By TOBIAS CHANJI
Bodaboda riders in Ukunda town Kwale County are blaming ghosts on the increased number of road accidents in the coastal tourist town.
In a meeting with Msambweni deputy commissioner Benjamin Leparmorija and police boss Jack Ekakoro, the riders said they could not explain how rampant traffic accidents have become, and blame the rising rate of road carnage on the supernatural.
“We always observe traffic rules, which everyone, including the President, has been talking about, so we cannot really tell what is happening on our roads. To us, these are the ghosts. It must be ghosts causing these accidents and nothing else,” Stephene Oduor, one of the riders, told the crowd.
His sentiments were supported by many riders who said they could not explain how some of the accidents happen. But their sentiments were, however, brushed aside by the county commissioner and the police boss who told the riders to repent if they felt ghosts were to blame.
“There is nothing like that. If you believe accidents are caused by ghosts, then go to church, mosques or Kayas and get cleansed!” said Leparmorijo.
At the meeting, the riders also blamed ‘beauty’, especially among women, as the biggest hindrance towards enforcing the requirement that all riders wear helmets.
“Some of them say they cannot wear the helmet as it will ruin their hair, which costs a lot of money to make and maintain in hair beauty salons,” added the rider.
But Caro Karimi, who is a regular user of the motorcycle taxis and who spoke to this writer said that some of the helmets have bad ordour, that they stink of stale sweat, and that she would rather use a matatu or walk rather than using the helmet if police enforced the rule.
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The police, on the other hand, warned passengers that the rule on use of helmets is not negotiable.
“A helmet can save your life in the event of an accident on a motorcycle or save you from life long brain damage. We will, therefore, arrest anyone found riding on a motorcycle without one.
“But we urge to riders to also maintain hygiene and keep the helmets clean so that the passengers are comfortable using them,” said the OCPD.
Ukunda town, which is a tourist hub, is notorious for motorcycle accidents, with an average of two to three recorded daily. The accidents always attract curious onlookers.
To catch a glimpse of the ghosts causing accidents, perhaps?