Boda boda riders protest move to bar them from Nairobi CBD

Saturday, September 28th, 2019 00:00 |
Confiscated boda boda at the Central Police Station, Nairobi. Photo/Samuel Kariuki

Boda boda operators in Nairobi yesterday engaged anti-riot police officers in running battles protesting against a directive to bar them from operating within the city's central business district (CBD).

The riders spent the better part of yesterday protesting against the ongoing enforcement of traffic law, claiming police were unfairly targeting them.

The running battles disrupted transport along major roads including Uhuru Highway. Riders said their businesses were being ruined by rogue officers, who arrest them when they fail to give bribes.

Police keep an eye at the Central Police Station following rounding up boda boda riders who flouted traffic rules. Photo/Samuel Kariuki

“When they gave a directive that we should not operate within the CBD, we obeyed what they told us. Why are they now trying to harass us? We have children as well to take care of,” said Dennis Mwangi, a rider operating along Moi Avenue.

Mwangi also said the officers were demanding money before releasing their motorcycles.

The angry group, which vowed to fight until the end, accused the county government of going against an agreement they reached together that they would adopt self-regulatory measures.

Boda boda riders watch helplessly their confiscated motorcycles at Central Police Station. Photo/Samuel Kariuki

“In our last meeting with the county government, we agreed that we would be operating within the designated areas. Why are they now coming with police to forcibly evict us?” asked Cleopas Wambua, a rider along Kimathi Street.

Boda boda riders were recently banned from ferrying people to and from the city centre in the wake of surging crime.

Nairobi City Inspectorate Department director Peter Mbaya maintained that they will continue with the operation, adding that more riders would be arrested if caught on the wrong side of the law.

“We want to have Nairobi look like other cities in the world. This madness of running all over the city we will not allow it. We will continue to arrest more, we are not turning back,” he vowed.

According to Mbaya, only riders providing courier services will be allowed to operate within the city. The rest will have to drop their passengers at Ngara bus terminus or City Stadium.

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