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Motorcyclists seized as police enact Uhuru order

CENTRAL
By Standard Team | Mar 11th 2022 | 2 min read
By Standard Team | March 11th 2022
CENTRAL

Police were forced to disperse the riders who had stormed Kerugoya Police Station yesterday [Courtesy]

Traffic on the road to Kerugoya police station and Kirinyaga County headquarters was paralysed yesterday evening as over 50 riders demonstrated, demanding the release of 69 motorcycles.

Officers threw tear gas canisters at the riders after they refused to clear the road but demanded to be addressed by Kirinyaga Central Deputy County Commissioner Mr Daniel Ndege.

Kirinyaga Police County Commander Mr Mathew Mang'ira said the crackdown would continue, adding that they had seized at least 110 motorcycles and arraigned their owners. The riders protested a crackdown ordered by President Uhuru Kenyatta to instill sanity in the sector after a female motorist was assaulted by a mob.

Dozens of riders were also arrested in Taita Taveta. Voi sub-County Police Commander Mr Benastine Shari and Mwatate's Mr Ahmed Abdille confirmed that several riders were arrested and their motorcycles impounded.

At the Wundanyi Police Station in Taita sub-County, police said they had arrested five riders in the morning, even as scores withdrew their motorbikes from the roads for fear of being arrested. Others claimed police took advantage of the presidential directive to harass them on flimsy grounds, besides demanding bribes.

In Nakuru, trading centers were largely deserted while impounded motorcycles piled up in police stations. Some of the police stations are now struggling with storage.

No charges had by yesterday been preferred on the riders despite their motorcycles being detained at the stations. Officers said there were no further instructions on next action.

At Njoro Police Station, at least 10 motorcycles were impounded. Area sub-County Police Commander Mr Isaac Odumbe said five more were impounded on Wednesday.

The situation was the same in Molo town and its environs, though efforts to get a comment from area police boss Mr Mwenda Muthamia were futile, as calls went unanswered.

Nakuru East sub-County Police Commander Ms Elena Kabukuru said they had impounded at least 34 motorbikes at Bondeni and Nakuru Central police stations by yesterday noon.

Ms Kabukuru termed the crackdown risky for officers, noting that some had encountered life-threatening incidents. Some riders fled on foot after being cornered.

Nakuru Governor Mr Lee Kinyanjui commended the government for waiving the Sh5,800 registration fee for boda operators.

Interior CS Dr Fred Matiang’i announced the temporary waiver on Wednesday after a directive by Mr Kenyatta. Addressing the operators in Rongai, Mr Kinyanjui said: “Many youth have attained the skills of riding the boda bodas but do so without proper licensing due to meager earnings."

In Kakamega, Traffic Commander Mr Benard Mutiso said they arrested operators who flouted traffic laws. “They were mostly riding without helmets or reflectors while some motorbikes had no licenses,” said Mr Mutiso.

He said those arrested were arraigned.

In Busia, some riders kept off town for fear of being arrested.

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