Government suspends nationwide boda boda crackdown

Impounded motorbikes

Police officers inspecting impounded motorbikes at Central Police Station in Nairobi on March 8, 2022 following a crackdown on errant boda boda operators. 

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | nation Media Group

The government has suspended the nationwide boda boda crackdown in all parts of the country except in Nairobi.

In a statement on Saturday, Police Spokesperson Bruno Shioso said this will allow a multi-sectoral committee to develop a suitable implementation framework.

This directive brings to an end a week-long crackdown meant to weed out rogue operators.

The crackdown began on Monday night in Nairobi following the condemnation by Kenyans after a video of a woman being sexually harassed along Nairobi’s Forest Road went viral.

Following the directive, operations have been conducted across the country. Boda boda operators and their motorcycles who are in violation of the traffic Act, the police said, have been arrested and arraigned.

“To effectively coordinate the implementation of the exercise with minimum disruptions to the services offered by the compliant boda boda operators, the government has suspended the operation,” Mr Shioso said in a statement.  

“This will allow the multi-sectoral committee coordinating it to develop a suitable implementation framework,” he added.

“This suspension shall not apply to the Nairobi Central Business District where the ban remains in force.”

President Uhuru Kenyatta had on Tuesday ordered the crackdown of the operators.   

“I want to refer to the video circulating. It was disheartening ... I have ordered a crackdown on all boda boda operators starting here in Nairobi and moving across the country,” President Kenyatta said then.

The move was greeted with mixed reaction; as some hailed the move, while others criticised the government’s laxity in regulating the sector.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights chairperson Roselune Odede had called on President Kenyatta to give a directive on regulation of the sector.

“If necessary, then a rapid response to ensure that within the shortest time possible, records of all boda boda riders are centralised, updated and verified for ease of accountability moving forward,” she said.

In the capital, motorcycle operators who ride on walkways, parking lots and within the undesignated routes were also targeted during the operation.

Furthermore, non-registered motorcycle operators in the Information Management System will be deemed to be operating illegally.

The National Transport and Safety Authority had earlier in the week pledged to support investigative agencies in bringing the culprits to book.

“We shall provide all the necessary support to the enforcement agencies. The authority further objurgated any form of harassment and gender based violence within the public transport sector,” Ms Dido Guyatu, Deputy Director Communications said in a statement.