Mission
KTBMWA sets to unite and represent a safe and professional Bodaboda industry.

Vision
To be the link of choice because we reach were no other can reach.
Kenya Tuktuk Boda-Boda Motor Bike Welfare Association ( KTBMWA )was formed in 2009. KTBMWA is an
umbrella for all Tuktuks, Motor Bikes and Bodabikes and is registered under the Societies Act in the Kenyan laws. The
objective of this organization is to give transporters a forum within which they can air their grievances to various
ministries within the Kenya Government.

KTBMWA seeks to instill safety, discipline and professionalism in Tukbodabikes and to provide a single, authoritative
voice on issues of importance regarding road transportation. KTBMWA brings together transporters with varied
backgrounds to continuously assist them meet their needs. It has a membership of over 186,256 who are in various
saccos in Kenya and employs in excess of 200,000 people directly.

The objective of this association is to give Tukbodabike a forum within which they can;
1. Promote safety and professionalism within the transport industry in Kenya
2. Promote self-regulation within the industry
3. Conduct forums for joint negotiation with relevant stakeholders
4. Enhance the viability of tukbodabikes as a business
5. Enable tukbodabikes to contribute positively to nation building
6. Promote environment-friendly riding and driving
7. Seek close liaison with relevant government departments.
8. Seek close liaison with similar private-sector organizations that add value to our members.

Pictorial
Copyright © 2011 Kenya Tuktuk Bodaboda Motor Bike Welfare Association. All Rights Reserved.
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As the National Umbrella for
TukTuk Motorbike Bodaboda in Kenya.
Motorcycle Safety on behalf of the
Kenya Tuktuk Boda-Boda Motor Bike Welfare Association
it gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the all new national
'TukBodaBike Safe'
Beaver House, 1st Floor,
Opp Ambassadeur Hotel, Rm 3
Email: tukbodabike@gmail.com
Email: info@tukbodabike.com
website:http://www.tukbodabike.com
Chairman: Dr Stephen Muketha
Cell: +254714130655, +254733666358
Latest News
The Kenya Tukbodabike association members would like you to help us assist our members to buy reflectors and helmets to reduce road accidents and protection.
SUPPORT to buy reflectors and helmets to reduce road accidents
YOUR DONATION IS MUCH APPRECIATED
BANK ACCOUNT / MPESA ACCOUNTS
KCB      A/C1124471677 KTUKTUK 
MPESA     0722234072
The Director of Tukbodabike, Dr Stephen Muketha , 4th from the right and Ms Susan Marete, the Secretary General , 5th from the right , are there to grace the arrival of His Excellency Hon Mwai Kibaki , the President of Kenya, at State House Nairobi, during a recent state function.
The Director of Tukbodabike, Dr Stephen Muketha , 2nd from the right and Ms Susan Marete, the Secretary General , 3rd from the right , together with Bishop Samual Njiriri  on the left and Mr John Paul Njiriri on the right duringthe Jamuhuri day celebrations at statehouse Nairobi.

Compliance Proposal of the Boda bodas, to Traffic Laws in Kenya

a) Every Tuktuk driver and every rider of a motor cycle shall wear a special badge and uniform. The uniform referred
to shall be prescribed by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles and shall, in the case of a driver, be navy blue
b)Every driver or rider of a motor cycle /Tuktuks shall undergo compulsory testing after every two years to ascertain
his or her competence.
c) Every owner of a motor cycle /Tuktuks shall employ at least one driver rider who shall be the holder of a certificate
of good conduct issued by the relevant authority.
d) Every rider or driver of a motor cycle /Tuktuks shall only take up employment as such upon being vetted and shall
be paid a permanent monthly salary by the owner of the motor cycle /Tuktuks
e) A person who contravenes or fails to comply with the rules shall be excommunicated from the membership.

