Matatus can have graffiti as long as they adhere to rules set two years ago, the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) has said.
Speaking in Nyeri County on Monday, Director-General Francis Meja said the artwork will not be taken down as long as it does not block windows and cover sacco names.
Mr Meja said action will only be taken against operators who do not adhere to this and other related requirements.
“We want to see what is happening inside [the matatus]. Nobody said all public transport vehicles should have a single colour,” he said.
“There is a misconception that we are against graffiti. That is not the case. We set regulations on graffiti and that is what we will enforce.”
An earlier statement by Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett left matatu owners uneasy as it emerged that authorities would go against President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive to lift the ban on all graffiti.
The president lifted the ban imposed by the NTSA in 2016 to promote entrepreneurial art and culture.
In an interview on a local television station, Mr Boinnet linked graffiti to gangsters and violence.
“I celebrate our culture and love art but not one that celebrates gangsters or violence,” the police boss said.
The NTSA boss also scoffed at threats by a section of motorists to stop their operations over the enforcement of Michuki rules, which are primarily aimed at reducing cases of road carnage.
Mr Meja dared transporters to do as they please and insisted that the operation will be sustained.
“We will not relent. There are those who have complied and are willing to stay in business but the non-compliant ones want to drag them into grounding their vehicles. They are free to do so,” he said.
The operation is by the NTSA and the Interior ministry, whose Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i says he is ready to see offenders punished.
The authority will play the advisory role in the operation that will be spearheaded by police.
The Director of Public Prosecution will speed up the procession of cases on traffic offences.