Uhuru approves new authority to ease traffic in five counties

By Margaret Kalekye/PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed an executive order creating the Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (NAMATA) under the enabling provisions of the State Corporations Act.

The mandate of the authority will be to ease traffic jams in Nairobi and satellite towns

NAMATA will cover the counties of Nairobi City, Kiambu, Kajiado, Machakos and Murang’a.

The Authority, as established by the Head of State’s Executive Order, is an interim measure pending the enactment of a Statute that will establish a fully-fledged Authority with expanded powers and a broader mandate.

“The creation of NAMATA by His Excellency the President is the most recent example of his Administration’s unwavering commitment to supporting devolution and county governments directly as well as providing assistance in coordination in matters of inter-county affairs” said State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu.

He added “NAMATA is a bold and visionary policy intervention that, for the first time in our nation’s history, provides a comprehensive and dynamic platform for addressing the decades-old challenges in the transport sector that have bedeviled the Metropolitan Area”

According to State House, the Authority is a consequence of various Presidential interventions and directives issued since 2013 that are geared towards positively redefining the nation’s capital as well as the wider Metropolitan Area that encompasses four other counties.

The Authority shall formulate a sustainable integrated public transport strategy based on the development of a sustainable urban mobility plan that will be the basis for the orderly and structured development of the proposed Metropolitan Area mass-transit system, which incorporates both bus rapid-transit and commuter rail.

“These elements are part of the Administration’s wider plan of improving Kenya’s transport infrastructure as a spur for social and economic development” explained Mr Esipisu.

The establishment rationale of the Authority is based on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in August 2013 between the National Government, through the Ministry of Transport, on one part; and the county governments of Nairobi City, Kiambu, Murang’a, Machakos and Kajiado on the other part.

The Metropolitan Area has experienced rapid growth over the last three decades but there has not been commensurate focus on providing sufficient and sustainable transport options for the area’s visitors and residents.

NAMATA is designed to, at long last, address this gap and provide the Metropolitan Area with a world-class public transport system.