Barely a week after a female passenger exposed crooks in the matatu sector who were drugging passengers and robbing them of their possessions, a matatu plying the now notorious Rongai route is on the spot again after a crew onboard assaulted and robbed a male passenger yesterday.
According to the sister of the victim going by the names Neons Mum as posted on the famous Facebook group Kilimani Mums Nairobi, one of the touts in the matatu the brother boarded on his way home tried to pickpocket him but the victim noticed and confronted the crook who got violent and bite off the victim’s upper lip.
Kenya has a robust public transport with a record of 50,000 registered public service vehicles commonly referred to as matatus. The industry has however been taken over by crooks with pickpockets and other criminals working in cahoots with some of the crew to rob passengers.
The fact that most of the crew in these vehicles are school dropouts don’t make things easy and they are always in the news for all the wrong reasons. If it’s not verbally, physically or sexually assaulting passengers its reckless driving or theft.
Last year, a matatu crew plying the Githurai route sexually assaulted a female passenger provoking a public outcry that saw the offenders arrested and charged in court. The famous My Dress My Choice demonstration by women in Nairobi was also occasioned by incidents of a section of touts stripping women naked on grounds that they were dressed provocatively.
In September, a matatu plying the same Rongai route killed four passengers and left others injured after it lost control and overturned on Lang’ata road but even with the public outcry that ensued after the accident, which saw students of Multimedia university take to the streets in protest since the victims of the accident were students from the institution, the government doesn’t seem to have a solution to the matatu menace.
The fact that a good number of matatus are owned by police officers and some politicians as well don’t make things easy in a country where you can literally buy your way out of any situation thanks to a thriving corrupt system.