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MPs can’t agree on effects of ‘Netanyahu traffic’

MPs were Wednesday divided over the inconvenience caused by lengthy traffic jams occasioned by the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying Kenyans were caught off guard.

While some said Nairobi residents have been inconvenienced because of traffic jam, others were of the view it was a small price to pay for hosting a “friend” who had brought immense benefits in agriculture, technology and security sectors.

This was despite an apology by Mr Netanyahu on Tuesday night for the traffic mess in the city occasioned by his visit.

Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso said from the debate on the floor, the government should inform Nairobi residents which roads are closed.


Since the Israeli PM landed in the country, some roads in the city have been closed without prior notice, catching motorists off guard.

Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo said police were flouting the Traffic Act, which provides that roads cannot be closed without being gazzetted and notices put in newspapers.

“Yesterday (Tuesday), I left home at 6 a.m and arrived in Parliament at 10.30 a.m. Even then I had to park my vehicle around Railways and walked to Parliament,” said Mr Midiwo.

He said the country should be “conscious” of its sovereignty and not appear to be insubordinate to a visiting dignitary.

Mr Midiwo said depending on which hotel Mr Netanyahu spends the night, motorists would be able to determine which roads will be closed and use alternative routes.

The Gem MP, who is also the Deputy Leader of Majority, said he was not against Kenya doing business with other countries but the convenience of Kenyans should also be considered.


However, Kuresoi North MP Moses Cheboi said “Parliament must learn to respect our visitors” as the country gains from such visits.

Mr Cheboi blamed the relatively empty House to “colleagues enjoying Idd holiday” and not as a result of the traffic jam.

Ainabkoi MP Samuel Chepkong’a said the country was bound to gain from the largest irrigation project being undertaken by the Israelis.

He said the Israelis also assisted in the rescue mission after 1998 US embassy bombing in 1998 and its technology used to find and rescue survivors after a building collapsed in Huruma.