Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i has asked boda boda riders to work together with the government to avert crime.
Speaking at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) headquarters in Nairobi yesterday, Matiang'i said the government may not be able to police everyone, but can work with people at the grassroots level to push its agenda on safety.
Matiang'i was speaking to representatives of riders drawn from from the 47 counties at the launch of the Boda boda Information Management System, an initiative of the Boda boda Association of Kenya (BAK).
The launch was attended by his ICT ministry counterpart Joe Mucheru, National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) officials, representatives from the National Social Security Fund, United Nations Population Fund, Taxiye-an (Ethiopian based transport company) and a host of other private sector practitioners.
The system by BAK is a web-based platform that seeks to integrate information of boda boda riders by collection of identification information.
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This comes against the backdrop of accusations against the riders of abetting theft, conspiracy to transport drugs and direct involvement in social vices. The sub-sector still remains largely unregulated.
Accidents by the riders was also talked about at the event, with various speakers observing a tendency of high numbers of road carnage that involve them.
“Current road safety statistics indicate that there have been 616 deaths this year, compared to the 419 in the same period last year,” NTSA Vice Chair Moses Nderitu said. “Last year alone we lost 1,073 motor cyclists compared to 836 who died the previous year.”
He attributed the death rates to poor training of riders, observing that a paltry 37 per cent of them have undergone basic road safety awareness training while there are only 25 per cent who have received formal training of motorcycle riding. The rest, according to NTSA, were trained by friends, family and fellow riders.
“The government wants to support the enabling of training centres in counties for boda boda riders to try and reduce accidents in accordance to the new driving school rules and curriculum,” Matiang'i said.
The boda boda sub-sector employs about one million youths in Kenya.