Bikers opt for national demo over killing

Slain Boda Boda Operators Association leader Willis Mugambi.

Police have one week to resolve the death of Willis Mugambi, Boda Boda Operators Association leader in Tharaka Nithi County.

The riders have given the government a one-week ultimatum to bring to book the police officer who shot Mugambi.

Led by the national coordinator Kevin Bwire, the motorcyclists said unless the government acts swiftly and resolves the matter, they will call for a nationwide strike.

Addressing the press in Nairobi, Bwire said many of its members had been killed by security without the murders being resolved.

However Bwire said Mugambi’s death was the turning point and they would not let it go unresolved.

“He was shot in the chest at around 7pm and died on the spot. The body remained at the scene for several hours. This will not be like other deaths that you have not given answers to. We will paralyse operations in this country in a manner that you have never seen,” he said.

Flanked by other boda boda leaders from Nairobi, Kiambu and Machakos counties, Bwire said the association will mobilise all its members to paralyse activities across the country to find justice for the deceased.

“The government knows very well that if we call for a demonstration, it will be a mother of all protests that will outshine that which was called by Azimio leader Raila Odinga,” he added.

Bwire noted that as a leader, it was Mugambi’s duty to bring order among his members but unfortunately it led to his death.

Purity Karimi, the mother of the slainTharaka Nithi Boda Boda Association boss Willis Mugambi. [Phares Mutembei, Standard]

“He was a county leader who had been entrusted to look after members’ welfare and approved by the authority. He was out to bring sanity during the demonstrations,” Bwire said.

For two days, tension remained high in Chuka town with riot police deployed to quell demonstrators who were expressing their displeasure of the murders.

Last month, a resident, Daniel Mutembei, was killed, sparking a demonstration that paralysed operation on the busy Meru-Nairobi highway.

Protesters carried his casket and marched in the streets before police were called in to quell the demonstrations. Police lobbed teargas canisters to disperse the rowdy protesters which ended in the death of the boda boda leader, Mugambi.

Mutembei is reported to have been killed by five people well known to the residents.

In light of the events, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki in a communication urged residents to remain calm and promised to investigate the matter until those culpable are brought to book.

“High level investigative teams have been dispatched to Chuka town to take over inquiry and recommend legal action on those found responsible for the death of one person last week as well as a second person shot dead during the  demonstrations that caused the blocking of the Embu-Meru Highway most of the afternoon today,” Kindiki said.

“Any person(s) at whom evidence will point shall face the course of justice.”

Politicians from the region led by Governor Muthomi Njuki, Woman Representative Susan Ngugi and Maara MP Kareke Mbiuki condemned the incident. Njuki urged police to ensure the killers of the two men were brought to book.