The National Police Service on Thursday, January 28 put boda boda riders in the country on notice over a surge in cases of impunity and lawlessness associated with them.
In a statement seen by Business Today, Inspector General Hillary Mutyambai announced that a major operation would be undertaken to weed out culprits after mapping out hot spots where such incidents are being reported.
“All police officers have been directed to be on the lookout to take the necessary lawful action against any boda boda rider found to be taking the law into their own hands,” the statement read in part.
Members of the public were urged to report any accidents or security-related incidents involving boda boda riders to the nearest police station.
Mutyambai raised concerns over recent incidents that have seen individuals in accidents involving boda boda riders assaulted or, in some cases, their vehicles burnt.
The IG urged boda boda riders and operators to desist from ‘uncouth and uncivilized manner of addressing issues’.
“Boda boda riders must adhere to all traffic regulations, and all laws of public order and decency, failure to which they will be dealt with in accordance with the law, individually,” he asserted.
Mutyambai insisted that the emerging culture of lawlessness among the riders posed a great risk to public safety and security.
With more than 1.2 million riders across the country, boda boda riders have taken on greater prominence in national discourse in recent months.
In some instances, they have been cited by politicians as an embodiment of the hard-working nature of Kenyans. Many boda boda riders are members of welfare groups which plough members’ contributions into various investments, including real estate, while also offering cheap credit to members.
In some quarters, however, they have been described as a law unto themselves and accused of fostering a toxic mob mentality. Several cases of hardcore criminals, especially robbers, posing as boda boda riders have also contributed to negative sentiment towards the industry.
“The boda boda sub-sector plays a big role in the Kenyan economy as a source of employment and livelihood for many people.
“The operators and riders must therefore closely partner with the police to make this important sector safe, secure and orderly,” Mutyambai asserted.