Helmets and reflector jackets.
1. A person, including a passenger, shall not ride on a motor cycle of any kind, class or description without wearing a
helmet and a jacket that has reflectors.
2. A person who rides a motor cycle shall provide a helmet and a jacket that has reflectors to be worn by the passenger,
and shall carry only one passenger at a time.
3. Every motor cycle shall be insured against at least third party risks in accordance with the Insurance (Motor
Vehicles Third Party Risks) Act. Cap. 405
4. A helmet shall be of such shape, construction and  quality  as may, from time to  time, be prescribed by the Minister
by notice in the gazette.
5. A person shall not ride a motorcycle unless that person has a valid driving license issued in accordance with the
Government of Kenya
6. For the purpose of riding, “ride” means to operate, manage or to be in control of a motor cycle.
7. A person who contravenes or fails to comply with the law commits an offence and is liable to a fine, imprisonment

Driving/Riding On pavements, under Alcohol Influence etc.
1. No motor cycle /Tuktuk shall, in order to avoid a buildup of traffic on a road, be driven on, or through, a pavement,
a pedestrian walkway or a petrol station, as the case may be.
2. A person who, when driving or in charge of, or during any period of duty in connection with the driving of, a motor
cycle   /Tuktuks,   drinks   any   intoxicating  liquor   commits   an   offence   and  shall   be  liable,   upon   conviction,   to
imprisonment
The Committee members also felt the need to professionalize the industry and create a positive image of KTBMWA and
its membership among stakeholders including the Government. This will be achieved by instilling discipline and
professionalism in the industry through having an industry code of conduct. However, KTBMWA is faced by the
challenge that not all Boda bodas are its member as well as a high membership turnover. It is then incumbent upon the
Management to create a positive image and clearly deliver unique benefits to the members in order to attract and retain
membership. Again this will lead to increased recognition by the Government and its agencies.

H.E The President of Kenya, Hon Uhuru Kenyatta, the forth president of the republic of Kenya, sited on a motobike, talks to members of Kenya tukbodabike Association during a recent familiarisation tour to learn the problems that face the industry and to get a first hand experience from the operators and also to see how they can easily accesss loans to finance their aquisition of new motobikes.   
Ntungamo Town Clerk dies in Bodaboda accident
Publish Date: Jul 17, 2013
By David Mugabe

The Ntungamo municipal council town Clerk was last night crashed to death in a tragic accident involving a bodaboda and an oncoming car.

Denis Egwel was on a bodaboda motorcycle on his way to his home in Naalya. The motorcycle was branching slightly opposite Naalya S.S. when they were run down by an oncoming car.

The oncoming speeding car skidded but failed to break crashing Egwel and the rider who remains in a critical condition in Mulago. Egwel was rushed to a nearby clinic but his condition detoriated and was later taken to Mulago where he succumbed to the injuries later last evening

Egwel is the latest victim in one of the most dangerous transport means in the country that remains unregulated even after claiming thousands of lives and causing countless injuries to passengers and riders.

By Tuesday night tributes poured in on social media for a young man who not only has scaled the ladders in public service within a short time with no blemish on his record but had traversed the country and the continent offering his service.

The Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has recently spoken of moving in to contain and regulate the bodaboda operations which is not only dangerous to other road users despite its being a handy mode of transport in a congested city with narrow roads.

But no practical action has been taken with the service also being used as a political tool.

Posted  Wednesday,
July 17   2013 at  01:00

In Summary
Tough times. Upcountry police officers find it easier to get involved in other income generating activities, compared to their counterparts in the city.

Husbands hiring boda-boda men to escort their wives for antenatal services
Publish Date: Jul 12, 2013
newvision
By Paul Watala
Kibuku district health officer, Dr. Ahmed Bumba as disclosed that men in Kibuku district have started hiring Boda-Boda men to escort their wives for Antenatal services for fear of being subjected to an HIV/AIDS tests.
Dr. Bumba made the disclosure on Wednesday at Kadama sub county grounds where he was addressing the residents and leaders of Kibuku district on performance of the health sector.
"Good number of pregnant mothers have been forced by their husbands to come with different men for antenatal services. Their husbands hire Boda-Boda men at a cost ranging for sh500 to sh5000 whenever they go for the services," Dr. Bumba said.
He said that Kibuku men use their wives HIV/AIDS status to also determine their own HIV/AIDS status, adding that some mothers who test HIV positive also do not tell their husbands for fear of being battered.
Dr. Bumba added  that outpatient attendance has increased in the last 3 years where by in 2010/11 167,548 visited medical facilities, 2011/12 were 174,523 and in 2012/13 so far 181,594 have visited health Centers seeking for medical attention.
"Most of the patients we see at OPD are children and mothers, very few men seek services from our facilities. This trend is not peculiar to Kibuku alone but also the rest of the country. We call upon men to seek help rather than self-medicate and only come to us when they are severely sick," Dr. Bumba said.
He also explained that in 2010/11 7987 mother visited antenatal services but only 2388 delivered under medical personnel attention, 2011/12 7553 mother attendant antenatal services but only 3387 delivered in health centers while in 2012/13 8018 mothers attended but only 3291 have delivered.
"Although we see many mothers attending antenatal first visit, the 4th visit attendance and health unit deliveries are few and this means that over 5000 mothers have given birth at home or under attention of Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) in the last 3 years." Dr. Bumba said.
He said despite the fact that there is no accurate documentation of how many mothers die due to pregnancy related complication, the department is certain that many mothers die at home, on the way to health facilities or at TBAs.
He said that the district is putting in strategies to improve performance, adding that it can only succeed with the support from the husbands and fathers.
Bumba however said that department has also got tremendous achievements that include recruitment of health workers by government, steady restocking of drugs, completion of construction of Nalubembe and Lyama health centres among others.
Bumba said there are plans for non-monetary motivation of health workers and supervision team set up at the district health office to fight absenteeism and late coming of staff.
He appealed to the government to redesign and construct health centre fours starting Septembers 3013, adding that local leaders get to the front line in encouraging men to escort their wives for antenatal services.

