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City motorists suffer as rogue parking boys take over

Rogue parking boys are extorting tens of thousands of shillings in unauthorised levies from city motorists on a weekly basis, an investigation by Nairobi News has established.

The youthful characters have taken full advantage of the ineffectiveness of both the Nairobi County Government and security agencies to maintain law and order to make their kill.

It is a triple tragedy for Nairobi motorists who after spending hours in traffic and making several rounds looking for parking are forced to part with extra fee to the mean-looking parking boys.

They demand for money from their “clients” in exchange for parking spaces and “securing” the vehicle from petty thieves and gangsters.

Tunachunga side mirrors, wipers, wheel cap na lights za gari zisiibiwe (we guard your car from petty thieves who steal side mirrors, wheel caps and lights)” the attendants say when questioned on why they should be paid.

Woe unto you if you fail to pay the parking boys an frequent the same area.

“I have no choice but to pay. I once had my side mirrors yanked off and when I asked some parking boys who were metres away they seemed amused and told me they were not responsible for my car,” says John Mungai, a banker.

“A friend too had his two tyres deflated while a colleague got a slow puncture at 10 p.m. on Mombasa Road after they placed a pin at the bank of his tyre.”

DUTIES

And despite making such a sizeable loot, the lot still maintain “a low profile” by dressing in a shabby way while “on duty” so as to attract the sympathy of motorists.

This group has its job description well planned out and executed.

Most of them begin their duties immediately after the County Government attendants’ time of duty lapses, that is from 5 p.m. until well past 10 p.m. on weekdays, 2 p.m. – 10 p.m. on Saturdays, and the whole day on Sundays.

During the said hours, more than 95 per cent of motorists looking for the unavailable parking space in Nairobi have to “tip” the “attendant” an amount that ranges between Sh20 – Sh100.

This amount caters for both the parking slot rendered and security of the vehicle for the period its owner will be away.

Other groups work alongside the County Government attendants, and ensure a motorist is able to secure parking space at a lesser charge than the designated Sh300 and the vehicle is not clamped.

These rogue attendants some of whom are seen abusing drugs during the day have since turned rowdy, with motorists complaining of harassment and intimidation on any occasion they lack the “coins” for facilitation.

“We work in groups of three to five boys. If you are placed on a lucrative street like here (Kimathi street), then you stand to make about Sh3,000- Sh8,000 in a single day,” a parking boy outside the Nation Centre says.

Security guards stationed around the City also doubled up as “parking attendants”.

Interestingly, if you park your car at the same spot for more than three hours, one may be forced to pay “double” the parking fees.

Having started out along Kimathi Street and around Nairobi Cinema, the groups have since sprouted to almost all streets within the City