State Department of Tourism Principal Secretary Zeinab Hussein has launched the registration of boda boda and issuance of Smart Driving Licences to qualified riders in Kilifi County at the Huduma Center in order to streamline the boda boda sector and advance road safety.

Addressing the riders during the launch on Monday, Ms. Hussein asked the bodaboda operators to take advantage of the timeline of 60 days stipulated by the government in order to register in large numbers.

She noted that the boda boda sector plays an important role not only in Kilifi County but the whole country hence the call for boda boda regulation.

“It’s an important sector since it employs more than 2.4 million with more than 10,000 youth coming from Kilifi. It aids in transport both in short distance and long distance,” Ms. Hussein noted.

She noted that the boda boda sector has been unregulated for a long time which has led to infiltration by criminals who disguise themselves as bodaboda riders to commit their heinous acts.

“Due to the fast growth of the sector, it has become easy for gangs to infiltrate the boda boda sector. We are calling upon the riders to register to enable us weed out the bad elements, so that in an event of an incident, we can be able to track the perpetrators,” she added.

The PS noted that lack of driving licenses by boda boda riders puts a risk to both the riders and the passengers, in the event of an accident.

State department of Tourism and Wildlife Principal Secretary Zeinab Hussein flagging off Bodaboda registration in Kilifi County on Monday at Huduma center Kilifi Photo by Treeza Auma

She expressed her worries that in the event of accidents, riders and passengers may end up incurring huge hospital bills which may cause their families to anguish in poverty in the long run.

The PS added that the regulation was necessary to ensure riders operate within the laid standard operating procedures.

“In order to ensure steady growth of the sector, it’s important to regulate the sector by working within the laid guidelines by government. This will help in safety of all road users,” she added.

The government has already rolled out the registration of boda bodas all over the country.

This comes after the Wangari Maathai incident in which boda boda riders were captured harassing a female motorist after an accident.

She explained that the primary objective of regulating the boda boda sector was to promote road safety and security of the riders and users.

The government intends to issue smart driving licenses to all registered motorists after successful registration.

In addition, the first 200,000 registered riders will benefit from free NHIF cover for the next twelve months.

This will help weed out the bad elements in the boda boda sector to ensure the streamlining of the bodaboda sector.

In order to register, riders is required to present themselves in person and have an original national Identity Card, a copy of the KRA pin and an active registered sim card.

Boda boda riders queue for Boda boda registration at Kilifi Huduma Center on Monday Photo by Treeza Auma

Kilifi county commissioner Kutswa Olaka noted that the country lost 1,722 people through boda boda accidents in a period of one year which was a loss to the country in the concern of productivity.

He asked the boda boda riders to exercise calmness in an event of an accident to ensure they do not tamper with the evidence which may be crucial to help in a court of law.

“In an event of an accident, the vehicle may be in the wrong. Attacking the vehicle or the driver may tamper with the evidence making it hard for the driver to be taken in a court of law,” Kutswa added.

He asked the boda boda riders to avoid being used wrongly by politicians during the campaign period as the bodaboda riders are likely to be used to destroy property leading to future regrets.

Kilifi county boda boda chairman Hamisi Katambo noted that more than 85% of the boda riders did not have licenses in the past.

Katambo also added that due to distance most of the bodaboda riders who reside far away from Kilifi town may not be registered within the timeline.

“Distance is a big challenge since we only have one Huduma Centre serving the entire Kilifi county. Some in the far ends of the county are having a challenge coming here due to distance and shortage of fuel being experienced in the country,” Katambo said.

Katambo asked for the devolvement of the exercise to the area chiefs due to the expansive Kilifi county which is currently having only one registration Centre.

He also added that due to the shortage of fuel in the country, most of the bodaboda riders have opted to park their boda bodas at home until the fuel shortage crisis is solved and hence the low turnout of boda boda registration.

“Fuel shortage has immensely affected the boda boda sector since some of the boda bodas do not have fuel to be able to come for registration,” Katambo added.

He said that over 200 riders are registered on a daily basis but due to some challenges including distance and fuel shortage, only 50 presented themselves for the exercise.

By Treeza Auma

Treeza Auma is a Digital Content Producer and founder of KTMN She is also Television journalist at Kenya News Agency and Leadership Accelerator at Women in News.

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