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Bodaboda operators accuse police of abetting crime by colluding with criminals.

A section of the bodaboda and tuktuk operators leaving the Thika High School Chapel Hall after a meeting to discuss the security situation in Thika.
Bodaboda operators have blamed the police for failure to the rising cases of insecurity, alleging that some unscrupulous officers of colluding with criminals who have been terrorising Thika residents in the recent times.

At a security forum organised by the area DCC Tom Anjere, the operators absolved themselves from blame instead accused the police of not doing enough to stem insecurity. They claimed the gangs were made up of known criminals working in cohorts with some of the officers who received some money gotten from the loot. 

They said that they were ready to support the local administration and the police in fighting crime in the region in a bid to redeem their image which had been tarnished by motorbike handbag snatchers.

“We have been accused of propelling these crimes by harbouring the criminals who have been antagonising area residents. But what can we do if some of your officers are abetting crime by soliciting bribes from these same criminals?” asked one bodaboda operator.

He said that his colleagues feared reporting such criminals to the police as the officers involved leaked their identities to the criminals, thus endangering their lives.

To solve this problem, they suggested that the authorities to maintain a record of all bodaboda and tuktuk Saccos in order to ease security agencies with identification of genuine operators.

“Every registered Sacco should be assigned a specific place to operate from and its members given unique identities to distinguish them from criminals. The police should also wipe out all drug and illegal liquor dens as they have been perfect hideouts for criminals,” said James Mburu, the chairman of Kamenu Bodaboda operators.

He also suggested that the police constitute an elite undercover police squad to fight illegal motorbike thugs and muggers in the area.

Bodaboda-Tuktuk wars.

The forum also discussed the recent bodaboda-tuktuk wars over scramble for customers that recently led to tuktuk operators to block Kenyatta Highway in protest over attacks by bodaboda operators.

Bodaboda operators accused their counterparts of invading the town and denying them an opportunity to serve customers.

“They have taken over the town and we can no longer access customers. We need to agree on the routes and also have them (tuktuks) operate from designated areas to avoid conflicts with bodabodas,” suggested one bodaboda operator.

However, the tuktuk operators differed with them arguing that they were so many and there was no way they could fit in the existing parking lots.

“We have over 300 tuktuks and considering the size of the CBD, there can never be enough space for all them to park. It is for that reason that we requested the county government to allow us to operate without a stage,” explained Allan Ndegwa, the chairperson of Thika Tuktuk Welfare Association.

Responding to their grievances, the DCC promised, through the chiefs and their assistants, to organise for the registration and identification of all genuine bodaboda and tuktuk operators.

He recommended periodical meeting with these operators in order to keep review the progress and address any matters that arose.

“No unregistered bodabodas will be allowed to operate from now henceforth. For those licenced to operate, they will be demanded to possess proper identification documents as well as branded reflectors indicating the Sacco they belonged to,” warned Anjere.

He warned that any officer found abetting crime will face disciplinary action.

Anjere urged the operators to adhere to all the traffic rules and regulations otherwise his officers will not hesitate to arrest and prosecute them in events they flouted the law.

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