Call for action on Kenya's roads after 30-mile traffic jam

23 November 2015

A traffic jam that blocked the main trade route between the key East African port of Mombasa in Kenya and the capital Nairobi has “gravely affected” the whole region, according to Mombasa’s governor Hassan Joho.

The 30-mile gridlock – which saw vehicles held up to 60 hours – began last Wednesday after heavy rains blocked a road off the Mombasa-Nairobi Highway between the towns of Mariakani and Voi.

The poor state of the road and delayed construction works on the main highway itself were also to blame for the blockage, Jojo said in a statement.

“The traffic situation has become disastrous and needs urgent and proper attention,” he said, adding that getting in and out of the coastal region had become “extremely difficult”, with commuters and freight vehicles stranded and the provision of food supplies from the north of the country becoming irregular.

“Getting cargo out of the port to its various destinations across the East and Central African regions has become a challenge,” he said. “I strongly urge President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene.”

The traffic jam had begun to ease by Saturday after police were deployed, according to local reports. However, acting chief executive of the Kenya Transporters Association, Willingtone Kiberenge, told Reuters that their trucks did not move for 60 hours and that they expected losses amounting to “millions of shillings”.

Kenya National Highways Authority is yet to respond to SM's request for comment.

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