Who cares about Covid-19 measures, we need to make money, is the message Probox operators in Migori seemed to send out this week.
Migori has nearly 400 Covid-19 cases.
The operators held a demo on Monday protesting police enforcement of the Covid-19 measures.
County commissioner Joseph Rotich (he has since been promoted to the regional office) said they insist on overloading their vehicles and have refused to be inspected.
The drivers concurred.
“We have been harassed by police of late. We have been forced to use panya routes. We want to be allowed to operate as customers have refused to pay higher [fare] when we carry fewer people,” Charles Rioba said.
The drivers operate on the Migori-Kehancha-Ntimaru route.
Driver Moses Muhindi said since Friday when police and health officials started to enforce the measures, business has been disrupted.
“We have been forced to use longer routes to reach our destination. We demonstrated because officers intercepted several vehicles in a new route. We want the rules relaxed,” he said.
Rotich said the rules will not be relaxed.
The vehicles carry four to eight passengers yet the government has stipulated they should have just two passengers and the driver.
“Let Probox owners know that they will first have to seek clearance from the county committee, which will inspect them to certify they are compliant with the PSV Covid-19 protocols,” Rotich said.
Drivers playing the Migori-Muhuru Bay and Migori-Sori routes also protested outside Oruba police post after officers blocked their panya route.Kehancha OCS Kibiton Boino said they were forced to fire a bullet in the air to disperse the angry drivers.