Kenya orders crackdown on motorcycles after assault on woman


Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday ordered a crackdown on motorcycle taxis after a group of riders attacked a female motorist in an incident that has shocked the nation.

The young woman was assaulted by the taxi riders — commonly known as boda-boda — apparently after a traffic accident last week in the capital Nairobi, according to police. 

A viral video of the daytime incident showed the men grabbing at the woman’s clothing as she screamed from inside her car.

“I have instructed the law enforcement officers to use the instruments within the law to punish these perpetrators,” Kenyatta said at an event to mark International Women’s Day. 

“There should never be a repeat of what we saw for this is a blight on the entire Kenyan society.”

He ordered that all boda-boda riders must re-register with the transport authorities or face punishment.

Demonstrators rallied a protest in Nairobi on Tuesday over the vicious assault.

The protesters, numbering around 150, marched to police headquarters, chanting and waving placards declaring: “Hear my scream” and banners calling for a halt to gender-based violence.

“That kind of madness is becoming too much for all of us,” Interior Minister Fred Matiang’i told the crowd. 

“We cannot accept to live that way anymore,” Matiang’i said, promising a “very ruthless and radical” reorganisation of the motorcycle taxi sector. 

Police said they had arrested 16 riders in connection with Friday’s incident, which occurred on a road named after Kenyan Nobel peace laureate Wangari Maathai. 

Thousands of Kenyans online, including Chief Justice Martha Koome, have also expressed outrage at the actions of the riders.

Koome said the incident was “cruel, inhumane” and lacking “any sense of humanity”. 

“I decry this act as barbaric and requiring the highest legal attention,” she said in a statement. 

Motorcycle taxi drivers in Kenya are typically young men and are notorious for breaching the highway code and assaulting drivers after collisions.

A crackdown in the capital on Tuesday has seen more than 200 riders arrested for alleged violations of transport rules, police said.