Boda Boda operators given 3-month ultimatum to obtain licenses
The government has issued a new directive to all Boda Boda operators in the country to obtain driving licenses.
The move is aimed at streamlining the rowdy riders who have been termed as ignorant and negligent.
“We all have our stories with Boda Bodas. We are talking about a sector that has taken people through nasty experiences. This is a sector that is prone to a lot of abuse because we have criminals in it and that’s a fact,” said Interior Principal Secretary Dr. Karanja Kibicho.
He spoke during an event which was held by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) and the Boda Boda Safety Association of Kenya.
The government has partnered with the National Youth Service (NYS) and the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to provide free motorcycle riding classes and driving licenses to operators.
Kenya currently has over 2.5 million registered motorcycles out of which, 1.4 million are in the Boda Boda business.
NCIC chairperson Samwel Kobia called upon the operators to shy away from violence propagated by politicians. This is after the representatives signed a pact with NCIC to ensure peace during the 2022 General Election.
“We call on all Boda Boda riders and Kenyans, in general, to refuse to be used as goons for hire. Turn down senseless offers from politicians & their cohorts to be used as amplifiers of hate messages & executors of violence,” Kobia urged.
Youth in the Boda Boda business have long been used by politicians to cause chaos and as the political atmosphere in the country heats up, NCIC has urged them not to partake in violence.
The popularity of Boda Boda, as the motorbikes came to be known, was after the post-election violence in 2007/2008 when the economy tanked.
They have become a key plank in the transport system in urban and rural areas. High fuel prices and urban gridlocks make motorbikes a popular means of transport. In rural areas, they are at times the only available means of transport.
Almost 75 percent of 1.4 million bodas are youth and six percent are female riders.
Boda Bodas do approximately 22 million rides a day, 15 rides per bike.
They consume approximately Ksh.157 billion in fuel per year. They impact almost 5.2 million people directly, which is more than 10 percent of Kenya’s population.
Taking an average earning of Ksh.700 a day, Boda Boda riders earn more than Ksh.350 billion per year.