Authorities must be resolute to tame rogue boda bodas

Monday, April 12th, 2021 00:00 |
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For years now, the warning signs have been flashing. Alarm bells have been ringing loud and clear that boda bodas were becoming increasingly aggressive and morphing into something ugly.

The government kept on assuring Kenyans that “something” was being done about it.

Warnings to boda bodas kept on being habitually issued, and every now and again, some half-hearted measures would be introduced to tame the sector, only to fizzle out soon thereafter.

Well, the day that the alarm bells have been warning about is finally here. Boda bodas have now gone completely rogue.

They have become a law unto themselves. It’s crazy, but the police are now yielding to the brigands. 

In the last two months, boda boda thugs have seized suspects from police custody in Kirinyaga and Embu, frog-marched them to town centres, beaten them up and burnt them in full public glare.

All that was heard from the police were the usual platitudes about no stone being left unturned, and perpetrators to face the full force of the law.

Those perpetrators are still roaming free, ready to commit yet another atrocity.

The boda boda mobs operate with absolute impunity. They no longer fear the consequences of breaking the law.

In fact, they have become a law unto themselves. They are the untouchables!

Woe betide any motorist who finds themselves in an accident involving boda bodas. Previously, when they caused an accident, they fled the scene if they were not badly injured.

Today, they mob any motorist unfortunate enough to become involved in an accident with them. They mobilise within seconds, and descend on the scene like flies.

They will beat up the motorist, sometimes fatally, steal from the vehicle then burn it. Yet there have been zero arrests or prosecutions.

Many times, motorists have been forced to “compensate” the boda bodas on the spot, even when it undoubted the rider caused the accident.

In some cases, police have just stood by watching nonchalantly. It’s so atrocious!

Boda boda indiscipline and impunity is at its highest.  They now ride against oncoming traffic, habitually carry more than the required one pillion passenger, speed like madmen and cut right across traffic from one side to another.

They have zero respect for traffic rules. Their mantra is — just touch me, you see.

Again, police just watch them. They have defied attempts to move them out of Nairobi’s central business district, where they spend the day playing cat and mouse games with Nairobi City County government officials.  City Hall seems to have given up.

The question is, why is the government letting all this to happen?

This is the same government that snuffed out the craziness of another industry that had gone completely rogue — the matatu industry.

There was even a phrase coined for it — matatu madness. Yet, the government tamed this industry and turned the operators from hyenas to kittens within less than a month! 

So, if the government really wants to tame the rogue boda bodas, it only needs a week. It is difficult to understand why it is not doing that.

There is no need to regurgitate the measures that need to be taken to rein in boda bodas.

They are a well sung refrain by now. The government has pronounced itself on this matter ad nauseum

Kenya is now entering an election season. Boda bodas have become an integral part of the country’s electioneering and campaigns.

With the current impunity and thuggish behaviour, and awash with campaign cash, they pose a huge risk of destabilisation of the country, especially in the event of post-election tension or unrest.

Boda bodas have also provided the perfect cover for all manner of miscreants for their misdeeds. 

This is Cabinet Secretary for Interior, Dr Fred Matiang’i’s ball. It seems like, for once, the ball is dribbling him, given his customary one-touch passes with national challenges. He clearly has let his eyes of this ball. [email protected]

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