heard he also gives money to citizens. Why can’t you also save your people from hunger,” they asked.
Kwale matatu operators' chief security officer Suleiman Mwachoa said residents are suffering because businesses have been disrupted.
Mwachoa said they'd defy the Covid-19 mitigation measures if the governor will not respond to them.
He said Mvurya’s waiver of monthly fees on single businesses and other services did not have any impact.
A matatu can wait for almost four hours to get eight people and by dusk, everyone is supposed to be at home due to curfew, he said.
Some residents said instead of food relief, they are given thorough beatings by county security officers while on the way home in the evening.
Director of communication Daniel Nyasi denies the accusations of brutality.
Matatu operators' assistant chairman Hamisi Swalehe said that they won’t starve to death but will take chances to provide for the families.
On Tuesday Mvurya had promised to distribute food to the vulnerable communities by the end of the week.
Base Titanium Company has donated tonnes of food to the Kwale government.
The county chief said a proper distribution guideline should be followed for fairness and transparency.
(edited by o. owino)