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Nairobi matatu crews on the spot over sexual harassment claims

By Amina Wako January 21st, 2022 2 min read

Kenyans on social media, most of whom are women, have raised concerns over what they say is the consistent sexual harassment by the public service vehicle (matatu) crews.

The conversation was started by activist Boniface Mwangi who shared a video that appeared to show his wife being subjected to the said harassment.

Mwangi claims an unidentified person inappropriately touched his wife namely Njeri Mwangi.

He adds that Njeri was met with insults when she questioned the motive. and when she turned to question asked the Matatu guys started insulting them.

“I was walking down Kangundo Road with my wife a few minutes ago, the bottom feeder in a stripped T-shirt touched her when she asked why they started throwing insults and grabbing their private parts. Impunity is so deep that they feel untouchable! How does this happen to women? Has it ever happened to you and what can we do about it?” he posed.

The comment led to Kenyans started sharing their experience in the hands of matatu guys.

“(It) happened in a matatu when I was getting in and the makanga (conductor) was annoyed that I told him not to touch me. Unfortunately for me, he was high and I was on the front seat with the driver. I prayed all the way to my stage. I thought he’d lunge at me and attack when I alighted,” a social media user wrote.

Another one added, “Yes it’s happened to me too. He saw the tigress in me. I yelled at him like I was about to chop his head off and elbowed him.”

“This is literally our daily life in public transport. I’m looking for a taser for real. They feel entitled and the other men around and in the vehicles only brush it off and laugh at us. Bot men and women victim-blame rather than deal with the abuser. It’s very difficult out here Bonnie,” another posted.

“And yes it has happened to me in town years back I was crossing the road to go to afya center to take a matatu and a dude literally put his hand on my privates and then walked past licking his lips. Some men and women laughed at me. I was in shock. I cried all the way home. And NO I wasn’t indecently dressed as a matter of fact I was in a tracksuit from training. CBD gives me so much anxiety. I’m grateful I don’t have to go there anymore,” another social media user narrated.