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Exclusive: Notorious Kamagera group takes over bus stages along Thika road

If you are an avid user of the Thika Super Highway, especially during the morning hours, you will notice a group of youths busy touting at almost every matatu terminus.

Their day begins as early as the first cock crows in the morning.

The group, according to the busy Thika Road users, dictate the fare of the matatus plying the route.

They are a common fixture at the main terminus in Githurai, Kasarani, and Mwiki, but now the situation appears to be getting out of hand.

The group, now a nightmare to passengers and matatu operators, is at every drop and pick-up point.

There is no matatu, taxi, or private car that can pick up a person without remitting a ‘cess’.

The illegal group of youths popularly referred to as Kamagera, are now the owners of the matatu stages.

Not once, twice, or thrice a fistfight that arises fails to involve them.

Reportedly, they beat up conductors and drivers who decline to give in to their demands.

Joshua Ngumbau, a Zimmerman resident says the gang decides which matatu should carry passengers at the designated and undesignated stations.

Mr Ngumbau has been a resident of the Thika Road based superb for more than five years and warns that if there won’t be urgent interventions to weep them out, soon they will start deciding on a matatu or a car someone should use.

“Initially, we did not have such groups. We used to be persuaded by matatu conductors. The kamagera is a Covid-19 baby, and are very unruly,” he told Nairobi News in an exclusive interview.

“I have witnessed a number of cases involving them, beating up conductors, drivers, and even passengers in disagreement,” reminiscences the resident.

For instance, at Carwash, a terminus at Zimmerman that is between Githurai and Roysambu, every matatu that picks up passengers must remit a fee.

The charges for every vehicle go for as high as Sh200.

Just like their counterparts at Kasarani, Nairobi News understands they are strategically positioned there by police officers.

The station’s traffic officers have been accused severally of harassing motorists.

“We hear they are protected by the station’s officers, and that they remit a certain fee. It’s just a rogue group,” a driver who plies the route lamented in confidence.

Surprisingly, they are operating under a group dubbed CWC Self Help Group.

Some, disguise themselves as bodaboda riders.

“Matatu may come with its price, relatively low and they all over sudden demand for an increment just like the ones they have held hostage,” said Daisy Kinyua, a resident.

Mr Joshua Ngumbau told Nairobi News that before the group emerged, Carwash residents had the privilege of matatus picking them near Zimmerman Police Post.

Since the youths camped at the terminus, matatu operators were warned of further extending their ‘kindness’ to passengers.

We know matatu as one of rogue sectors, but Kamagera supersedes it, Ngumbau stated.

As similar groups gain momentum especially in urban areas, former Internal Security Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’I while serving under Jubilee administration tried weeding them out in vain.

Dr Matiang’I termed them as a group of gangs terrorizing passengers, and even harassing people in the name of offering efficient transport services.

For Thika Road users, the existence of the group is like adding salt on a soaring wound, bearing in mind traffic jams along the route is the order of the day, especially during weekdays.

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