Hustlers sue Ruto over empty poll pledges, demand Sh426b compensation

Linda Jamii leader Prof Fred Ogola. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

A section of boda boda operators and small-scale traders have sued the government for allegedly ascending to power through falsehood.

The petitioners led by the Malindi Boda Boda Association have accused President William Ruto's United Democratic Alliance (UDA) of duping them that the government would boost the livelihoods of boda boda operators and mama mboga.

The Malindi Boda Boda Association and Operation Linda Jamii are seeking Sh426 billion in compensation over alleged lost business as a result of the alleged decision by Kenya Kwanza to use them as a campaign tool.

In the petition filed at the Malindi High Court on January 4, the hustlers claim that the Kenya Kwanza campaign narrative has turned out to be false.

“The Kenya Kwanza has peddled a narrative that structures of the current political government are comprised of the boda boda and mama mboga, while the same is utterly false and untrue,” said Linda Jamii leader Prof Fred Ogola.

On Thursday, Prof Ogola joined a section of the boda boda riders and traders in a procession in Malindi town, to denounce the government's skewed appointments.

He claimed that the boda boda operators and mama mboga were now incurring losses as the Kenya Kwanza administration slogan had deprived them of income owing to hostility from Kenyans dissatisfied with the government.

“As a result of the impugned utterances by the members of Kenya Kwanza Alliance (KAA), the people engaged in boda boda business to earn a living suffer massive financial losses,” states the petition.

The petition filed by Malindi boda boda operators, Linda Jamii and Public Interest Group alleged that they are ridiculed and have lost business because they supported the Kenya Kwanza agenda.

“Additionally, the utterances of UDA and KKA that the current executive arm of the government of Kenya, comprised of the boda boda and mama mboga women subject the persons engaged in boda boda and mama Mboga business to psychological trauma owing to the reduction in their source of income and hostility of Kenyans who are dissatisfied with the government’s inability to bring down the cost of living,” states the petition.

They also want the court to order the government to stop making utterances on mama mboga and boda boda, claiming that this threatens the petitioners’ rights and fundamental freedom.

The petitioners say earnings in the boda boda sector have dropped to 32 per cent which translates to about Sh426 billion due to constant reference to them by Kenya Kwanza government.

Malindi activist Karisa Fagio said that it was time Kenyans stopped lamenting and used the right channels to seek solutions to their problems after the government failed them.

“It is now time we wake up and stop lamenting because the government has failed Kenyans, and lamentations will not solve any issues,” he said.

He emphasized that moving to court and holding leaders accountable were some of the channels to be used to achieve the dream.

Kilifi County Youth President Jacinta Mbeyu warned of a revolution if the government maintains the status quo.

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