MONROVIA: The ‘tuk-tuk’ rickshaws considered the king of the jungle, when crossing the chaotic streets in Karachi, Mumbai and Jakarta has now made their way to Africa.
The latest introduction of ‘the three wheeler’ would provide the much needed jobs as well as slashing accidents in the continent.
According to AFP, the ‘tuk-tuks’ are cheap to run and safer than the traditional motorcycle taxi, the auto-rickshaw is an increasingly common sight trundling along the traffic-choked streets of the continent’s sprawling capitals.
Known in Tanzania and Ethiopia as “bajaj”, in Egypt as “toktok”, in Nigeria as “keke-marwa” and in Sudan as “raksha”, the tuk-tuk has now hit Liberia, where delighted locals have christened their own version the “kekeh”.
Previoulsy, motorcycle taxis, known locally as “two-tires”, were the primary means of public transport in Liberia’s capital Monrovia until lawmakers outlawed them in 2013 amid concerns over reckless riding and the high toll of accidents.
The ban paved the way for the kekeh, imported from India and China by numerous operators, mostly Nigerian and Guinean, who employ young Liberians.
“What’s making the kekeh very important… is (that) we are looking at a huge transport challenge in our country,” said Jenkins Zayzay, secretary-general of the Liberia Motorcycle and Tricycle Association (LIMTCA).
“You had the two-tires that were running in the city centre before, but because of government regulations, we had to introduce another form or some level of job employment for the young… So it was decided that we had to introduce the kekeh.”