What you need to know:
- The police have blamed the operators for being behind lynching incidents in the area.
- Boda-boda operators on their part have accused the police of failure to deter criminals.
Boda-boda operations in Mathira, Nyeri County have been paralysed with the operators engaging the police in hide and seek games in the wake of a crackdown on rogue operators.
Mathira East and West sub-counties have for the past one month been a potential flashpoint between boda-boda operators and the police.
The police have blamed the operators for being behind lynching incidents in the area. Boda-boda operators on their part have accused the police of failure to deter criminals who have been targeting them.
Last week, 132 motorbikes were impounded in Karatina town and about 50 riders arrested. More motorbikes were impounded on Friday at Jambo area and still at Karatina Police Station awaiting inspection by a multi-agency team including the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) and the DCI.
A spot check by Nation.Africa established most of boda-boda passengers picking bays have been empty for the past five days after the operators went into hiding following a crackdown where police have so far seized over 150 motorbikes.
Some of the boda-boda clients who spoke to Nation.Africa said while they have been inconvenienced by the ongoing crackdown, they support the streamlining of sector because is an important segment of the transport industry in the country, especially in the rural areas.
“We are now being forced to look for alterative transport, but if the operation is meant to streamline the sector, we are ready to pay the price” said one trader.
However, the police said they have not prevented the operators from to carrying on with their business as long as they comply with the law.
The officer commanding Mathira East sub-county, Mr James Barasa, appealed to those whose motorbikes have been impounded to get in touch with the police and present the relevant documentation starting today.
“We have not prevented any one to do their business. We appreciate the fact that boda-boda operator are doing genuine business to fend for their families, but there are those who don’t want to follow the law, these are the ones we are having problems with," said Mr Barasa.
The chairman of the 3,000-member Mathira Boda-boda Association Mr Benjamin Mwangi could not immediately quantify the cost of the current crackdown but estimated it to hundreds of thousands of shillings.