ICT Principal Secretary Jerome Ochieng Monday launched the national registration and subsequent issuance of free Smart Driving Licences to boda boda riders in Kisumu County.
Ochieng said the exercise being done countrywide for the next 60 days is geared towards promoting road safety and security for all boda boda operators and their clients.
He urged all the boda boda leaders to rally their members to come out and take part in the registration exercise and at the same time benefit from the government waiver of the Sh5, 800 registration fee before the two-month window lapses.
“I urge all riders to mobilise themselves and come out in large numbers to take advantage of the 60-day registration window and reap the benefits of a streamlined sector,” said the PS, adding that a reformed boda boda sub-sector would provide a safe and orderly operating environment for the general public who rely on such services on daily basis.
However, the PS cautioned the riders against disobeying rules upon successful vetting and obtaining the smart driving licences.
“The fact that you have a driver’s licence does not mean that you have a licence to break the law. To all our boda boda riders, even after getting the driver’s licence, you should still continue having helmets on, keep on wearing reflector jackets and continue riding on the right side of the road,” he stated.
Through this registration initiative, the government intends to support the sub-sector through necessary reforms to protect legitimate operators and their clients, while weeding out criminal elements hiding among genuine operators by ensuring each rider is identifiable.
Additionally, the government aims at mitigating negative trends on the road by advocating safe riding habits through training and capacity building of the registered operators.
“Accidents involving boda boda riders and their clients have more than doubled since 2016, accounting for almost 2000 deaths in 2021,” said Ochieng.
Motorbike riders have also been encouraged to form Saccos or Cooperative societies within their localities to help build trust with the services of the registered operators.
According to the PS, the government recognizes boda boda business as a potential sector that has positively transformed the livelihoods of many Kenyans and raised their living standards.
“Boda boda sub-sector is a source of livelihood for many youths and their families. It is estimated that there are over 1.5 million boda bodas in our country, which directly and indirectly impacts the lives of close to 6 million Kenyans, more than 10 per cent of our population,” he disclosed.
At the same time, the government has promised to spend Sh1.2 billion to fully sponsor the first 200,000 licensed boda boda riders to get a health cover with the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) for 12 months.
Patrick Abuti, a boda boda leader in Kisumu town, speaking during the launch at the Huduma Centre grounds, asked his colleagues to embrace the initiative to ensure compliance and avoid finding themselves on the wrong side of the law.
The exercise will be carried out at all the 52 Huduma Centres in the country from 28th March to 24th June.
By Robert Ojwang’