Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has asked boda boda riders to guard the subsector against infiltration by criminal gangs disguising as entrepreneurs.
Speaking Monday in Nairobi during the launch of Nyandarua County’s Boda Yangu Ofisi Yangu training programme, the Deputy President said the government is keen on supporting the boda boda subsector, which is a key driver of the country’s economy.
While asking the riders to obey the law, Mr Gachagua said the police have been asked to work with them in bringing sanity to the subsector.
“We have told the police that bodaboda riders are not criminals; they are businessmen. They should be respected and not be harassed. But the riders should also follow the law and traffic rules. Let us not allow boda boda business to be infiltrated by criminal gangs. Don’t allow criminal elements in your enterprise. Be your own policemen and be vigilant,” said Mr Gachagua at the Kenya Methodist University, Nairobi Campus.
The programme, which is sponsored by the Nyandarua County Woman Representative Faith Gitau under the National Government Affirmative Action Fund will train 256 riders on savings and investment uptake of National Health Insurance Fund, road safety and etiquette, among other soft skills.
The Deputy President cautioned against attempts to allow criminal gangs, particularly in the Mt Kenya region, where he said attempts were made to revive the outlawed Mungiki criminal gang to wreak havoc during anti-government protests.
“There were attempts to revive the outlawed group (Mungiki) and their leader was being used by Azimio to get support and cause chaos. This Government will not allow the revival of criminal gangs anywhere in this country even if they hide in Opposition politics. It was a ruthless gang as it did unthinkable things. That gang should not come anywhere near the bodaboda enterprise,” said the Deputy President.
He stated that the Ruto Administration is investing in various ways in small-scale businesses such as the introduction of electric motorcycles and implementation of the Hustler Fund.
“Boda Boda is a critical subsector to the economy of the country. Earning an average of Sh1,000 per day, the over 1.2 million riders are supporting up to six million people while injecting about Sh365 billion to our economy annually. The subsector has also provided job opportunities, with the youth being the most beneficiaries accounting for 75 per cent of the total riders,” said Mr Gachagua.
He added that soon he will meet national leadership of the Bodaboda operators over the challenges the riders have been facing such as lack of a database.
In regard to alcoholism, the Deputy President said that although the government was making progress in eradicating illegal and illicit brews in Central Kenya region, some governors have become a hindrance to the crackdown.
He, however, said that despite the challenges arising from the county bosses, the fight against alcoholism and drug abuse was unstoppable and there was no compromise.
“That fight is unstoppable and there is no compromise. I am not embarrassed about it,” said the Deputy President.
The Deputy President said governors who are not working to eliminate illicit alcohol and substance abuse will not be supported in the next elections.
“During Sagana meeting I told them that if they do not help us in this fight against alcoholism and drug abuse, which are likely to wipe out an entire generation, at the right time I will call them out. In the next election cycle, I won’t support any governor who has not worked with us in eradicating alcoholism,” said the Deputy President.
He continued: “I want to challenge the governors in Mt Kenya region, those who are not willing to help us in this fight against alcoholism and drug abuse should not expect support from some of us”.
He stated that the region was at risk of losing a generation and families due to alcoholism. He noted that poisoned liquor had been dumped in the region by rogue manufacturers and distributors during the previous administration.
“We are working hard to eradicate the illicit brews which were dumped in the region. I thank the leaders and officers of the National Government Administration. We are 70 per cent successful,” said the Deputy President.
At the event, the Deputy President was accompanied by the Principal Secretary, State Department for Roads Joseph Mbugua, Nyandarua Woman Representative Faith Gitau, Nyandarua senator John Methu, Laikipia Woman Rep Jane Kagiri and Mps Wanjiku Muhia (Kipipiri), Njuguna Kiaraho (Ol Kalou), Kwenya Thuku (Kinangop), George Gachagua (Ndaragwa) and James Gakuya (Embakasi North).