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I have intervened on behalf of boda boda riders, Raila says

ODM Leader Raila Odinga arrives at KICC, Nairobi. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga says he has intervened on behalf of boda boda operators to ease the effects of the crackdown.

Raila said he spoke to President Uhuru Kenyatta who on Tuesday, March 8, ordered a nationwide crackdown on rogue riders, amid public outrage.

The ODM chief averred that only those in the wrong deserve punishment and not innocent riders as has been witnessed.

“If someone is in the wrong, let them be punished,” he said.

But he also pleaded with police officers to spare innocent boda boda riders, who may have just found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“Police should not harass innocent operators,” he noted, urging riders not to take the law into their own hands.

“We want the youth to be successful in business but also be wary of other people’s safety.”

The private bikers association complained they were also targeted in the crackdown. 

Odinga’s appeal comes in the backdrop of a public outcry after a video circulating on social platforms revealed an assault on a 32-year-old woman by a gang of motorcycle operators along Wangari Maathai Road in Nairobi.

Their actions sparked anger all over with several agencies and policymakers among them Chief Justice Martha Koome, Federation of Women Lawyers-Kenya (FIDA-Kenya), and others calling for immediate probe and justice.

Responding to the calls, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said a special task force will be formed to streamline the boda boda sector and ensure justice is served.

 Uhuru also directed a crackdown on boda boda operators, saying the incident was one of many countrywide.

"Without a doubt that was a very disheartening thing to see, and it is only one of many others that have occurred across this country. I have directed law enforcers to conduct a crackdown on boda boda operators in Nairobi and across the country," he said. 

The crackdown aims at weeding out criminal elements within the sector.

It has since been resolved that all boda boda operators will undergo a fresh registration exercise, and acquire new smart driving licenses within 60 days.