Sonko defends boda bodas, rejects insurance call

Says he will go to court to challenge proposed requirement that they have insurance for themselves, passengers and others

In Summary

• Says he will waive licence fees for Nyamakima traders whose shops were closed because their goods were held up at Embakasi depot.

• Urges leaders to protect interests of low-income earners.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko rides a boda boda to Pumwani Police Grounds to celebrate Madaraka Day on June 1, 2019.
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko rides a boda boda to Pumwani Police Grounds to celebrate Madaraka Day on June 1, 2019.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has said boda boda operators should not be required to buy accident insurance.

Speaking on Saturday in Kiambu Road, the governor said that he will not support the insurance requirement proposed by Treasury CS Henry Rotich in the 2019-2020 budget. Rotich said insurance was important for road safety

Sonko was joined by Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria who also said the law would punish boda boda riders.

Both said they would challenge the proposal in court on Monday to ensure it does not become law.

Rotich proposed insurance cover for riders, passengers, pedestrians and presumably others when boda bodas are involved in accidents.

The governor called the proposal ill-advised, saying it is likely to kill the booming industry, which employs more than one million youths.

“Seventy per cent of Nairobians are low-income earners and they at times even lack money for transportation and basics needs like food. These boda bodas are what Wanjiku uses to travel when going to vote," Sonko said.

“I will support President Uhuru Kenyatta's Big Four Agenda but on the boda boda issue, we will go to court on Monday to challenge CS Rotich. We will not accept it as leaders,” Sonko said.

He urged leaders to set aside their 2022 political ambitions and focus on representing Wanjiku.

“We have forgotten ourselves as leaders. We need to look at where we have come from as a government and be the voice of Wanjiku," Sonko said.

The county boss also said that though he differs with the President on some issues, that doesn't mean he is against him.

He cited the example of theNyamakima traders who had been struggling as a result of their containers being held up at the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Embakasi.

However, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the release of all the containers when he made an impromptu visit last month

“The Nyamakima traders have been suffering and because of this, the county will waive their trade licenses for one year. This will compensate them for the time their shops had been closed because their goods had been locked in the depot,” Sonko said.

The flamboyant governor further condemned leaders who do not speak on behalf of their people who are being harassed and unfairly treated.

He said when the SGR was being built from Nairobi to Mombasa, the affected settlers were compensated but in Ongata Rongai people are having their houses and structures demolished and leaders have gone silent on the problem.

‘I appeal to all the leaders who have a mindset to be the voice of the voiceless to come together and support our people. Don’t be biased in supporting the oppressed; they need us as we need them during elections,” Sonko said.