West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo stormed the Safari Hotel roadblock along the Kitale-Lodwar highway yesterday evening to free a boda boda rider who was confronted and beaten by police officers manning the road in the ongoing PSV operator’s crackdown.
The rider, Mr. Leonard Powen who was carrying onions from Ortum Market to Kapenguria was stopped by the police who started harassing him and tied him with handcuffs to the motorbike.
Earlier during the day the boda boda and vehicle operators had a conflict with the police at Marich on the same road where the operators were clobbered, leading to youths creating a barricade on the road and they also burned tires in protest over the police harassment.
The furious Governor removed the metal devices from the roadblocks telling the police officers on the road to leave the place. Journalists were also got up in the mess as police officers harassed them for taking photos.
Governor Lonyangapuo moved to Chepareria, Ortum, Chepareria roadblocks and Ortum police station where operators and vehicles and motorbikes and vehicles had been nabbed and accused the security team working in the County for putting up many roadblocks in the area. The drama attracted a huge crowd at the police station.“We want the Police Commander Mr. Mathew Kuto to remove all illegal roadblocks in this area and leave only two at Tartar and Marich,” he said.
The County expressed fear that the crackdown has affected revenue collection in the County leading to many youths who were engaged in the transport business to go back to cattle rustling and banditry activities.
He said that police officers have been beating the riders and also impounding their motorcycles which are thereafter taken to police stations and others to the general store despite the grace period given to them by the state. “Matiang’i and Boinett should come and train the youths first and take the police to Apuke and Kamlogon where there is an insecurity challenge. They are reviving dead wounds,” he said, “Am reading malice in the crackdown because it seems there is someone who is not happy about peace in this area,” he said. However West Pokot Traffic Base commander Mr. Elijah Teeka dismissed the allegations saying those complaining have not been following the road rules.