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3 days of intense security meetings averts possible 2TS-Bodaboda bloody clashes.

Thika West DCC Tom Anjere addressing members of 2TS Sacco and Kamenu Ward Bodaboda Association who have been embroiled in violent clashes over passengers in Makongeni area for the past 3 days.
Three days of intensive negotiations and peace building by the office of the Thika West Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) and police officers has averted a possible backlash between Kiganjo bodaboda operators and a section of Makongeni’s 2TS matatu crew.

Several hours of violence on Monday evening and Tuesday that left at least four people injured had been threating an eruption of a full blown war between these two groups.

It all started on Monday night at the BAT-Kiganjo Junction after a quarrel ensued between a 2TS tout and the bodaboda operators who claimed that the matatu crew had ‘stolen’ a passenger from ‘their’ designated stage.

“Following some heated argument, a fight ensued between the tout and our supervisor. The tout hit our supervisor on the face with a piece of wood injuring him badly before they sped off towards Kiganjo Estate,” said James Mburu, the chairperson of Kamenu Ward Bodaboda Association.

After the scuffle, bodaboda operators ganged up and chased the matatu, intercepting it at the Kamenu stage. The driver escape leaving his conductor behind. The tout was roughed up for some time before another 2TS driver came to ask why they were beating the tout.

“When this driver came, the bodaboda guys turned their wrath on him, giving the tout a chance to run away. They beat him up and smashed his knee with a huge stone, eventually breaking his legs,” explained our source who did not want to be identified for fear of reprisal.

Mburu admitted that the bodaboda riders roughed the conductor up but denied that they intentionally broke his leg.

“No, the bodaboda riders did not break the driver’s leg. He broke his leg after he tripped as he tried to run away,” he said.

The following day, tens of 2TS matatu crew went to Makongeni and indiscriminately attacked any bodaboda rider on sight. Several people were injured and matatus having their windscreens and windows shuttered in the ensuing melee.

“A woman who was seated on the back seat of one of the 2TS matatus was seriously injured on the head after being hit with a stone by bodaboda riders. Another bodaboda rider was hit on the head with a blunt object and badly injured,” said our source.

Police were forced to hurl teargas canisters to separate the two groups who later engaged them in a cat-and-mouse game for the entire Tuesday afternoon. Calm was restored hours later but pockets of violence could be reported late into the night.

Commuters plying to and from Kiganjo had a rough time reaching their destination. Fares flared, with some people reporting paying between Sh. 50 and Sh. 80 instead of the usual sh. 40.

2TS chairman Mr. Michael Kamande described the incident as an isolated case as the two groups had been working together for a very long time. He however blamed it on the lack of patience on either side as this was a matter that could have been solved through negotiation without letting things go out of hand.

“When we heard that the drivers and their conductors had gone out for revenge, we notified the OCS Makongeni and followed them up to plead with them not to retaliate. Unfortunately, immediately they arrived at the BAT stage, they started fighting with the bodaboda riders,” said Kamande.

The two groups were summoned to the Thika West Assistant County Commissioner’s (ACC) office where two days of intense negotiations culminated into a District security meeting under the chairmanship of the DCC Mr. Tom Anjere.

It was finally resolved that all those found culpable should be left to face the full wrath of the law. It was also agreed that both sets of operators should, from now henceforth, pick and drop passengers at agreed designated collections points which must be a few metres away from each other.

Leaders of bodaboda associations were instructed to register all riders in their organisations and label their bikes accordingly so as to make it easy for the authorities to identify them and weed out the bad elements disguising as bodaboda operators.

The DCC warned that his office would not tolerate any form of lawlessness and anyone caught breaking the law would be dealt with ruthlessly.

“First let me say that am impressed by the outcome of this gathering. We have agreed to work together with the leaders of these groups to ensure peace prevails and, above all, we will collaborate to fight crime in this region. Otherwise, we will also not sit back and watch a few criminals hide behind their businesses to execute crime, especially in the bodaboda sector,” said Anjere.

He added that he would organise meetings in all the sub-locations to discuss security and road safety measures with all bodaboda operators in Thika West Sub-County so that they worked in a very conducive environment and ensure the residents regained trust in the sector.            

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