Police Worried over Crime Involving Taxi and Bodaboda Motorists
Thursday 18th July, 2013 on Uganda News Picks

By Mildred Nambi Commissioner of Traffic in Kampala City Lawrence Niwabiine has expressed concern of increased crime involving boda boda and taxi motorists. He says boda boda riders and taxi touts are known to use foul language, steal handbags from ladies and commit all manner of traffic offences. Niwabiine claims that once faced with law, the operators resort to boycotts and strikes, which amounts to hooliganism.
He has called on local authorities to team up with traffic and ministry of works and transport to restore sanity in city public transport to stem the number of accidents....

A young man was found dead by a roadside today morning and his motor cycle stolen by who the police believe is a passenger he was taking home.

Stephen Kamau Wanjiru, 27, a boda boda cyclist in Nyeri town, was found dead along Nyeri - Gatatha road near Gatatha coffee factory in the outskirts of Nyeri town.

According to Nyeri OCPD, Kirunya Limbitu, police received information from members of the public that there was a body lying by the roadside.

Police from the Nyeri Police station visited the scene and established that he was hit with a plunk of wood that was still at the scene.

The OCPD promised to get to the bottom of the matter and said that the criminals will finally be apprehended.

Kamau's body was removed at the Nyeri Provincial General Hospital awaiting postmortem.

Meanwhile, boda boda cyclists have called upon the police to beef up security in the outskirts of Nyeri town by increasing daily patrols all over the County.

They said that security is mainly concentrated in Nyeri town, forgetting the outskirts, making a haven for notorious gangsters that have been terrorizing them.

They said that Kamau was an ever jovial man, well known, and had never been at cross-roads with any person, therefore eliminating rumors that he was murdered as a result of previous confrontations with any person.
Boda Boda operators complain about Harassment
29 February 2012, Dr Stephen Muketha of Tukbodabike

Bodaboda operators in Nakuru Town have expressed discontent in what they termed as constant harassment by the council workers.
Speaking to journalist yesterday in Nakuru town,the bodaboda operators said that, for a very long time they had to put up with the harassment of the town council of being over change in parking fee and their motorbikes being held-up for days.
The motorbike and bicycles riders termed the sh.500 charge imposed by the Nakuru council per month as being exploitative practice, adding that the current living cost is high and such they can not afford the required amount of the money at the end of the month. 

"Recently, the council workers took away our bicycles on the  grounds that we had parked on a non designated area for motorcycles and had no licence.we were charged Sh.4,000 for its release,"said a disgusted Martin Mwangi,a bicycle operator in Nakuru town.

The operators said in addition to that, the Municipal council has imposed discriminative by-laws which restrict them from ferrying their passengers to certain points in the town.

"This has further aggravated our woes as taxis and motor-cycle operators take advantage of us on the availability of customers," added Eric Waigwa,a motor-cycle operator.

The concerned operators added that insecurity had greatly surged in the area.With the deteriorating situation, they are now forced to wind up their operations as early as 7 p.m instead of 10 p.m.


The operators cited the areas of Bondeni,Milimani,Karuga,Racecourse,Kaptembwa and Rhonda as the worst hit by the ever increasing wave of insecurity.

They urged the council to subsidize the parking fees so that they can cope with the escalating rise in the cost living.

