I believe two key factors contributed to this:
1. The matatu strike on Monday and Tuesday meant that virtually everyone who owned a car brought it out and used it for just about every trip they needed to make. (People often drive to work or to a parking lot then use public transport to commute into/out of town & run small errands)
2. The new years holiday fell on a weekend. As usual schools were opening on the first Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday of the year. Of significance this year is the fact that Monday 4th was also the first working day of the year. If the 1st is a Monday for example, schools would open on the 8th. Parents would have 2nd - 5th to do school shopping. This year, everyone rushed to do their school shopping on 4th and 5th January.
These two factors along with Kenyans' typical selfish driving habits combined to make traffic really bad all day on Monday and on Tuesday mid-morning and afternoon. However, the worst was to come on Tuesday evening.
HE the President returned to Nairobi from his annual holiday in Mombasa. Therefore, traffic had to be stopped to accommodate his motorcade. Now on the best of traffic days, the presidential motorcade causes a big disruption. On Tuesday evening, with traffic already very bad, the motorcade caused gridlock just about everywhere. It took me two and a half hours to get from The DO office on Waiyaki Way (by Safaricom Building) to Sarit Centre, a distance of maybe 2-3 kilometres.
Is this really acceptable? The president was flying into JKIA, the authorities knew what the traffic situation was. Would it have been so difficult to get a helicopter to ferry him from the airport to State House? Should this not now become standard procedure whenever possible for ferrying the president around town?