Mutua bans tuk tuks and boda bodas for two weeks in war against coronavirus

Governor says social distancing crucial for residents to remain safe

In Summary

• Mutua spells out measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 among them the ban of tuk tuk and boda boda operations for two weeks.

• The operators demonstrate in the streets of Machakos town demanding that the governor rescinds the ban. 


Boda boda operators demonstrate during a past incident./FILE
PROTEST: Boda boda operators demonstrate during a past incident./FILE

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua has banned boda bodas, tuk tuks and Marutis for two weeks, to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Residents are also urged to be indoors by 7pm and not gather in groups of more than three. 

"No boda bodas, Marutis or tuk-tuks will be allowed to operate in Machakos county for the next two weeks from Wednesday, March 25," the governor said. The ban will be effected from 5am. 

Mutua at the same time waived all taxes payable by those transporters up to the end of this year.

"We cannot pretend we are keeping the required social distance and still ride on boda bodas where the separation between the rider and passenger is a few millimetres," he said. 

Social distancing is critical to avoid getting infected, the governor said noting that a boda boda rider can easily be infected and thereafter he infects hundreds of other people.

But the ban was met with protests by the riders who demonstrated in the streets of Machakos saying the governor should have consulted them before making the decision.

The chairman of Machakos, Makueni and Kitui Travellers Sacco Joseph Kioko said the ban will render the operators jobless and increase insecurity in the county.

Kioko said they will defy the ban unless it comes from President Uhuru Kenyatta.

"As much as we are trying to prevent the spread of coronavirus, we should wait for orders from the national government. These governors are taking unnecessary moves which put Kenyans at risk," he said.

The coordinator of boda boda operators in Kenya Allan Musembi asked Mutua to reconsider the ban.

Kioko asked: "Where are we going to get food, rent and other needs? How are we supposed to provide for our families?"

Mutua said he had made the decision after holding several virtual meetings with members of the Machakos County Security team, the Coronavirus Cabinet Sub-committee and other stakeholders.

Mutua also banned the sale of muguka and miraa and table pool games.

He further banned office meetings and market days. All staff meetings and departmental meetings will be conducted virtually, using the internet and social media.

Non-essential services staff will work in shifts. Chief officers were expected to have developed work shift schedules by the end of Monday.

The ban on market days will reduce movement from one town to another. "All markets will be sanitised and fumigated," he said.

Mutua urged people aged 65 and above to restrict their movement, stay home and avoid mixing with young people and children, especially those who had recently migrated from Nairobi.

Anyone who defies the ban will be viewed as an enemy of the people and a danger to society, he said.

The governor emphasised: "Matters of health are critical. The directives will be reviewed from time to time and maybe eased depending on national and county situations."  

Kioko urged the tuk tuk and boda boda operators to remain calm as a solution is found.