Moreover,they said that they should also be considered in the recent proposal by the council to give small loans to the beggars in the town to start small businesses. They attributed this to the meager income they earn from their businesses due to constant harassment by the council.

They further urged the government to intervene to improve security levels in these areas.
After many years of strenuously rocking his bodaboda bicycle to earn a living, Wycliff Okumu, a resident of Lutaso village in Bungoma South could afford a radiant smile transpiring a promising future after receiving a shoal of mudfish fingerlings to venture into fish farming.

Okumu had been struggling to earn a living and hoped that one day his dream of venturing into a less strenuous business would come true. As he narrates about the less paying bodaboda business, he remembers how he has been going home so tired amid the hungry children to feed and parents to support.


It was then not until 2009 that the Ministry of Fisheries introduced the less costly fish farming programme to consider other the unemployed and potential small scale farmers.

The Bungoma District Fisheries office quickly took the advantage of the conducive geographical condition to initiate the programme.
The locals were educated on fish farming and encouraged to set up ponds because it was an affordable type of farming compared to other expensive cash crop farming like sugarcane, coffee among others.

The Ministry had to provide farmers with supplementary feeds and fingerlings free of charge. Okumu then had no interest to practice fish farming although he dug ponds for farmers. However, when he realized that the maturity period of fingerlings was as short as 2 to 3 months, he made up his mind.

"I had no interest in fish farming but after sometime, Irealized how beneficial it was to farmers I had been digging ponds for. Their lives were changing rapidly and this challenged me to also start," he reckoned.

Without hesitation, he began to construct a pondat the riverside on his twoacreage piece of land and after inspection by officers in charge; he registered for provision of fingerlings and feeds at Bungoma District Fisheries office.

It was not long when the ministry of fisheries disbursed a shoal of fingerlings to the region for farmers and him as one of the beneficiaries of a thousand fingerlings   to start the farming. "I had been waiting for these fingerlings to start fish farming and I am happy for having been given. I have not paid any single coin and I urge others who have interest in the farming to decide fully," he said excitedly and gently holding his mudfish fingerlings across his chest in a perforated nylon bag.

Mr.Kiarie Kahareri, the Bungoma District Fisheries Officer said that since the introduction of fish farming in the region, a total of 2650 ponds have been established and over 2200 farmers have benefited. The encouraging response of farmers in fish farming has contributed to high productivity.

Farmers have always been trained on pond management and organized educational workshops giving them chance to interact with other farmers from various regions.

Mr. Kahareri said that fish farming is the cheapest venture sponsored by the government requiring a potential farmer to establish a pond then register at the District Fisheries Office for free fingerlings and supplementary feeds.

"Fish farming is easy to manage compared to any other form of farming and can be operated anywhere not only around swampy areas or riverbanks but also at residential homes by draining water from boreholes and roof catchment," Mr. Kahareri said.

In five constituencies of Bungoma County, a total of 25 ponds have been established in institutions like Bumula Health Centre, Sang'alo Teachers' Training Institute, Kimaeti Secondary and Cardinal Otunga Girls' High School to enhance growth and consumption of fish.

As noted by Mr. Kahareri, fish farming is not just for consumption and earning income but has other significant importance. For example,it reduces pressure exerted on our lakes by fishermen; fish is medicinal for healing cancer, protein digestion deficiency and reducing aging. Fish is also a good indicator for aquatic pollution, a filtration agent on water used for human consumption.

In any business activity, there are challenges one has to encounter. Dry seasons, fish poisoning, pond mismanagement, theft and negative cultural beliefs are challenges experienced in fish farming and can be overcome  through awareness on fish farming and pond management.
Mr. Kahareri pointed that there is a ready market for fish both locally like hotels, schools, hospitals and externally through government's support by providing efficient fish processing plants equipped with modern storage facilities.

He appealed to the locals to take the initiative of practicing fish farming to better their lives at this tougher economic time.
"I urge potential fish farmers to start invest in the farming because it is a profitable and affordable activity for both small scale and large scale farms. Feeding is also not a problem since fish can also be fed on available materials like ants, vegetables, sweet potato vines, animal blood and cow dung casted in ponds to increase growth of natural plants," Mr. Kahareri said frantically.

If you have no business to venture in or looking one to carry out? Then try fish farming to improve your living standard and brighten the future of your children.

