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Motorcyclists in Kabarnet engage police in running battles over new traffic rules

Police officers loading on their truck some of the confiscated motorcycles parked besides Kabarnet market on Friday November 16, 2018 which had not complied with the Michuki rules. Photo by KNA.
Irate boda boda operators barricaded the road and lit bonfires along Kabarnet-Marigat road on Friday November 16, 2018 after their motorbikes were confiscated by police over non-compliance of the famous ‘Michuki rules’. Photo by KNA.

Business came to a standstill on Friday in Kabarnet town, Baringo County when boda boda operators protested along the streets demanding the release of their motorbikes confiscated by police during a crackdown.

The police lobbed teargas canisters to disperse the irate operators who had barricaded Eldoret-Iten road as well as Kabarnet-Marigat road, citing bias as those who were compliant were arrested.

During  the midday crackdown, the officers impounded more than ten motorbikes which had been parked besides Kabarnet town market as the operators had gone to condole with the family of one of their colleagues who was knocked to death on Tuesday by an oncoming truck along Kabarnet-Marigat road while fleeing arrest by the traffic police.

The impounding of the parked boda bodas sparked protests as the operators said the action was against the law set out by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) in arresting and charging all non-compliant motorists.

A boda boda operator, Derick Kebut stated that the police officers confiscated his motorbike yet he had complied with all the NTSA requirements.

“I parked my motorbike within the market but when we were heading to our colleague’s home, I was informed that my boda boda had been taken away by the police,” narrated Kebut.

He added that the officers in several occasions harassed them for no reason with others threatening and demanding bribes to allow them to proceed with their daily business.

Another operator who sought anonymity claimed that the police officers were discriminating them since some non-compliant operators were set free but a few were arrested at road blocks.

He said due to fear of arrest, most of the boda boda operators were forced to stay away of the roads while those who were operating normally charged higher fare due to rising demand.

The  County Police Commander, Smollets  Munyianzi  who spoke to journalists on phone urged motorists to adhere to  the laid down regulations.

Munyianzi warned that his officers would not relent in the fight to bring sanity back to the roads as a measure to reduce road fatalities.

Since the re-introduction of the famous ‘Michuki rules’ on Monday this week, 75 non-compliant drivers and riders operating within the county’s headquarters have been arrested and arraigned before Kabarnet court charged with various traffic offenses.

By  Benson Kelio/Joshua Kibet

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