NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 21 – Boda boda riders in Nairobi whose motorbikes had been impounded were a happy lot Tuesday morning when they collected them at City Hall after an amnesty was extended to them and all court cases withdrawn.
The operators who expressed joy at the development stated this will enable them take care of their families and pledged not to operate within the Central Business District.
The Nairobi County Government had initially banned boda boda riders from operating within the city centre and there had been ongoing cases in court
“Before we have had a very nasty relationship with the county but now there has been a good gesture on the part of the County Government and moving forward from now you will see a difference in the way we are doing business,” said Kenneth Onyango, the County Riders Welfare Association chairman.
County Secretary Robert Ayisi stated that any operator and passenger found contravening the law will be arrested and urged everyone to adhere to the laid down by-laws.
“They should not ride on the wrong side of the road or obstruct and fairly speaking, if you do all this, you will be endangering the lives of other road users and pedestrians and it will be more expensive in the long run,” he said. “We just decided that as a County Government, we need to forgive you and extend this amnesty so that your livelihoods are not affected.”
Boda boda riders have for a long time resisted efforts to eject them from the city centre and on several occasions have engaged county askaris in cat-and-mouse games.
Last year, more than 400 boda boda operators lost their bid to continue operating within Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD) after High Court Judge Joseph Onguto dismissed their petition on grounds that they did not prove how their rights had been violated.
The riders, drawn from 12 Saccos, had submitted that they would suffer huge losses if barred from operating within the CBD after the county government banned them from ferrying passengers to and from the city centre in November 2015.
Offenders found contravening the by-laws would face a six-month jail term or pay a fine of Sh20,000.
Though the number of motorcycles has increased in the city centre, the County Government has not designated parking slots for them.