A ward representative in Kwale County is willing to sacrifice his wealth to bail out poor motorists arrested in the ongoing crackdown on traffic offenders.
Mr. Yusuf Ali who represents Vanga ward in LungaLunga Sub-county, said he has so far spent Sh300, 000 paying bonds and fines for those caught violating traffic regulations popularly called the Michuki rules.
“I am ready to spend even more even if it means going bancrupt to ensure my people continue with their transport businesses which bring food to their tables,” an angry Mr. Ali said promising to donate Sh500,000 more to enable bodaboda taxi operators acquire driving licenses.
He and other leaders who addressed local residents at Lunga Lunga Primary School, accused the police of turning the crackdown into a witch-hunt citing cases whereby police had beaten some operators.
The leaders condemned an incident in which an elderly man was seriously injured after he was allegedly clobbered by police for trying to intervene during the arrest of a rider.
They asked police to go easy on the operators particularly during the festive season as many people are travelling home for Christmas holiday.
“The police have gone overboard as they are even beating boda boda riders and confiscating their motorbikes,” claimed Ali, adding that the clampdown had paralysed transport business and by extension the local economy.
But reacting to the complaints, County Commissioner Mr. KarukuNgumo said the crackdown was borne out of the need to stem road carnage caused by motorists flouting traffic rules with impunity.
He singled out probox vehicles saying they were notorious for accidents. “In fact they have become problem boxes and they should be tamed,” he said amidst laughter from the crowd.
Most of the boda boda riders are being arrested for lack of driving licenses, insurance, and proper riding gear like helmets and reflector jackets.
Some leaders have proposed that 10 percent of Sh20million allocated to each of the 20 wards for bursaries from the County bursary kitty, be set aside for enrolment of the boda boda riders in driving schools.
By James Muchai