Bishop blames menacing cops for slowing Kyuso growth

Clergymen, lawmakers say police set up illegal roadblocks, extort bribes and scare investors away

In Summary

• Momba said commercially Kyuso town was on the verge of death as investors are scared away.

• MP and MCA also accused police of rent-seeking from traders

Bishop Rev Meshack Momba of the Full Gospel Church, in Kitui county. He is also the chairman of the Community Policing Committee for Kyuso district.
ALARM: Bishop Rev Meshack Momba of the Full Gospel Church, in Kitui county. He is also the chairman of the Community Policing Committee for Kyuso district.

Police harassment of business people and lack of guaranteed security are killing Kyuso town and scaring away investors, religious and political leaders have said.

Chairman of the Kyuso District Community Policing committee Bishop Rev Meshack Momba said on Tuesday the town is commercially on the verge of death. It is the  administrative and political headquarters of the Mwingi North subcounty in Kitui.

Rev Momba accused the police of regularly mounting illegal toll stations where they charged illegal levies on business people going to Kyuso to sell their merchandise. He said businesses did not have security.

The head of the Full Gospel Church in Ukambani North said the  situation has seen many  businesspeople shy away from venturing into and setting up businesses at Kyuso town. He said it was time the counterproductive state of affairs was ended.

The clergyman spoke just days after the Mwingi North MP Paul Nzengu and Kyuso MCA Stephen Musili accused the police of harassing small-scale business people including boda boda men through incessant rent seeking for petty offences at the illegal road blocks.

“I am bitter because I am constantly been inundated by complaints by people from Kyuso about police harassment. I want that to  end. Why don’t I receive complaints about police in districts like Thangichu, Mumoni and Tseikuru in my constituency or are police in Kyuso trained from a different college?”  Nzengu asked.

Both Nzengu and the MCA spoke last week at Kyuso police station where they were guests during the police end-of-year party. Kyuso subcounty police commander Charles Machinji promised to look into allegations and  address them.

Rev Momba also said lack of security street lights at Kyuso after the ones installed by the county were vandalised made businesses vulnerable to  burglary. He also said ignorant traders switched off security lights in their premises at night, worsening insecurity.

He said business growth at Kyuso town has been sluggish as investors shy away due to the worrying state of insecurity. He said police patrols were only carried out early in the evening and by midnight the security officers retreat to their residences.

The clergyman also said Kyuso had been ignored by the county government since it did not have land reserved for a public cemetery, bus and matatu terminus as well as a livestock selling yard.

(Edited by V. Graham)