Kenyans should prepare for major disruptions on Wednesday, July 12, as the nation anticipates three
demos. These demonstrations are likely to have a considerable impact on day-to-day operations.
The occurrence of these simultaneous events can be attributed to the disillusionment felt by Kenyans regarding the soaring cost of living and contentious tax hikes.
The strike notices issued by various key stakeholders are also expected to paralyze the transport sector, forcing Kenyans to seek alternative means to head to work.
Taxi association protests
Taxi-hailing apps announced a nationwide strike on Wednesday, July 12, over various issues ailing the transport sector.
The leadership of the taxi-hailing association highlighted several key concerns that they seek to address, which include; insecurity, escalating fuel prices, and pay rates set by digital companies.
Kenyan taxi drivers signed up to ride-hailing service Uber chant slogans and dance along the streets during a strike after the company slashed prices in the face of growing competition from similar local firms in Kenya’s capital Nairobi,
A strict warning was also sent to all taxi-hailing drivers to keep their cars off the road during the strike. The leadership argued that the strike would continue until their demands were met by the government.
“Do not try to put your car on the road. We are warning you not to try to test the waters on the day of the strike,” a source said.
On June 21, 2023, Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) issued a 21-day strike notice over the mandatory re-testing exercise conducted by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA). The deadline is set to lapse on Wednesday, July 12.
Supported by long-distance drivers and boda boda operators, the PSV operators argued that the mandatory re-testing was punitive and aimed at frustrating motorists.
They sought to be involved in the decision-making process in a bid to guarantee positive changes within the sector.
“The association calls for constructive dialogue between the Ministry of Transport, the NTSA, and stakeholders to address concerns and find mutually beneficial solutions that prioritise safety while supporting driver’s well-being,” read part of a statement by the Long-Distance Drivers and Conductors Association (LODDCA).
During the Saba Saba demonstrations, Azimio la Umoja Raila Odinga announced nationwide protests that would continue his clarion call for civil disobedience. He warned the Kenya Kwanza administration that issues such as punitive taxes and the high cost of living were non-negotiable.
“And come next week July 12 (Wednesday) we’re going to have more serious demonstrations across the country,” stated National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi.
“Today (on July 7) was the beginning of this new wave of civil disobedience and mass action,” he added.
While making his remarks, the opposition leader rallied behind the push to collect 10 million signatures – a statement which drew criticism from the Kenya Kwanza leaders who argued that the signatures could not kick out President William Ruto from office.
Azimio principal Martha Karua, however, clarified that the initiative was intended to serve as a tally of Kenyan citizens who supported anti-government protests.