Drivers fight bitterly for passengers “threats to the public”
Hawaii, an area in Kimumu, has a large number of unemployed youth who earn their living in the matatu area.
At a crossroads between Munyaka Road, Eldoret-Iten Road, and Hawaii-Kiplombe Road, a group of young people gather at a matatu stadium as they wait for passengers on their way to the town of Eldoret.
Dozens of unemployed young people help passengers cross busy roads. They also prevent matatus from other routes or their competitors from picking passengers.
Here, we receive Sh10 for each passenger that he hands over to the matatus. Sometimes getting the passengers on board the matatus is a collective responsibility and once the money is handed over the more than five young men have to share the amount equally.
David Rono, a fruit seller on stage, says he has witnessed many fights, sometimes injured, or sometimes forced to intervene to save a life.
“There was a day when they were arguing over Sh10. They fought for a very long time. One of them, who received the money, was beaten and his dreadlocks were ripped off, ”he said.
According to Rono, when some touts get notes, they swallow to avoid sharing. They later throw up the note once away from the group.
The money given to them by drivers or matatu drivers is unknown to vehicle owners. “We use the young people in certain stages of the bus to make us transport passengers. If you don’t give them something small, your matatu will be blacklisted and you won’t be able to stop there, even when you drop a passenger, ”he added.
According to Chepkoilel chief William Sang, most touts come together with a motive to steal passengers or plan dishonest deals.
“Everything they do is prohibited. There are reports that most people claim to help touts trick passengers into stealing items from the public. We have tried to disperse such crowds and even arrest some idlers with the help of county government officers, but they keep coming back, ”Sang said.
Sang says a number of those involved are victims of drug addiction and are sometimes caught intoxicated. It offers advice and guidance to young people, offering them other options for self-employment.
The administrator claims that the rise in the number of young people in this illegal business is due to the difficult economic times caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and unemployment.
Others who got into the business were once drivers or touts of matatu with known Sacco, but were later dismissed from their posts for their behavior.
The passengers suffered at the hands of these men, as most of them are violent and would not take it lightly if one boarded a matatu they did not choose.
“The problem is, people don’t report cases of theft. It is difficult to deal with such people without a plaintiff who will be ready to appear in court if the suspect is brought to justice, ”Sang added.