Pata-Potea Gangs Back On Streets, Now Targeting Students And City Newbies

A few months after being ejected from parts of Nairobi, street gamblers, commonly known as pata-potea, are back in operation.

A spot check by Wananchi Reporting revealed that the gamblers started coming back to the streets three weeks ago, setting up stations in crowded markets and streets around Nairobi.

Nairobi City County had pushed the groups from the streets following several complaints by members of the public who lost money in their dubious schemes.

This was followed by a crackdown by police from around September 2021 in an attempt to remove the gamblers from the city streets, and even cancel their licenses.

 However, the groups are now back in some notorious spots including OTC, Machakos Country bus station, Muthurwa and other places including Gikomba market.

According to some traders who spoke to Wananchi reporting, the gamblers mostly target those new in the city.

 “They can tell people who are new in Nairobi, mostly villagers traveling to the city to visit relatives or take up jobs as house helps or guards.”

“These newcomers are strangers to the ways of the city, and therefore are very gullible,” Miriam Murimi, a trader at Muthurwa market told Wananchi.

“They also target students who are unlikely to pass a chance to gamble and make some extra coins,” adds Murimi.

“Every day we see how people are losing their money, some of them breakdown after losing their money and start calling for help,” she says.

 Central police OCPD David Mburukua said after being ejected last year some gamblers went to court and they have now been allowed to operate for 90 days from May 19.

 “It is true that a crackdown was conducted last year, but they went to court and have been allowed to operate until the case is heard and determined,” he said.

 For now, the police boss said the best way to avoid being conned is to avoid playing the games.

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