Leaders, PSVs and boda boda operators in West Pokot County have protested over the alleged police harassment, brutality and corruption in the ongoing traffic crackdown in the area. Kapenguria Member of Parliament Mr. Samuel Moroto and area members of county assembly who joined boda boda and vehicle operators in Kapenguria town faulted the police for taking advantage of the crackdown to take bribes and harass youths in the area.
They accused the security team working in the County of putting up many roadblocks on roads in the area a thing that has led to transport paralyzed and economy of the area affected.
The leaders expressed fear that the crackdown has led to many youths who were engaged in the transport business to go back to cattle rustling and banditry activities.
They allege that police officers have been clobbering the riders and also impounding their motorcycles which are thereafter taken to police stations and others to the general stores despite the grace period given to boda boda riders till next year January 31st by Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i.
They said that 80% of vehicles plying roads in the area belong to police officers. “The youths have turned back to regressive practices and crimes in the area. The Government should understand the history of West Pokot. This was a closed district. We want the police who took the key of a vehicle carrying female students who had finished exams to be investigated.
This is a dangerous time for young girls who are at risk of early pregnancies. We want the County commander, County commissioner and Base commander to intervene in the matter,” said Moroto.
They accused the traffic police, administration police and National Police Reservists of mistreating boda boda, vehicle drivers and conductors operating on roads in the area. They further called on the government to extend the period for boda boda riders to comply with the traffic rules. Moroto promised to allocate funds from the CDF Kitty to offer training and pay for driving licenses for drivers. “We as leaders and the County government will cooperate to help the youths,” he said.
Nominated MCA Elijah Kaseuseu faulted the security team for using National Police Reservists (NPR) on roadblocks who haven’t been trained. The boda boda association chairman in the County Mr. Peter Kachipa criticized the police for demanding bribes from boda boda and vehicle operators in the area. “We don’t know where the money they solicit goes. They don’t issue receipts and many people have given them money,” he said. However, West Pokot Traffic Base commander Mr. Elijah Teeka dismissed the allegations saying those complaining have not been following the road rules.