Regulate Kehkeh Operators, Regulate Motorcyclists, and Marketers), Implement A Safe and Efficient Transportation and Market Policies

Posted December 12, 2023
by Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh

I remember the Renault (Dee Dong), Mitsubishi, Isuzu, Nissan, Mazda, and Toyota bus and Taxi era of the 1960s and 1970s, in Monrovia and Liberia in general when buses and taxis were the main modes of transportation.

There were no Kehkehs and motorcycle operators around those days in Monrovia where some of us were born and lived our formative years before going to the other counties to live.

It was awe and fun to see an old Dee Dong (Renault) bus get started from the outside and front of the bus when it couldn’t start at all from the inside, and the bus driver or car boy would insert an iron into the outside front part of the bus to get it started.

The scary part on any day was when an old and worn-out Renault (Dee Dong), Mitsubishi, Isuzu, Nissan, Mazda, or Toyota bus was seen operating around the city moving and leaning on one side making you think it would turn over and kill or injure a passenger or passengers onboard who were either sitting or standing in those jammed-packed busses.
Those are childhood and teenage memories that are etched in my mind today as an adult, and as I reflect on those early days of my life (I am sure others from that time will remember those days as well), in a country that continues to struggle with its centuries-old founding as a country, even as I am often reminded of what it was like growing up in Liberia.

We lived with the good, bad, and ugly in successive one-party autocratic-imperial presidential regimes as we embraced what we had and forgot about what we didn’t have and just hoped to have life, happiness, and sanity during the loneliest and darkest hours of any day.

Nothing has changed radically in Liberia since that time in terms of development and opportunity for all, as massive corruption, insensitivity, the lack of accountability, and the culture of impunity reigns daily, even as our people and the country we love dearly fall apart before our naked eyes.

Things are so bad in Liberia today there are unpainted homes, bad streets, dirty streets, broken sidewalks, or no sidewalks, and there are no implementable transportation policies, either, as it was decades ago, even though there are and have been a Ministry of Transportation in name only supposedly set up to formulate, regulate, and implement safe vehicle policies and efficient transportation policies throughout the country.

The Ministry of Transportation and other ministries and agencies are missing in action, awaiting the President of Liberia – whoever the president is to give them orders to carry out their duties.

In Liberia then and now, institutions are broken and ineffective.

With all that and during that time when I was growing up in Liberia, there was never a Kehkeh and motorcycle problem in Liberia – with unruly, untrained, unhygienic, and uneducated and half-educated Kehkeh operators and motorcyclists roaming the streets recklessly not abiding by traffic rules and laws, driving all over the streets into incoming vehicles, driving in the other lane lawlessly, and running over pedestrians.

Truth is, Liberia today has an ‘almighty’ Kehkeh and Motorcycle problem that needs to be addressed if Liberians want to have a safe and law-abiding country.

This article is not intended to put Kehkeh operators and motorcyclists out of business.

It is intended to raise awareness about training, customer service, and pedestrian rights, and to get lawmakers to regulate Kehkeh operators and motorcyclists, have them spread out throughout the city, regulate and restrict them to operate only in certain sections of the city, and certain routes, so as not to have these operators pile up in one area of town to create congestion, eyesores, and chaos in the streets.

If your area or your route is a designated route, you are required to operate in that part of the city, unless it is an emergency that you have to be on the other side of town where you were never designated to operate.
A Kehkeh operator and motorcyclist will pay a hefty fine, and serve a jail sentence for a day, days, or months, and his or her Kehkeh or motorcycle will be impounded. Another remedy is to tax these Kehkeh and motorcycle operators heavily to serve as a deterrence.

The same can be said about marketers.

Market buildings were built for these people to leave the streets and go into the buildings. These marketers are ubiquitous in the city. This has become a health, sanitation, and safety problem.

On any day, these marketers are seen roaming the streets and paying fees to unscrupulous officials – fees that go into the pockets of these officials. As sanitation becomes a problem, you would think the fees collected would go towards garbage disposal, sanitary, and safety concerns.

Kehkeh operators, motorcyclists, and marketers must be taxed heavily for violating the laws on the books.

A way to put Liberia and Liberians first is to have traffic rules, laws, and policies that regulate Kehkeh operators and motorcyclists, an implementable policy strong on safety and training, customer service, and traffic education, to have a safe and livable country that appeals to those who visits there and called Liberia home.

An untrained and discourteous motorcyclist or Kehkeh operator driving in all lanes of the streets, dirty, smelly, and unruly and not abiding by any traffic rules, is a threat to public safety, and bad public relations for a country that wants to be seen as a serious player in world affairs. 


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