May 24th 2017

Magazine / Entrepreneurship

Kisumu boda boda riders fear for their lives as violent robberies increase

In this month alone, seven boda boda riders have been murdered in the course of their duty, by robbers who posed as customers. A boda boda rider is more likely to be attacked by a ‘customer’ than knocked down by a car on Kisumu’s roads.

By Free Press Correspondentnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comMonday, 22 Aug 2016 15:36 EAT

Motorcyle taxis, better known as boda bodas, provide an essential service in Kisumu City. Few towns in Kenya can rival Kisumu in terms of boda boda penetration. Long before Nairobi allowed boda bodas to operate in the central business district, Kisumu was game for the operators.

However, if recent trends continue, the boda boda business could be a grave security threat for the operators. There is a rising phenomenon of robbers posing as customers only to turn wild, beating and robbing their carriers.

In this month alone, seven boda boda riders have been murdered in the course of  duty, by robbers  posing as customers. A boda boda rider is more likely to be attacked by a ‘customer’ than knocked down by a car on Kisumu’s roads.

They are brutally murdered, often hacked to death by machete-wielding thugs. A few have had their heads cut off, according to operators who have staged protests in the town from Friday.

The hotspots are Nyamasaria, Obunga, Mamboleo, Manyatta, Tom Mboya and Nyalenda within the town.

On Friday, hundreds of boda boda operators paralyzed business in the town to protest killing of one of their colleagues in Kondele on Thursday night. The victim was attacked by his passenger and his motorcycle stolen.

The operators marched to the offices of Governor Jack Ranguma, County Commission John Elungata, police commander Titus Yoma and Kisumu AP commander Joseph Keitany to press for action on the killings.

The protestors demanded the installation of CCTV cameras in all the town’s major roads. They said the poor condition of most access roads in the town made it easy for robbers to pounce on them whenever they slowed down on potholed or muddy sections.

“We are tired of reporting the killings in police stations because the authorities do nothing to investigate the cases or bring suspects to justice,” complained one operator.

All officials who received the protesters' grievances promised to take action.

 

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