Nairobi News


Tales of brutality from boba boda operators in police crackdown

City police have launched a clampdown on all boda boda operators in the Central Busines District in an operation that has left motorcyclists crying foul.

The action that started on Thursday evening has seen hundreds of motorcycles impounded at the Central Police Station.

Motorcyclists who spoke to Nairobi News told of their ordeal and castigated the police operation. They called it illegal since they were not given a reason why their motorcycles were being taken away as well as the excessive force used during the process.

“Several members’ motorcycles have been impounded by the police and some of our members are in hospital after they were beaten up by the police.” Thomas Lesatin, the Chairman of the boda boda umbrella body said.

The Friday operation did not spare otehr motorcycles as well as the chartered motorcycles; (safe boda) were dragged into the station.

According Mr Lesatin, a group of rowdy motorcyclists, who he claimed were not registered under their body, got involved in a scuffle with the police resulting in the clampdown from Thursday evening to Friday as police retaliated.

“The police are indiscriminate in this operation and are arresting everyone including the innocent ones who were not part of the rowdy group,” the chairman of the umbrella body said.

Collins Oyier, owner of a motorcycle impounded by the police, questioned the legality of his company’s motorcycle being held by the police despite being cleared to operate in the CBD.

Frustrated boda boda operators vented their disapproval of the action which they said affected their livelihood.

“My motorcycle was clamped in Mbagathi road which is far away from the CBD. I can no longer service the loan I used to get it and I am not going anywhere until they give it back to me. I have no means of feeding my family,” he said.

Some of the motorcycles that were impounded and parked at the Central Police Station in Nairobi. PHOTO | STEPHEN OKETCH

The police, however, said the operation was well within the provisions of the county laws that prohibit use of boda bodas in the CBD.

Central Police Station OCPD, Stanley Atavachi, denied claims that some motorcycles were confiscated outside the CBD.

“My officers have only arrested motorcyclists operating in the CBD. This operation will continue until they tow the line.” he said.

He further accused the boda boda operators of being violent whenever approached by the police.

The boda boda fraternity have in the recent past blamed the city county officials for extorting them while running their riding business.