We are stewards, not bouncers, musclemen plead

Aegis Stewards Association, led by the chairman Brian Omondi Ongore, says it is time to drop the name 'Bouncers' since it has been associated with undesirable imagery. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Those who cause scenes in pubs understand how humiliating it is to be tossed out by barrel-chested men with biceps the size of a football.

Bouncers are not only trained to handle security situations in pubs but also on how to protect "important" people.

With time, they have been associated with violence.

To change that image, a new team known as Aegis Stewards Association, which comprises about 20,000 bouncers, in the country has come out to sanitize the name and professionalize their trade.

The association says it is time to drop the name 'Bouncers' since it has been associated with undesirable imagery.

Brian Omondi Ongore, the association's chairman, says the group was formed to unite what was formerly known as bouncers.

"We are trying to do away with the name to a polished one because bouncers and men in black have been used in a bad way," Ongore explained during a meeting bringing together the members in Nairobi.

"We have come together to see how we can partner with the government to ensure that our people have their rights, needs and their place in society appreciated," the chairman explained.

The association, which falls under the Private Security Regulatory Authority, is crafting a curriculum for its members.

"We already have a syllabus but it is a general thing; what we are creating is for our members because we have specific needs," Ongore explained.

Members will be trained in electronic surveillance, firefighting, self-defence, close combat and PR.

"Our members are no longer the force that was using the chest and unnecessary vigour. We are trying to apply a PR approach to the security industry," the chairman added.

At the same time, the team noted that it was unfair that some members were paid as low as Sh3,000 per day yet others earn up to Sh250,000 per day depending on the task.

For this reason, they have resolved to draft suitable documents that will be shared with stakeholders and government institutions so that salaries can be harmonised and ensure members lead meaningful lives.

"From next year we don't want to see hooligans acting as stewards and our names being spoiled when things go wrong," he said.

The association has also introduced a special accreditation card that will help to identify genuine members across the country.

They also appealed to the government to find them a place under the Ministry of Interior since they play a role in the security of the country.