Boda boda operators in Tana Delta Subcounty are complaining that police officers in the area have high appetite for bribes and are making them sleep on empty stomachs despite the fact that they work on a daily basis.
When we enquired about the issue, one rider on condition of anonymity narrated to us the daily odeal they experience on the roads. He said “a rider from Wema with a passenger who pays Ksh. 300 is forced to pay a bribe of Ksh.100 at Idsowe bridge police barrier and again pay another Ksh.100 at Garsen Junction or Idsowe-Garsen shortcut when the road is passable. You remain with Ksh. 100, on your way back you fuel your bike, you pay Ksh. 150 meaning you end up paying extra Ksh. 50 just because of corrupt police officers.”
He questioned if the government is serious with the idea of creating jobs for the youths. Tana Delta doesn’t have operating industries and due to famines and climate changes, agriculture is not performing well. The only hope is the Bodaboda industry but now the police officers are rendering us jobless.
Does the government want us to join terror groups or criminal activities? The bodaboda operator posed a rhetorical question.
The bodaboda representatives met the area OCPD who assured them that the habit will end and they instructed them that whenever they are stopped by the greedy officers they should not give bribes instead report the officers to him.
They also met the newly deployed traffic officers who also assured them that giving bribes to police officers manning roadblocks will end. Also the traffic officers gave riders two weeks to comply with traffic rules and regulations.
Every rider should have updated driving license, put on jacket, reflector, and protective gears. Also every bike should have an insurance.
It is written in the holy scriptures that ‘idle mind is devil workshop’. Rendering the youths in the area jobless by killing the Bodaboda industry may force the youths to involve themselves in drugs abuse, stealing or even join Al shabaab given that the area borders Boni forest where the terrorists hide.
Another operator from Lazima village, said they have been working well with security agencies in Garsen North Ward area. He said during the period that Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) special forces used to operate from Kulesa Camp, about five terrorist suspects were arrested in the area thanks to Bodaboda riders. The riders still have good relationship with the General Service Unit (GSU) which is now deployed in the area and they still report any suspicious people to them. They timely report to Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) who patrols the areas whenever they sight porchers.
“Sisi ndio macho ya serikali, sijui kwa nini hio hio serikali ina tunyanyasa apa chini he added (we are the government eyes here on the ground, then the same government is harassing us).
Motorcycle transport is the most convenient and efficient way of transport especially in Garsen North Ward and Chara areas where roads are not well developed and impassable during raining seasons.
The industry is one of the biggest drivers of economy in the area and the country at large. It is estimated that each commercial motorcycle supports eight people including the riders family and numerous support services providers like mechanics, tyre suppliers, spare parts dealers and fabricators. They also contribute immensely to the country budget through fuel levy charged by petrol stations. Without forgetting the county business operations fee.
Let’s not kill the industry.