Boda-boda business thriving in Mt. Elgon, with 50 per cent of the operators with no valid documents
Written by Phanice Chepkemoi
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Motorbike riders at Kipsongo market of Mt. Elgon, where it has been proven many do not have driving licences to run the business. Photo/ Phanice Chepkemoi
While the boda boda business is still spreading to other areas in Kenya, the bicycles are being replaced by motorbikes and Mt. Elgon has not been left behind either.
A region where people have been using donkeys for transportation of goods from the farms to the market because of the hilly and geographical nature of the area, but since the introduction of the business in the region in the year 2007, many people now have embraced the means because it’s faster and accessible to remote areas.
However, data from the police reveals that 50 per cent of the riders have no road licences, insurance certificate and driving licences.
The Mt. Elgon OCPD Robinson Mboloi discloses that, the absence of vehicles and good roads has made the business to thrive as it has increased employment opportunities; however, many youth have dropped out of school in the quest of quick money.
In Mt. Elgon there are about 200 boda boda motorbikes and a day cannot pass without an accident. Lack of training is a problem to many riders. Most of them train themselves for a day or two then the next day are on the road carrying passengers.
The business also is a health hazard to the passengers as most of the riders don’t have helmets and a spare one for the passengers as required by the law.
It has also led to the increase in criminal activities. “This is a countrywide problem, but we are trying our best to regulate them. Most of them when caught, they complain a lot, but we are doing our job,” says Mboloi.
Joseph Ndiema a resident in the area says that the boda boda business has helped a lot.
“We used to walk long distance from Kipyeto to Kimilili, but now it takes a few minutes and you are in Kimilili.”
“Now you can see we are looking good because walking long distance makes one to lose weight and to look old, but now we can dress well knowing that we will board a motorbike but on the other hand it has made many people lazy,” says mama Rhoda.
Dan Sirkoi a boda boda operator, “Now I can afford to provide for my family because at the end of the day I give my boss Sh 500 and the remaining is mine.”
The operators are now calling on the area mp to start a boda boda school within the town to facilitate knowledge and driving skills to the riders and sensitization of safety precautions to customers.