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Outlawed Kenya's Mungiki sect extorting from matatus, buses

THE COUNTIES
By By THE COUNTIES | September 28th 2013
Busy  matatu drop-off points in the city. Operators say Mungiki sect members have started collecting protection fees from them. [PHOTOS: FILE]

By THE COUNTIES

Public Service Vehicle operators along the Embakasi-Mombasa Road route and Embakasi–Jogoo Road route allege that the outlawed mungiki sect is back.

They say members of the sect are harassing and extorting money from them.

A regular commuter on these routes can notice young men who move from one matatu to another in the traffic collecting money from the conductors.

These young men are usually seen between Cabanas and General Motors during the morning traffic. It is alleged that another group is strategically positioned between South C and Nyayo Stadium.

According to Kamau, a tout who operates on the Mombasa road route the alleged sect members start their operations from around 6.30 am to about 10 pm.

“They collect up to Sh500 from each matatu on the route everyday. If one refuses to pay, one is beaten so badly they could end up in hospital,” Kamau explains.

Kamau says the sect members take advantage of the morning traffic snarlup from City Cabanas and General Motors to collect the money.

He says: “The traffic jam from South C to Nyayo Stadium gives them another opportunity to carryout theri task.”

Bernard, a conductor on the Mombasa road supports Kamau on the alleged existence of Mungiki sect members along the route.

He explains: “They used to disturb us too but we fought back and got support from our Sacco. They cannot dare hurt any of us because they know we will fight back. Our matatu terminal is at bus station in the CBD but they target those matatus that go to commercial.”

Dennis, a conductor on the Embakasi Jogoo Road route and Boniface a driver on the same route allege the sect members also operate on their route.

Boniface says: “The sect is not as active as it used to be but it is still operational. There are those who go to church and the rest who are left disturbing us on the roads. They are also not as violent as before. They say the money they collect from us is protection money. I am not sure protection from what.”

He says he has operated on the route for many years but does not feel not threatened by the sect members’ presence. In his opinion the alleged sect members are in his turf.

Boniface tells The Counties that a matatu gives Sh100 and a bus Sh200 to the sect members.

For anyone who intends to buy a Public Service Vehicle to ply the routes must be willing to part with at least Sh20,000 according to Kamau.

He adds: “If you do not pay them, then you can be sure your matatu will not operate because they won’t let it.”

Kamau claims the sect has strategically positioned its members at all matatu terminals within the CBD as well.

According to conductors plying the route, this has been going on for years but nothing has been done. This begs the question, are the police really in the dark as far as the alleged sect’s operations are concerned?

Benson Kibui the Provincial Police Officer (PPO) for Nairobi told The Counties that the matatu operators need to report the alleged sect members to the police.

He said the existence of mungiki sect members on the routes has not been confirmed.

“The question is how did the matatu operators know that these people are from the Mungiki sect. If indeed these are mungiki sect members, the matatu operators should report the matter to the police and we will protect them from these people,” said Kibui.

The Nairobi PPO emphasised that the police are there to protect citizens and the matatu operators should not cry wolf but report these cases of extortion.


 

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