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Why it could take longer before bodaboda heed govt directive

Caption: Bodaboda riders waiting for their customers at the stage, in Bissil town. Photo | Albert Lemomo | Kajiado Star

Kajiado cyclists have argued that their revenues have plummeted hence are unable to purchase the face masks as required by the government

By Albert Lemomo

A section of bodaboda riders in Kajiado have blamed hard economic realities and exorbitant prices for their adamance to heed to government’s directive to wear face masks as they go about their daily business.

Recently Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe while addressing media said: “To protect boda boda riders, we will now require them to carry one passenger to maintain a distance, and both to wear masks.”

In addition, the riders are also supposed to provide hand sanitizers to their customers, as the government intensifies it’s fight against the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, that has so far, according to the Ministry of Health claimed three lives and 110 other people confirmed positive.

The CS then tasked their association leaders to ensure that the recommendations are adhered to.

However, a spot check by the Kajiado Star, in various towns including; Kajiado, Bissil and Namanga, revealed that a majority of the cyclists are yet to comply with the directive, arguing that their business has grossly plummeted following a reduction in people’s movement as a majority of the residents are now staying indoors.

Hassan Omar, a boda boda rider based in Namanga town told this publication, “We do not have the [financial] capacity to purchase the masks everyday, given that they are not reusable, and we are facing financial constraints.

He added that: “Our business is perhaps the most affected, moreso by the recently imposed dusk-to-dawn curfew, that has restricted our operation time, and thus making it hard for us to hit our targets from which we be able to remit our routine Ksh300 to the motorbike.”

Eric Ouma, also a rider, said the government should offer free mask to cater for some of his colleagues who are genuinely unable to purchase them.

“The government should utilise the Ksh6 million it received from the World Health Organisation to protect its citizens by providing them with hand sanitizers, face masks and gloves,” he said.

Their views were corroborated by the Kajiado Central bodaboda association chairman Fredrick Risa, who said that his members are unable to purchase the masks for themselves and their customers, due to the prevailing economic hardships.

He said that since the outbreak of the Covid-19, his association has held two meetings with the members which were aimed at sensitising them on the importance of undertaking safety measures.

In the aftermath of the two meetings, he reported, that his members have resolved to improvise the sanitizers by using bottled water and liquid soap instead of the expensive ones sold in shops.

He further said that the government should also consider reducing fuel prices.

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