A lady escorting her sister and nephew, both 12, was on Monday night assaulted by staff at the Guardian Coach offices in Nairobi.
Radoli Lawina and her elder sister had accompanied the two minors to travel aboard a 9:00 pm bus to Mumias, Kakamega County.
According to Lawina, the bus had not arrived at the set departure time. The delay, she said, forced them to hang around the offices ensuring the kids were safe.
They could only leave when the children had departed for Mumias.
Staff at the Guardian offices informed them of the delay and suggested they occupy the passengers' waiting area.
“They told us that since the bus had delayed, we could sit at the waiting area. But they could not even allow me help my young sister and niece carry their luggage upstairs,” Lawina said.
Drama unfolded the moment Lawina demanded to know why she could not be let in. The station attendants insisted that only her elder sister could go upstairs with the young girls, a position that bred a slight argument that turned to assault.
“There were three male staff. One of them who looked drunk was acting as their boss. He said he was the manager. The guards beat me up, they were even touching my breasts. They could not even allow me any space as they dragged me downstairs. The other passengers shouted at them but they still persisted and harassed me,” she narrated.
Lawina reported the assault to the Railways police station.
“When we were trying to record, they snatched my phone but returned it later since they could not operate it. My sister’s phone was also snatched and thrown away where it cracked,” Lawina recalls.
She says at the time of the incident, the manager was arrogant and had bitterly dismissed them as first time customers.
"If I was a man this would not have happened. They only took advantage of the fact that I am a young lady to assault me. They watched as some men in the office touched me, one grabbed my breasts. I hated being a Kenyan. Some passengers mocked me when I said this was a police case," disclosed Lawina.
When contacted over the incident, an officer who confirmed he was authorised to speak on behalf of the company declined to disclose his identity. He stated that there was nothing wrong with what the staff did.
“What I know is that the security guards did what is supposed to be done as per the company rules and regulations. There was a lot of congestion and mostly we only allow those with tickets into the waiting area for security reasons,” the manager responded in a conversation on phone.
Guardian's services for the passengers who had paid for the journey from Nairobi to Mumias ended in Kakamega town. Police in Kakamega impounded the Mumias bound bus.
On Tuesday morning, a staff member confirmed that the bus was being held by the police in Kakamega. Kakamega Central OCPD Joseph Chebii pledged to give details of why the bus was being held.
It is still unclear whether the bus had undergone any checks before the arrest in Kakamega.
Staff at the Kakamega Guardian office put Lawina’s young sister and nephew on a bodaboda in the wee hours of the morning. They advised the kids to find a matatu to Mumias.
They would later pay on their own since guardian, a staff member confided, does not have a scheme to compensate passengers in halfway aborted journeys.