Nothing unites Kenyans like leaked nudes, love for Avocados, trending celebrity bullshit and once in a while, condemning atrocities. Even war-ravaged Ukraine has nothing on us when we decide to come together.
Earlier in the week, Kenyans were like scorpions; as violent as they were passionate, everyone grappling with tweets and posts so stinging that even these ruthless arachnids’ pincers and venomous stingers would retreat in horror.
The cradle of the angst? A video emerged of bodaboda riders behaving like the 9th century Danes and Vikings on a raid. They were so barbaric even Ragnar Lothbrok and his Kattegat army would cringe with disgust.
It did not help that they were harassing a woman in the month dedicated to women worldwide and at a time when we are nearing elections (politicians pretend to care about rights during this period).
The culprits, who I understand have been arraigned and detained, deserve the punishment that law enforcers would deem fit. That is a cinch. Like any other lawbreaker should.
The crux of this article is however the blanket harassment and condemnation of the entire industry. Fact is, the bodaboda Industry is God-sent. Where do I start? That it has provided employment opportunities for millions of mostly men folk? Let me break it down further for some of the shouting simpletons. As of 2021, there were 219, 295 thousand inmates in Kenyan prisons. 90% of these numbers are male, go to statista.com.
The government claims most are in cells or jails on account of alcohol-related crimes, followed by sophisticated crimes like terrorism, extremism or radicalization, cybercrimes and hackings – and the numbers keep soaring.
I am petrified to imagine the number of men who would be in jail if they had not been kept busy riding bodaboda. Let me shock you further, days when bodaboda riders were illiterate degenerates are long gone. The industry is now filled with educated folks, with Diplomas, Degrees and even Masters but cannot find employment in this regime of ‘Tumetenga, Tutafanya.’
What they earn is a paltry Ksh300 in a day, yet they grapple with harassment from motorists as well as government bureaucracies.
Politicians have been known to take advantage of their meagre earnings and weaponized them against opponents or to fill rallies.
A keen integration of facts places them as victims of an innately inept government that in my kizungu mingi, I would have referred to as a kakistocracy. One that is run by incompetent leaders who have failed its youth through and through.
And can I mention how convenient they are? Especially to folks upcountry who had to walk long distances like nomads just to run errands? In the city, they are couriers who deliver goods in record time as well as how they help us beat the traffic.
I dare you dear reader, don’t you know of a single decent, bodaboda man just fending for his family?
Now when a few miscreants decided to act like the perverts they are, the administration has turned pernicious and vindictive to an entire industry that has 2.4 million riders. These are Kenyans grappling to eke a living like any other Kenyan post-pandemic. Pray tell, are all these over 2 million Kenyans horrendous miscreants who should be torched on the stake?
Every industry has rogue elements, weed them out. But Kenyans should cut the rest of bodaboda riders risking their lives every day some slack. Our enemy and animosity should be directed towards poverty. Not each other.
Get in touch with Aoko Otieno via: [email protected]
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are the writer’s. They do not necessarily reflect views of K24 Digital or Mediamax Network Limited.