Lenox Sengre @PeopleDailyKe
Details have emerged about how the police have turned a move to flush out boda boda operators from Nairobi central business district (CBD) into a cash cow.
People Daily has learnt that some rogue police, working in cahoots with City Hall officials, have converted government vehicles into booths of collecting bribes from the riders.
Representatives of the operators under the auspices of Capital City Boda Boda have already filed a petition in court seeking to quash the directive by Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, barring them from entering in the CBD.
In an affidavit seen by People Daily, the riders are accusing the Sonko administration of arbitrary arrests, torture and extortion. The riders claim those who fail to pay bribes have had their motorbikes impounded and some later sold.
Last week, two police officers were arrested by Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) officials for taking bribes from the riders.
The two officers involved, were cornered following a tip off from boda boda riders when marked cash notes were recovered from them.
“Two officers from Kasarani Police Station were found in possession of money we gave to the boda boda operators. We are keenly following up the issue. We have taken the samples to the Government Chemist to ascertain the truth of this matter,” said one of the lead EACC officers who sought anonymity.
It emerged that every rider arrested parts with not less than Sh3,000 to secure release. It was also revealed that police officers have a designated area along Haile Selassie Avenue opposite the Jesus is Alive Ministries church where they carry out their clandestine activity.
“ We have been rendered jobless as carrying passengers into and within the CBD was our source of income. Providing for our families has become a challenge and dealing with these officers is a nightmare. I bought another motorbike because mine was confiscated by the police,” said John Nzioka, a boda boda rider.
Boda boda association chairman Joshua Lesatin says he fears youth who earned a living from the motorbike business and are now out of business, could turn to crime. “Just the other day, one of us was killed because he resorted to crime to provide for his family,” said Lesatin.