Physically challenged Bodaboda ride
30 May 2012, Dr Stephen Muketha of Tukbodabike
Physically challenged people mostly who are in dire need of help have in the past taken to the streets, begging for assistance from well-wishers who usually drop a coin or two to help them out.

But, for Macharia Ngure whose left hand was chopped off, he vowed not to ask for any ones help but take it upon himself to move on with his life.

Macharia Ngure, is a father of three and a plumber by profession, says that he vividly remembers that one Saturday afternoon on February of last year, while busy preparing a nappier grass to feed the dairy cattle's of where he was employed when that dreadful incident took place that changed his life.

"I remember that one busy Saturday afternoon while preparing feeds for the animals when all over a sudden my left hand was chopped off by the cutting grass machine and that's when I knew my life would not be the same" said Ngure while looking in disbelief at his remaining hand that was chopped off.

The soft spoken Ngure, says that it was by chance he was able to survive that unforgettable awful ordeal of losing his hand since he was the only person at home at that particular time of the incident, as his employer was at work.

All he can remember before he lost consciousness was blood dripping and a pain that scampered through his spine.

After he recovered, Macharia was left speechless after he learnt he was saved by a 8 year old boy (James) from the neighborhood saved him after calling neighbours when he saw Macharia lying down helplessly.

"James Macharia remains my hero and I thank him for my life because if it was not for him I would have met with my maker on that day" said Macharia.

Ngure is quick to admit that, life at the beginning was a bit challenging since his family and friends stopped seeing him as the man he used to be but rather started taking him as a physically challenged man who can only eat and sleep the whole day without doing anything of great importance.

He adds that, even his professional life as plumber was greatly affected by his chopped hand since there was no client who was ready to trust him with any plumbing job, all in fear of not being able to deliver the services.

"When I came out of the hospital after spending 3 months there, it was a bit of challenging to me because every person kept on feeling pity for me and others referring to me as the disable and even to some of my friends they never used to discuss anything concerning with plumbing work while am there, since they thought I would feel bad about it" said Ngure while igniting his motorbike after spotting an oncoming client towards him at the motorbike stage at Marcy Njeri center where he operates as a Bodaboda.

Little did Ngure know that, his anguish led him to an inspiration to the society. He bought a motorbike from the little money he had saved in his account, a move that marveled many and left others with dismay of how he was going to be operating it.

"After spending so many months without a stable job, I felt it was high time I deed something valuable with myself and to be employed again was not among my list of things I wanted to do and that's when I opted to buy a motorbike for BodaBoda so as to be able to put food on top of my table." Said Ngure or Mokorino as many of his clients loves to call him.

If you are thinking it was a walk in the park when Ngure bought his motorbike, then you are very mistaken about that because he says he was faced with countless number of challenges that almost made him think of selling his motorbike at one point when he felt he could not be able take it anymore.

But even with all those challenges still they did not dampen the determination and anxiety of Ngure of making it in life regardless of how people passive him as being as incapable of not being able to deliver to the expectation of people.

"Many people spoke ill about me because when I begun this Bodaboda job not many people thought I could do it but as soon I begun they all went silence." He said.

For those of you who are wondering like me how he is able to ride the motorbike, Ngure says its very easy to do it that he no longer sees it as an obstacle in attaining his money, as all he needs is to balance the motorbike when he is riding and for the acceleration he normally uses his right hand to accelerate while when applying for the breaks he presses using his severed hand.

