Business at Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD) almost came to a standstill on Tuesday as police ran battles with Boda Boda operators outside Nation centre.
The officers were forced to fire in the air before arresting a number of operators. Their motorcycles were towed into a waiting lorry.
City Hall recently partnered with police to enforce a ban that requires the riders to operate outside the CBD.
The operators have no station near the CBD but are only allowed to pass through designated areas.
Some of the operators have accused the police of using unnecessary force in the implementation of the CBD ban.
“The police are using extra force, the use of live bullets on us is not fair. They could have asked us to leave in peace,” said one boda-boda rider.
Some passersby, who witnessed the drama, condemned the police for opening fire instead of engaging the operators in a better way to solve the congestion menace in the city.
“Instead of police officers using unnecessary force, they should have a way of dealing with the riders, most of them earn a living within the city centre,” said one witness.
Three weeks ago, Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko urged the operators to obey city laws.
In the spirit of negotiation talks, he ordered his government officials to release over 800 impounded motorcycles during county’s Madara day celebrations.
Sonko has since maintained that the order to release the impounded motorbikes did not in any way mean that he has allowed boda-bodas to operate within the CBD.
“I wish to clarify that the order to release the impounded motorbikes does not in any way mean that I have allowed boda-bodas back to the streets of Nairobi CBD,” he stated.