Kenya: Attacks On Boda Boda Riders On the Rise in Western Kenya

Bodaboda riders at the junction of Kirinyaga and Racecourse Road in Nairobi on June 27, 2017.

Boda boda riders are a worried lot following increasing cases of attacks targeting them in various parts in the country.

Speaking during a one-day boda boda leaders' conference in Nairobi on Saturday, Boda Boda Safety Association of Kenya national chairman Kevin Mubadi said cases of attacks on riders and theft of motorcycles by criminals are rampant in Western Kenya.

According to Mr Mubadi, over 50 boda boda riders have been either killed or injured and their motorcycles stolen by thugs since January in Nyanza and Western regions alone.

MOST DANGEROUS

"Webuye and Kimilili are the most dangerous areas for boda boda riders countrywide. Our members have lost more than 20 motorcycles in the two areas in the last four months," he said.

After stealing, the criminals dismantle the motorcycles and sell them as spare parts.

"In Nyanza, the engines of motorcycles stolen are modified and converted into boat engines," said Mr Mubadi.

The latest case happened two weeks ago where a rider and his two passengers were attacked at Likia trading centre in Njoro, Nakuru County and their motorcycle set on fire by a gang of criminals. The three people escaped unhurt.

Three weeks ago, a boda boda rider was hit with a blunt object by unknown people near Jogoo Primary School at the Kisii-Nyamira junction and his motorbike stolen.

At the same time, boda boda riders have also been accused of being involved in criminal activities. Some, knowingly or unknowingly, transport thugs to carry out criminal activities.

REGISTER CYCLISTS

"We have agreed to have all motorcyclists involved in public transport registered. Unregistered riders will not be allowed to operate in any part of this country. We want to help the government fight runaway crime and lawlessness," said Mr Mr Mubadi during the conference that brought together over 100 boda boda leaders from all 47 counties.

The National Transport and Safety Authority Operation of motorcycles Regulations, 2014 require riders to acquire driving licences, insurance and protective gear including reflector jackets, boots and helmets.

The riders are also required to be registered digitally for easy identification.

REGULATIONS

Last December, the Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia and his Interior counterpart Fred Matiang'i set May 1, 2019 as the deadline for over 700,000 boda boda riders to comply with the 2014 regulations.

But the government relaxed its stance upon expiry of May 1 deadline to allow the taskforce formed in March by Dr Matiang'i and Mr Macharia to complete its work of reviewing the existing policies and come up with recommendations that will help streamline the boda boda sector.

The Julius Mathenge-led task force finished collecting views from the public last week.

The National Transport and Safety Authority statistics indicate that a total of 1,293 people, including 250 motorcyclists and 485 pedestrians, perished in road crashes between January 1 and May 20, 2019.

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