The now well known Bodaboda man says it was also a big challenge for him whenever clients would come for some others they would accept to be carried by him while others would fear for their safety but as time passed by, Ngure says they latter come to accept him and they no longer see him as an incapable person but rather a professional in his own unique way.
The rise of the Piki Piki
By Dr Stephen Muketha of Tukbodabike
There has been a huge increase in the number of motorcycles in Kenya in recent years.   The arrival of cheap pikipikis from China,  combined with more moderate taxes and massive latent demand for boda-boda services,  has turned a market of a few hundred per year into many thousands per year.
But If you think there are a lot of bikes now, be very, very sure that you ain't seen nothing yet. We're still just getting started, with a first flush of new bikes.  Soon that will generate a local second-hand market and it won't be long before mitumba pikipikis open up a price bracket for another and even bigger socio-economic cadre.   We're in for a whole new transport (and traffic!) phenomenon.
And we can take a look at that future right now.  Many major cities in the Far East have more than a million motorcycles…each! And if you don't want to go that far to find out, then take a trip to Kampala where motorcycles are not just a major presence already - they are the dominant traffic element, both in numbers and in self-granted right of way.
My prediction for Kenya is that before the next World Cup, motorcycle imports will outnumber the volumes of all other vehicle imports put together.  And they will not only clog the roads but also rule the roads, through a system not unlike a labour union.
Up to now, bicycles and motorcycles have been regarded as second-class citizens.
Four-wheel motorists have treated them with disdain and sometimes lethal disregard.  By dint of both numbers and physical strength (a collision is a dent for one and death for the other) riders have had to get out of the way of drivers.
This status quo, combined with the incompetence and inexperience of piki pilots in the first flush of the boda boda boom, led to an horrendous casualty count for riders (visit the casualty department of the local hospital in any piki mecca  on any day and you'll see what I mean).
But as Kampala is finding out, that pattern changes when the numbers do.  The boda boda brigade becomes a brotherhood, and when one goes down the rest are on the scene in an instant to administer deterrent "justice"…often involving corporal punishment for person they decide is the culprit.  The default judgement is that it is the driver's fault, , so  now the responsibility of drivers to keep out of the way of riders.
Be in no doubt that Kenya will go the same way, as soon as the number of pikis reaches a critical mass.  Which is some places it already has, and in others it soon will.
Meanwhile, the problem of the low psychological status of a motorcycle is something that both drivers and riders must co-operatively address.
In law, motorcycles have much the same status and roadspace rights as a car, and should be treated with respect and consideration.   But the same law prohibits overtaking on the inside or driving/riding between lanes of traffic.  Neither riders nor drivers can have it both ways.
Perhaps more important than the rights and wrongs, however the balance between rights and responsibilities works out in practice, bear in mind that, in a car, if you have to slam on your brakes you might skid, you might even go off course and even hit something, like a kerb or another car.  The  probability is that nothing more than your temper, or your pride, or your wing will be dented by the time you come to a halt and the crisis is over.
If you did the same thing on a motorbike, in exactly the same situation with exactly the same consequences, you could be dead.
Both sides need to  think well on that.
Booming business for "boda boda" bikes
In the absence of vehicles and good road networks in the rural areas of Western Kenya, young entrepreneurs have started up the environmentally-friendly "boda boda" bicycle business that ferries clients from main roads to villages off the beaten track.
Dr Stephen Muketha of Tukbodabike
Obstacles, it seems, generate power. In the rural areas of Kenya, some opportunistic youth have capitalised on poor road networks and lack of vehicles to earn their daily bread. They now offer transportation on a "boda boda," a bicycle with a brightly coloured cushioned pad attached behind the seat, used for carrying one passenger at a time. Bicycle shuttle services are, in some areas, the only way of getting around.
Boda bodas have been around since 1990, when young people in Busia, a town that shares a border with Uganda, used bicycles to smuggle goods across the border. In fact, "boda boda" comes from the English word "border."
These youth quickly realised that the same bicycles they used to carry goods from Kenya to Uganda and back could also ferry people in the transportation-poor villages of Western Kenya. The mania spread its wings to neglected rural villages in the west and beyond.
With an estimated 90 percent of Kenyan roads not being paved, according to the 2001 budget report on rural development, and many roads being impassable by vehicles, the boda boda has become a versatile, quick, and reliable form of transportation.
Peter Kiilu, Commissioner for Western Province, estimates that there are approximately 200,000 people who operate boda bodas throughout the province. The boda boda industry, he says, has created employment for many youth, cutting down on social problems such as crime, promiscuity, and drug abuse.
It has also become a source of income for mostly male secondary school graduates who would otherwise be unemployed. In Bungoma District, a boda boda operator can make approximately US$2.60 (Sh200) a day after deducting the cost of lunch and repairs to the bicycle.
