SAVING LIVES

Follow traffic rules or keep off Kwale roads, bodas warned

Police boss urges riders to look for alternative jobs if regulations are too stiff

In Summary

• County police commander Joseph Nthenge said most riders have become notorious in violating the law, leading to so many deaths.

• Nthenge said police won’t allow the undisciplined boda boda operators to risk people's lives.

County police boss Joseph Nthenge at his office in Kwale
County police boss Joseph Nthenge at his office in Kwale
Image: SHABAN OMAR

Police in Kwale have warned boda boda operators against flouting traffic rules and Covid-19 directives.

The warning follows complaints filed to the county police headquarters by some Matuga boda boda riders about harassment by traffic officers.

County police commander Joseph Nthenge said most riders have become notorious in violating the law, leading to so many deaths.

Nthenge said police won’t allow the undisciplined boda boda operators to risk people's lives.

He told them to look for alternative jobs if they can’t strictly follow the traffic rules and regulations.

“Those saying they are being harassed, let them get out of the roads and they will have no problem with anyone,” he said.

Motorbikes impounded when police led a major operation in Matuga-Kwale roads in 2020.
IMPOUNDED: Motorbikes impounded when police led a major operation in Matuga-Kwale roads in 2020.
Image: SHABAN OMAR

The officer denied allegations that police were intimidating the riders, saying they are just doing their work.

He said it is unfortunate that the majority of the people who complain are the ones carrying out excesses — operating without licenses and with disregard to traffic rules.

Nthenge said the police have been very patient and willing to work with them peacefully, but their nuisance can’t be tolerated any more.

“We could have worked together but these boda bodas are so arrogant and very rude, they carry four passengers, completely unqualified to drive then pass through roadblocks and what to be left alone,” he said.

According to NTSA data, more than 3,500 people died in road accidents countrywide by December 2020. Some 1,020 motorcyclists and 88 pillion passengers died.

Most of the accidents were caused by reckless boda boda riders, speeding and overloading, National Police Service Commission member Reuben Katithi said.

By October last year, Kwale was listed among the counties having the highest number of road accidents with more than 200 cases and 15 deaths.

Matuga OCPD Francis Nguli speaks to boda-boda operators in Kwale police headquarters in 2020.
PEACE: Matuga OCPD Francis Nguli speaks to boda-boda operators in Kwale police headquarters in 2020.
Image: SHABAN OAMR

In February last year, about 60 per cent of road accidents in Matuga subcounty alone were reported to have been caused by motorcyclists.

Matuga MP Kassim Tandaza raised a red flag that more than 200 boda boda riders in his constituency were operating without driving licenses.

Nthenge said it is high time sanity is brought to Kwale roads. He asked the motorists to be extra careful and adhere to the traffic rules.

He also cautioned pedestrians to be keen while walking along the roads.

The Mombasa-Lunga Lunga highway and Kombani-Kwale route are known for the high number of road accidents.