Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Boda bodas are a common means of transport for most Kenyans in rural and urban areas but police say they flout traffic rules with impunity. /CFM-FILE.

Fifth Estate

Boda boda sector reforms inevitable and should be done swiftly

It is an indisputable fact that the boda boda sub-sector in the country has grown in leaps and bounds for over a decade now providing employment opportunities, source of livelihood and economic empowerment especially among the majority of our unemployed youths.

The contrary is also true owing to both acts of commission and omission.

Due to lack of regulatory framework, the industry has become not only a nuisance but also a national security threat attributable to the budding gangland culture and blatant disregard of the law as the primary modus operandi amongst riders.

Thus, the boda boda question can no longer be viewed as a low priority political issue, rather, must be urgently securitised and amplified as a high national security concern.

The sector has been left vulnerable making it possible for criminal organized gangs to infiltrate with ease as well as the industry serving as a front to cover up for their crime or to directly aid their activities.

Over the recent past, the country has been recording skyrocketing cases of boda boda related crimes and accidents significantly compromising public safety.

This makes it even more difficult for the genuine, hardworking and law abiding sector players to operate with ease not to mention the risk they remain exposed to from within.

Without standing the risk of blanket condemnation as acknowledged above, rogue elements amongst the operators have mutated into the new face of crime and impunity.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

They have become lynch mobs on the roads attacking other road users unjustifiably, knocking down pedestrians and moving in all directions including the wrong side of the flow of traffic as if they drop from heaven not to mention other related crimes. 

However, all these inadequacies are not their own making, rather, the existing governance and regulatory gaps to streamline the sector predispose them to such conditions and behavioural traits.

According to a report by the National Crime Research Center dubbed ‘Boda boda motorcycle Transport and Security Challenges in Kenya-2018’, the sector is both a boom and bane largely informed by prevailing economic frustrations.

“The boda boda transport sub-sector is dominated by a majorly youthful population of males with family obligations and responsibilities. Majority have low levels of schooling with majority at primary and secondary education levels. In rural Kenya, the sector employs minors with serious implications for the development trajectory and safety of children. The sub-sector further employ people with university-level education – speaking to the realities and pervasiveness of unemployment in Kenya.” The report says.

Exposed to such vulnerabilities and as the country heads to an electioneering period in less than twenty four months, the gullible sector players can serve as political mobilisation targets to balkanise the country and cause untold mayhem due to their high numbers and coverage across the nationwide.

Last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta termed the industry as an emerging economic giant and impressed upon them to embrace a savings culture to avoid depending on handouts and being misused by selfish individuals.

In September last year, retired Chief of Defence Forces General Julius Karangi was almost lynched by over 500 boda boda rowdy mob following an accident involving one of them.

This is what ordinary Kenyans are subjected to in their daily routine with some being innocently murdered.

It is no secret that regulatory bodies like National Police Service, the National Transport and Safety Authority and the Boda Boda Association of Kenya have not only failed to implement laid down regulations in terms of enforcement that would aid in the management and controlling of the now overpopulated industry but have been overwhelmed as well.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Similarly, the pervasiveness of the threats posed by existing regulatory gaps require multi-sectoral remedies. 

Thus, the need for a comprehensive policy framework regarding registration, regulation and monitoring of the boda boda industry cannot be gainsaid and is long overdue.

The author is a Diplomacy and Communication Consultant,

Kinyuru Munuhe


More on Capital News


Washington (AFP), Jun 24 – Abortion rights defenders fanned out across America Saturday for a second day of protest against the Supreme Court’s thunderbolt...


The crash occurred at the Mlolongo toll station on Saturday shortly before midnight.


Oslo (AFP), Jun 25 – Norwegian police have arrested a man suspected of “Islamist terrorism” after two people were killed and 21 wounded in...


All 220 lawmakers present gave their blessing to Barre's appointment, and he was then sworn in to office, the parliament speaker said.


Cabinet Secretary for Lands Farida Karoney on Saturday said that the ministry had already gazetted 84,000 land parcels set to migrate to the Land...


CBC implantation has faced headwinds with the main challenges being lack of adequate infrastructure and teaching personnel trained on the CBC curriculum.


Although CS Magoha did not cite specific reasons, he alluded to other opportunities including those that may have opted to study abroad.


Another 5,278 were placed to TVET institutions by choice, the Ministry of Education announced on Saturday.