County governments should empower, and cater for the drivers of the economy

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Boda boda operators should be well catered for as the drivers of the economy of the region
Boda boda operators should be well catered for as the drivers of the economy of the region

The boda boda riders are, as things stand now, the prime economic movers and facilitators in the Counties of the former Western Province of Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia, Vihiga and neighbouring Trans Nzoia County.  The pace of normal day life set by the people of the region while overseeing their transaction has been transformed and enhanced by the availability of boda boda operators. They are easily available to any person who opts for quick connectivity and movement of people and goods.

Can you imagine the slow pace of transactions twenty-five years ago compared to today? The boda boda operators are everywhere hustling and transporting people and goods at an affordable cost.  They have democratized mobility.  You don’t need to wait at a bus stage for long, as buses and PSVs fill up before departing.

Boda boda riders are now the most flexible and fundamental people when it comes to direct money transactions due to the nature of their business, acting as conduits and handlers of money, be it through M-Pesa, or Airtel money throughout the day. They are vital in the economic sector of the region.

Six years since the advent of devolution, Counties haven’t constructed boda boda friendly and customized stages at critical points which will provide shade for them and their customers away from the hot sun and shelter during the rainy season to the riders and their customers. Moreover, toilets at the boda boda stages also haven’t been put up, and also the availability of water at the said stages is poor, and other basic amenities.

West FM will repeat the narrative until the cows come home that County and the national governments must first and foremost ensure the citizens are healthy, empowered and facilitated to eke out a decent living; to engage in economic activities that generate to the citizen an income.  It’s a contradiction for those employed to govern the citizens to obsess themselves with mega projects in infrastructure, in roads and other structures when they cannot provide basic sanitation facilities to their electorate who are eking out a living like boda boda riders, market traders selling foodstuffs and other home necessities.

It’s a case of those elected to govern being out of touch with reality or deliberate misplacement of priorities in pursuit of corruption and other self-interest. It shouldn’t be that the leaders and public servants need to be pushed, berated by protests from the boda bodas, mama mbogas, small traders for them to understand that it’s common sense for them to empower the boda bodas and other small traders in all available means. This can be through availing infrastructure that will enable them to do more trade and thereby generate revenue that the County Government can tax and deliver more services to the electorate.

How can the elected leaders and public servants claim to be humane, to be servant leaders when year in year out they fail to make any measurable change in the circumstances, conditions in which a sector like boda boda operate in? Where are the boda boda dedicated lanes in towns what measures have been put in place to train the boda bodas not only on safe driving but more importantly on how to prudently use the monies they make to enhance their economic power and venture into other economic activities to complement their boda boda work? How about their security and general entrepreneurship?

The people who are the economic power base of the region surely deserve more from the County governments. We have to deal with the reality as it is of our region and they deserve to be facilitated in their work by the County governments. They ought to be assisted to better organize themselves so as to grow in their economic endeavours. The solution to unemployment is being marginalized, ignored and treated casually by the County governments.

West Media salutes the boda boda warriors for the noble work they continue to do to facilitate life’s transactions in our region and fasten the economic wheels of the region. Keep up, dream big you are at the centre of the economic motion and reality of our region.