Matatu extortionists re-surface in Nairobi

Some members of the gang hang out around the busy Tom Mboya and Ronald Ngala matatu terminus, they pick a Ksh. 100 from each vehicle “upende usipende” and are known to work with unscrupulous police officers

By The Weekly Vision Online

Menacing gangs and extortionists whose target is the transport sector mainly targeting matatu and buses have resourced in Nairobi’s CBD resurfaced years after former roads minister the late John Michuki sent them packing.

Some members of the gang hang out around the busy Tom Mboya and Ronald Ngala matatu terminus, they pick a Ksh. 100 from each vehicle “upende usipende” and are known to work with unscrupulous police officers. The gangs who during the Moi era made millions in the 1980s and 1990s prefer to spend time chewing miraa washed down by gallons of soft drinks as they stuff easy cash into wallets.

According to many drivers and touts who spoke to The Weekly Vision, declining to pay the cash could trigger “unpleasant” consequences with many preferring not to say much. The harassed PSV operators blame “corrupt” police on patrol for “protecting” the extortion gangs that often react violently when the bus or matatus refuse to “co-operate.”

The late minister Michuki then serving as roads and transport minister in 2008 had cut the cartels to size, taming the chaotic matatu industry that for years loaded passengers like sacks of potatoes

In one such case witnessed by The Weekly Vision, a Double M driver leaving the stage for the suburb refused to go until he had “sorted” out a man in a leather jacket with a cap who emerged from the shadows. The man then went to the drivers’ window and was seen receiving cash before melting away into the crowd.

According to sources that did not want to be named for fear of their lives, the menacing gang have kept warning those refusing ‘to cooperate” of dire consequences that even include “death.”

An attempt recently to fight off the gang almost witnessed bitter violence at the Kencom bus stage as Double M staff tried to fight off the transport routes extortionists. In that particular case angry passengers kept on urging the PSVs not to give money to the gang but many say they are not ready to endanger their lives as they have young families.

In any case, they point at police patrol trucks parked nearby waiting to share the spoils saying where would you run to if you defy the “mafia-like” cartels whose path you cross at your peril!

The late minister Michuki then serving as roads and transport minister in 2008 had cut the cartels to size, taming the chaotic matatu industry that for years loaded passengers like sacks of potatoes. Michuki then chased away the “route barons” with Mungiki ties and unleashed a fierce crackdown in the Eastlands.

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