A row is brewing between the Kisumu County government and boda boda operators following a decision by the devolved unit to ban operators from Milimani Estate.
The estate is among the few high-end ones in the city but has been grappling with cases of insecurity.
Yesterday, boda boda operators who ply their trade in the estate termed the decision to ban them from the area as unfortunate. They claimed the move would affect their daily income and their only source of livelihood, and wants the decision reversed.
Maurice Ochieng, a rider who claimed he has been operating at the estate for more than seven years, said the devolved unit labelled them thieves through the move.
“We have been working here for years. I started as a bicycle rider, and now I won a motorcycle. This is where I get money to feed my children. The County Government should come and talk to us so that we can find a good solution to this issue,” said the rider.
According to Kisumu-based activist Audi Ogada, the directive is not only discriminatory but also unconstitutional.
Ogada, who is also the chairperson of Kisumu Residents Voice Association, a social support group based in Kisumu, wants the City Manager to cancel the order, claiming it infringes on citizens’ right to move, work and live at places of their choice.
“Am appealing to the City Manager to look into the order he gave. The order goes against the Bill of Rights, which allows any Kenyan to enter, remain, and reside anywhere in Kenya, “ Ogada stated.
In the notice issued by the County Government through the office of City Manager Abala Wanga, the Bodaboda riders, who have been operating from the Mlimani estate, have been directed to move out of the estate. All their stages have been declared illegal.
The directive also targets operators parking near various hotels and residential buildings in the estate. According to Wanga, the move to bar riders from Mlimani has been informed by the need to enhance security in parts of the residential areas of the city, especially those occupied by foreign diplomats.
“Mlimani is one of our elite estates here in Kisumu. Elites estate mean that we have got several international foreigners living there. As a city, we cannot allow bodaboda riders to be riding carelessly in areas supposed to be secure for non-local dwellers,” he said.