Boda boda to Orengo: Welcome to Siaya but we're paying no taxes

James Orengo

Siaya Senator James Orengo addresses mourners in Gem, Siaya County on February 5, 2022. 

Photo credit: Tonny Omondi | Nation Media Group

Siaya motorcycle transporters, or boda boda, have urged incoming governor James Orengo to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor Cornel Rasanga and not tax them.

Mr Orengo and his deputy William Oduol will be sworn in on Thursday.

Though boda boda operators in other counties are taxed, that is not the case in Siaya, as the county government failed in its numerous attempts to do so.

Speaking to reporters as they awaited Mr Orengo’s big day, they said they were not ready to be taxed.

“This is the only thing we can say the outgoing governor did in our favour. As Mr Orengo assumes office, we want to tell him that we are not ready for taxes and it should remain that way,” said Mr Benard Ouma, a member of Siaya County Boda Boda Association.

But he asked the incoming government to ensure they all have modern sheds and essential services before thinking about taxing them.

“We cannot be taxed when we have no shelter. We have no basic structures that support our welfare. It is therefore prudent for the new governor to put all these in place before thinking of taxing the boda boda operators,” he said.

Besides asking to continue being exempted from taxes, they called on the new administration to allow investors in the Yala swamp so as to create employment for young people who have flooded the boda boda industry.

“Some of us are educated and skilled, but we don’t have opportunities to exploit,” Mr Ouma said.

“We need an investor in the Yala swamp for us to get jobs. The county government must reach an agreement with a potential investor who will employ as many people as possible.”

The association also urged Mr Orengo to follow the law and give 30 percent of county tenders to young people and consider those who are employed in the transport sector.

“We have organisations in every sub-county. The new government should consider empowering us by allocating some tenders for our respective sub-county groups,” said Mr Gabriel Ausi, the secretary of the association.

He added: “For a whole decade, we have seen tenders awarded to friends and relatives of the leaders. Mr Orengo should change this trend and allow youths to benefit by getting the tenders.”

They also asked Mr Orengo to hasten the completion of the stadium in Siaya town.

The Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) grounds cannot serve the entire population, Mr Francis Ouma.

“We are tired of the KMTC grounds. Like other counties, we need the stadium to be completed. The outgoing governor began the construction and Mr Orengo should finish it within the shortest time possible when he takes over,” Mr Ouma said.