The Boda boda Safety Association of Kenya (BASK) and the Integrated Development Network (IDN) have defended riders from accusations of flouting the Ministry of Health protocols for control of Coronavirus spread.
IDN's CEO Dennis Wendo and said they are concerned by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe's threats that the government might ban boda bodas altogether as a control measure.
While Wendo agrees that some riders disregard the directives issued by the ministry, he says such a ban will only create more problems.
He said the operators have enhanced cleanliness by providing water and soaps for hand washing at the points of picking and dropping passengers.
Wendo said the sector employs school dropouts as well as college and university graduates pointing to the extent of unemployment in the country, therefore any measures taken in the fight against Covid-19 and ensuring sanity in the sector, must protect jobs.
"Boda boda operators have been accused of violating the directive to carry one passenger at a time, a measure the government hopes will help achieve some level of social distancing. Some of them are not even wearing masks touted as game changer in the battle against the virus," Wendo said.
"But as we seek to flatten the curve, we must do it in a way that does not create other problems. Boda bodas are providing employment and a source of livelihoods to hundreds of thousands of youth, both in rural and urban areas."
Wendo said the government and counties should look beyond the Covid-19 pandemic and address myriad challenges bedevilling the sector.
He said the growing concerns about crimes the sector is associated with, including accidents and impunity, are compromising public safety.
"This situation has been attributed to the fact that the sector largely operates with minimal regulations and control. It is dominated by the youths with family obligations most of whom have low level schooling, blamed for seeming recklessness among riders that often leads to accidents," Wendo said.
"The problem is major such that many hospitals have even set aside wards specifically for victims of motorcycle related accidents.
BASK chairman Kelvin Mubadi said the sector employs more than 1.2 million youths providing solution to people in areas with poor road network both in rural and in urban areas and should not be ignore.
He said this population is critical in government's efforts to combat Covid-19 due to the large populations they serve daily.
Mubadi said the government should invest heavily in sensitisation of the riders as the same will save heavily in preventing the spread of Covid-19.