State should ban wicked Bodaboda operators
By Albert Amenya
The government may have successfully defused Al Shabaab bombs but it forgot about the deadly bombs that were being planted in our cities and towns that matter in the country. These are bombs that are made up of extremely poor bodaboda operators who are desperate to stay alive. The cities of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret and towns like Kisii, Kakamega, Bungoma, Muranga, Meru and Machakos have been a choice for these wanderers some of which does not know where their next meal will come from.
The trouble begins when these boys leave their village for the city with the hope of living the life of Hollywood celebrities. When they arrive in the city, they spread to various sectors and start doing menial jobs for survival. Others become car washers while the energetic ones become labourers at construction sites. As life gets tougher, these boys graduate into Bodaboda riders and that is where the danger lies.
Even as they join Bodaboda, these boys do not attend any driving school. My snoop tells me that Bodaboda training lasts less than forty minutes and the driver ‘qualifies’ bearing in mind that the training does not include the understanding of road signs and other road driving rules. It is not surprising nonetheless, that these dangerous rookies in the name of riders are getting killed and killing people every day in the cities and other major towns.
Recently, one of these Bodaboda urchins carried a pregnant woman straight to the tyres of a lorry along Mombasa Road. The lorry crashed the poor woman and the foetus was spilt out. With the aid of his charms, the rider took off and disappeared. On that same afternoon, a Bodaboda rider carrying a passenger crossed over three lanes – illegally – on the busy Thika Road and rammed into a personal SUV that was in its correct lane.
Luckily, they survived with serious injuries. Within a minute, more than three hundred Bodaboda riders appeared from nowhere and shielded their colleague. They forced the innocent driver of the car that did not break any law to take their friend and his passenger to the hospital or have his car torched. They escorted them to the hospital and forced the poor driver to foot all the hospital bills that amounted to Sh57, 000 and ‘settle’ the police before taking his Mercedes Benz to DT Dobie for a repair that cost him Sh82, 000.
Since the government allowed Bodabodas in this country, the traffic rules changed completely. The hoodlums are ruling the roads with impunity. In case of an accident with a Bodaboda, the motorist is always wrong. The Bodaboda riders always act as a mob. The crooks have killed so many innocent motorists who dared knock down reckless Bodaboda drivers riding on the wrong lane.
I have given just one example to show how dangerously wicked some of these unskilled and unschooled Bodaboda operators that troop to our cities could be. Needless to add, some of these riders have become armed robbers. When they conduct a robbery, they are merciless owing to illiteracy. They don’t value human life. They will rob and kill without thinking twice then disappear into their ghettos with their bikes.
A solution for these poor but dangerous Bodaboda urchins must be found soon. To begin with, the use of bodabodas for commercial purposes in the cities and other towns should be abolished. In fact, the job is not even helping the young men operating them. When you visit our hospitals, all orthopaedic wards are filled with Bodaboda riders and their victims. As a matter of fact, many are lying dead in the morgues.
It is selfish to ban bodabodas in places where rich people live and let them ravage places where the poor and the middle class live. The government at the local and county levels must start to work towards sanitizing our cities and major towns before we all get consumed. If commercial bodaboda operators are kicked out of the cities, many of those young people will be forced to return to their home villages and assume start cultivating their farms. They should be advised that life is harder in the city than in the village.
The bodaboda people I am talking about are now in their millions across the country. I know they cannot read this article because most of them are unschooled. Those using them for financial gains should pass the right message to them. They should persuade them to seek greener pastures in the villages and stop constituting a nuisance to city dwellers.
(The writer sells bananas in the streets of Kisii town)