Why Nairobi women can’t sit pretty in taxis at night
The use of taxis has always been the best option for most Nairobi dwellers who have to move from one place to the other especially at night.
However, each new day with the trend of horrifying incidents involving taxi operators, many women in Nairobi have become increasingly apprehensive of boarding taxis at night.
A recent tragic incident involving a taxi operator resulted in the death of Ms Mildred Odira, a switch border operator who worked for Foresight Company at Nation Center.
Davies Ochieng, the taxi driver at the center of the murder, was arrested and taken into police custody but later released on bond by a Kiambu court.
Ms Odira had picked a taxi from her Kariobangi South home enroute to hospital only to disappear without trace.
Her body would later be discovered at the Nairobi City Mortuary. Her lifeless body had wounds on the forehead, on the cheek, a cut on the abdomen and fractured legs.
The driver had told the police that he dropped Ms Odira at the Uhai Neema Hospital in Ruaraka.
When the police moved to the hospital, CCTV footages revealed that the driver did not drop Odira at the hospital.
The footage also showed that the car was parked at the hospital’s parking lot before the driver drove away an hour later without anyone alighting.
The victim’s body was taken to the City Mortuary and was registered as “unknown female adult.” The cause of her death was also noted as “accident.”
Ms Odira’s case is one of the most horrific incidents that have been reported in Nairobi involving taxi drivers and their clients.
Some of the cases have stuck in the public’s collective memory while others have long been forgotten despite leaving the victims in shock.
Theft and robbery involving taxi drivers have also become a commonplace in Nairobi.
On September 25, 2018, a cab driver was charged at the Milimani law courts for stealing from his passengers.
Taxify driver, Daniel Ngigi Kimani, was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Francis Andai where he denied two counts of the offense of stealing and one of handling stolen goods.
He was accused of stealing a Samsung S7 edge mobile phone that was then valued at Sh95,000, a handbag worth Sh45,000 FEDI sunglasses valued at Sh700 and $3,000 (Sh300,000) in cash.
He also allegedly stole the client’s personal documents valued at Sh140,000 and $3,700 (Sh300,700).
The items belonged Ms Zena Nyambu, who runs a chain of fast-food restaurants christened Kikwetu within the city.
In another incident in January 8, 2018, police shot and killed a man masquerading as a taxi driver in Karen after he allegedly robbed a customer Sh10,000 and her handbag.
The driver had picked up the woman, and while she was on board he demanded that she gives him all her belongings.
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According to the police, he later dropped her by the roadside and drove off.
However, the police managed to track the rogue taxi driver, who was reportedly armed with a gun, and shot him dead.
The police then recovered three handbags and a pistol from the driver.
In May 11, 2017, a woman, who had hired a taxi to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to catch a flight to Juba, South Sudan, lost all her belongings.
The driver, drove off with her belongings when the woman alighted at the airport’s screening point leaving her stranded at the airport.
The woman later filed a complaint at the airport’s police station.
Records by the police at the airport cited the registration number of the suspect’s car as KBY 613G.
On August 11, 2017, a taxi driver was arraigned in the Milimani courts and charged with gang-raping a passenger who boarded his car.
Mr Anthony Kanyari Muya denied the charges when she appeared before Senior Resident Margistrate Hellen Onkwani.
The complainant told the court that the driver, with an accomplice who has never been arrested, gang raped her and stole her goods worth Sh 54,000.
She said that the driver pulled the car into a dark alley at Posta area, moved to the back seat where his passenger was seated and held her by the neck before going ahead and undressing her.
However, not all taxi drivers are as bad. At times its stubborn passengers who give the drivers a hard time.
A good example of this was clearly depicted in an amateur video which did rounds on social media some time back showing a taxi driver following a girl who had completely refused to pay up for services offered.
According to the Ministry of Gender, in January alone 357 cases of women being abused were reported.
In a statement, Gender CS Sicily Kariuki said that the number was an increase compared to the 319 and 235 cases recorded in December and November respectively.
With 222 cases reported Nairobi County topped recorded the highest number of cases.
Of the 222 cases, 134 of them were women and 47 of them were girls. The rest were reported by men.
Ms Kariuki, in her statement, said that the number of cases was alarming and that “GBV remains one of the most pervasive human rights violations in Kenya.”
“I’m greatly concerned by the increased reports of numerous cases of abuse across the country, including early child marriage, domestic violence and sexual violence,” she said.
“Of particular concern are the recent allegations of sexual violence at the Kenyatta National Hospital,” she added.