Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered a crackdown on all boda boda operators across the country following Friday’s incident that saw a female motorist sexually assaulted in Nairobi.
“I want to refer to the video circulating. It was disheartening and it was only one of these incidents shown. I have ordered a crackdown on all boda boda operators starting here in Nairobi and moving across the country.
I know we are in the busy season of politics, and some will say the government is harassing small business owners. There is no such thing,” he said.
Kenyatta has also ordered that all motorbikes will be registered.
He was speaking at the International Women’s Day at the Kenya School of Government in Kabete, Nairobi a day after the shameful incident was caught on camera.
The viral video of a female motorist being physically harassed by a gang of boda boda riders has sparking national outrage, with calls being made to regulate the sector.
Over sixteen suspects have been arrested so far after the incident took place. More than 200 boda boda operators within Nairobi CBD were also arrested this morning.
He however said the crackdown should not be seen as targeting small businesses, but to restore sanity in the sector.
The president added that his administration has been at the forefront in supporting the boda boda sector but that should not be seen as being complicit with the criminal elements hiding in the sector.
He said; “Riding a boda boda is not a license to do drive by shootings, and most definitely for you to strip and remove dignity from our women. We want to support our boda bodas, but even these women are your customers. Treat them with respect.”
Lauding the role they have played, Mr Kenyatta called on the sector to weed out the rogue elements or the government will clamp down on them.
“We have heard many heroic stories of boda bodas who have helped women and girls. We support this. But that is not a license for you and your motorbike by harassing pedestrians and chasing them from the pedestrian walkways,“ he said.
Mr. Kenyatta also gave the illustration of the neighboring country Rwanda where the operators are disciplined.
“For those of you who have heard the opportunity to travel to Rwanda and Kigali, it is not that they do not have boda bodas. They have so many like us, but they are disciplined. All we are asking them is to be disciplined and we shall support you,” he said.
He also requested Rwanda to offer a bench marking on Kenyan boda boda operators to Kenya.
“I can see Rwanda’s First Lady Her Excellency Lady Janet Kagame here and maybe she can send some of the Rwandan men to Kenya so that they can train some of our young men how to behave and treat women.”