Accusations and counter accusations have emerged among boda boda operators in Trans Nzoia County in ongoing protests surrounding the payment of revenue.
The main issue of contention which is fueling discontent within the group is the mode of operation that has seen their bid to seek audience with relevant officers hit a snag since Monday. “We have genuine concerns that we want addressed by the County government but this cause has been hijacked by personal interests being fueled by some politicians,” said the secretary of boda boda operators in Endebess Ronald Juma.
They alleged some individuals who are not boda boda riders have taken center stage in the protests, engaging in acts of violence against some of their members. “Some of us were beaten when we tried to join our colleagues in the protests on Monday. This clearly indicates there is a scheme to create divisions among the boda boda fraternity,” said Mr. John Kibet, a rider.
The protests are being led by the Municipality boda boda Sacco under the chairmanship of David Magero. The group broke away from the Trans Nzoia boda boda Sacco which is led by Anthony Ombima.
Mr. Magero has since denied allegations of foul play saying they are pursuing a genuine case aimed at ensuring their grievances which have been drafted in a petition are addressed. “We have neither engaged in violence nor been consulted by some politicians to attack anybody. We only want an audience with the County government to air our grievances,” he said.
The boda boda riders want the County government to ensure those charged with mandate of enforcing revenue collections act in a civilized manner instead of using force in their duties. “They should have official regalia and identification badges bearing the name of the County government of Trans Nzoia to ensure they are not mistaken for hooligans,” he said.
On his part, Ombima has criticized politicians for what he termed as funding a revolt within the boda boda operators, claiming some politicians are the ones causing disruptions.
He said some politicians who are eyeing various seats ranging from gubernatorial, parliamentary as well as the ward representative seats are using boda bodas to fuel tensions, making them ungovernable hence disintegrating them further.
He said during the past elections, the group was steadfast and voted as a united block, something which angered politicians that are used to the divide and rule tactic.