Bodaboda operators paralyze activies along Kitale – Eldoret road

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bodaboda operators
A section of the demonstrators

Transport activities along Eldoret – Kitale road were paralyzed for about six hours on Saturday following a day-long demonstration by irate bodaboda operators from Furfural in Likuyani Sub County over what they described as persistence harassment and extortion by police officers based at Matunda police station.

The operators camped on the road at Furfural trading center carrying twigs while riding and hooting chanting slogans denouncing their supposed tormentors.

They complained that the officers had developed a habit of arresting them unnecessarily and extorting money from them on daily basis.

bodaboda operators
Angry bodabodas demonstrating over police harassment-min

They also claimed that when they are charged in court a fine of between Ksh. 15,000 and Ksh. 20, 000 was imposed on them, and failure to pay up exposes them to a jail term of more than six months.

They took to the streets to show solidarity and denounce the action after their colleagues had been arrested earlier in the morning while on duty and locked up at Matunda police station.

“This move is timely due to the mistreatment of the fraternity by police, we have been patient for so long, we have been beaten arrested in awkward ways and mistreated in many ways, it  is time for the government to know that we are also humans,” they lamented.

The angered youths paralyzed transportation services by lighting several bonfires using old tyres along the busy road and also barricaded it with stones demanding the release of their colleagues before activities along the road return to normalcy.

bodaboda operators
Angry boda bodas sets tyres on the fire at the middle of the Eldoret – Kitale road totally disrupting transport activities

As this went on no single officers from Matunda police station went to scene as they all remained locked in the station and left the administration police from Kongoni to engage with the rowdy youths in vain.

It took the intervention of the acting Kongoni chief Mr. Peter Lugano and the area member of county assembly Mr. Robert Kundu Makhanu to cool the situation after assuring them that their colleagues will be released.

Makhanu who is also the majority leader in the Kakamega county assembly warned the police against harassment and extortion of cash from the poor youth who hardly raise enough for their families as majority of them were just employed and have also to ensure they give the agreed amount to their bosses daily.

He appealed to police officers to forge a good working relationship with the bodaboda operators arguing despite being important stakeholders in in the transport industry they could also play important role in ensuring security by giving informing the officers of suspicious characters.

At the same time Makhanu who has already rolled out a driving training for close to 300 boda bodas from his ward promised to ensure all the bodabodas in the ward get licenses and other requirements.