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Order signals end of the road for boda boda mess

A police officer controls boda boda riders during WRC Safari Rally along Uhuru Highway on June 23, 2022. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Boda boda and tuk-tuk operators who are not members of a Sacco will soon be kicked off the roads. 

This is after the government came up with the National Transport and Safety Authority (Operation of Motorcycle) (Amendment) Regulations, 2022 aimed at streamlining the transport sub-sector that has been notorious for lawlessness.

“A person shall not operate a two-wheeled or three-wheeled motorcycle taxi without being a member of a body corporate that is validly registered with the authority as a motorcycle taxi operator,” say the regulations gazetted on Tuesday.

The Sacco will also be expected to promptly report any accident or incident of sexual assault involving its members.

In the case of an accident resulting in death or grievous bodily harm, the Sacco shall report to the authority within 24 hours.

In March, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi gave boda boda operators 60 days to join a registered Sacco in a move aimed at weeding out criminals from the sector.

The directive followed an incident captured on video and shared widely of a woman being molested along Prof Wangari Mathai Road, Nairobi, by a group of boda boda riders.

The government subsequently launched a crackdown against boda boda operators, resulting in a cat-and-mouse game between law enforcers and the riders.

"Within the period of registration because we will open the books on March 21...make sure you have a smart rider's licence and make sure you are a member of a Sacco," Dr Matiang'i said.

"The tradition is already there, now we want boda boda operators to be organised in Saccos." 

However, at the time the CS was giving the orders, the regulations for boda boda Saccos were not in place.

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia published the new regulations on June 3 through a legal notice, breathing life into the directive.

The Sacco must have at least 100 registered members. The taxi operators will be expected to submit a list of registered members under a body corporate as well as the geographical area of operation to National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA), the same way the matatus do.

According to data from National Police Service, 105 boda boda operators and 42 pillion passengers had died as at January 25, 2022.

NTSA Deputy Director, Road Safety Programmes, Duncan Kibogong said boda bodas will have to operate in a formal system and register in Saccos, just like the matatu sector, where they will have a chairperson and team leaders.

“Much of the rise in fatalities is due to increased numbers of vehicles, in particular boda bodas. We always register up to 30,000 boda bodas every year," he said on January 28.

"As per the statistics, boda boda deaths are up to 40 per cent, having risen from five per cent 15 years ago.” 

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