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Raila Odinga pledges Sh1b fund for boda boda groups

Azimio la Umoja Coalition flag bearer Raila Odinga meeting Bodaboda riders at Nyayo Stadium. [Emmanuel Wanson, Standard]

Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga has assured boda boda operators across the country that their welfare will be well catered for under his administration.

Raila addressed boda boda operators’ representatives from various parts of the country at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi yesterday. He said his government will set aside a Sh1 billion revolving fund to support the sector.

The Azimio presidential candidate said his administration will ensure the more than 2.5 million operators across the country have good terms for the purchase, maintenance and operation of motorcycles. 

Raila promised to roll out refresher courses for police officers and county enforcement officers to ensure they handle the operators with decorum following complaints.

“Azimio la Umoja has come up with several measures that are captured in our manifesto aimed at promoting the management and self-regulation of the boda boda sector.”

He said the boda bodas have revolutionised the transport sector, making it easier for citizens even in remote parts of the country to move. Raila said the boda boda sector needs to be supported even further to empower millions of Kenyans depending on it.

Suna East MP Junet Mohammed said it was the responsibility of all road users to observe safety and not only boda boda operators who are blamed in case of an accident. “We are calling on the government to release all motorbikes being held in police stations due to petty traffic offences,” he said.

Former minister Mukhisa Kituyi said following negotiations with the Government of Norway it had agreed to offer guarantees that will lower taxation on the boda boda industry. A meeting with stakeholders in the sector is being planned to agree on the way forward. 

Boda boda Safety Association of Kenya national chairman Kevin Mubadi said their 2.5 million members have endorsed Raila for President. “We are proud to rally behind Raila Odinga since he has shown he has the best interests of the boda boda operators,” he said.

The association urged Raila to push for the reduction of taxes that have led to the increase in motorbike prices from Sh110,000 to around Sh180,000 in the last few years, making it difficult for most of the operators to clear loans. 

Nairobi Metropolitan Services Director General Mohammed Badi asked the boda boda operators to report rogue county enforcement officers who harass them.

Meanwhile, the Azimio presidential candidate further promised to ensure all religions are treated equally.

He addressed hundreds of Muslim Women Network members from across the country at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre. He promised to end discrimination against Muslims. He said issues like requiring Muslims to meet stringent measures before getting national IDs would be eradicated.

Raila promised to tackle poverty, ignorance, disease and corruption which he said have hampered the country’s development.