This wage is higher than the average earnings of most people in the area. More than 50 per cent of Kenyans earn and live on less than one dollar a day, according to the government's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper 2001. This wage, however, is generally not high enough to feed, clothe, or take care of the medical expenses of a family.
"There being scant employment opportunities, and I have to live or die, I opted for boda-boda", says 26-year-old Peter Wanyonyi, who plies from tarmac to village and back in Bungoma district. "When I finished secondary school six years ago, employment prospects were low… Doom lingered over my future and I didn't know where to fend for survival," he says.
Wanyonyi says that it is by the "grace of God" that his father gave him his bicycle and encouraged him to operate a bicycle taxi. "I'm now comfortable and can feed my two children and educate them," he says.
Twenty-year-old Henry Tibuka in Kakamega District had just finished school last year. "I knew I must look for money, but since most of my age-mates operate [bicycle] taxis, I joined them, and the struggle continues," he says. Tibuka charges approximately US$0.06 (Sh5) for every kilometre travelled. An operator cycles 50 kilometres a day on average, he says.
"When somebody has paid, you're forced to ride even in hilly places," says the sweaty Tibuka. "It is also hard riding in these ragged roads. Riding in the meandering paths is as perilous as going through a jungle; you have to be smart lest you fall down with your customer." To make the ride easier, most operators have fixed a small transistor radio onto their bicycles, cushioned the carrier, and put an alarm bell on their bars.
Business booms at the end of the year, when most people who live in cities and towns return to their rural homes for Christmas holidays.
"These boys are a blessing," says Mary Mogambi, a primary school teacher in Nyanza Province. "Formerly, we had to trek for long distances, getting late and missing important meetings. Now, it's quick service."
Boda-bodas are now a household name. They have become school vans for transporting pupils and teachers, busses for staff, and have even carried government ministers and other prominent people. It has also become the village ambulance. Says boda boda operator Wanyonyi: "When a villager gets sick, it's our obligation to wake up even late at night and find our way to the hospital, which is always located far from the village."
Boda boda drivers have the reputation of being honest and trustworthy. Some village traders entrust them with as much as US$13 (Sh1,000) - a large amount of money for the average person in this part of Kenya - to purchase goods from wholesalers in urban areas. "And they deliver," says Joel Sifuna, a businessman from Busia. "Otherwise, if it were somebody else, our money would be disappearing into the air." Sifuna has used boda-boda for over five years.
To be a boda boda operator, one must own a bicycle, which costs approximately US$39 to $52 (Sh3000 - 4000). Every village contains a boda boda association, the membership fee of which is US$6.50 (Sh500), with a daily contribution of US$0.25 (Sh20).
"This money is used for emergencies [such as] attending to a sick operator or paying for damages should our operator plunge to an accident with a client," explains boda boda operator Wanyonyi, who is also the general secretary of the Lumboka Boda Boda Welfare Association based in Bungoma district.
"When one registers," he adds, "he gets an identification card, a PIN number, and a small flag with his bicycle number. This is in a bid to put off hooligans and quacks that had infiltrated our business."
Quality control is key, says Wanyonyi. "Sometimes, an operator might be disobedient to a client. Should our offices learn of that, we trace the number and discipline the person strongly. The community has learned to demand identification before they are carried. These regulations have earned us good public relations in the community.
"Before doing that, conmen used to steal from commuters and rape female clients," he says. "It extremely soiled our reputation and we risked being banned from operation. But, we are recovering, a thing that heralds better days for us."
In the June budget he delivered in 2001, then Minister of Finance Chris Okemo exempted the purchase of bicycles from being taxed, a gesture that received an overwhelmingly positive reception by boda boda operators. Okemo, noted in his speech that bicycles are essential in rural areas, and should be made accessible to the average person.
"It is God send," commented Peter Onyango, who operates a bicycle taxi in Nyanza province. "Mr. Okemo has foresight; he himself is an ardent user of boda-boda whenever he goes to his rural area in Busia and he knows how essential our services are."
People were sceptical when boda bodas were first introduced, but now bicycle taxis are a part of life, says Enock Wafula, who rides in Lugari district. "As long as the government neglects the rural lad, taxis will reign," he says, adding that, "like the matatu [minibus] industry, we have no doubt the [bicycle] taxi will bloom to a giant indigenous industry, employing millions."
Dr. Alfred Baraza, a private clinical practitioner at Western Maternity and Nursing Home, Matunda, Bungoma, says that operating a boda boda has its medical drawbacks. "I know the boys get money, but the medical complications associated with such strenuous tasks are so wanting.
"In the first place, these people don't get a proper diet, thus their health deteriorates acutely," he says. "Due to the dusty roads and cold weather, they contact pneumonia, bronchitis, and acute flu. Some develop kidney stones as a result of the body emptying a lot of acid."
Baraza has personally diagnosed these diseases in many taxi operators. He advises them to get warm clothing during cool weather and wear masks when the road is dusty. "Also, a proper diet is quite essential and there is no compromise for that," he adds.
Prof. Job Shitanda, a lecturer in the Department of Economics at Moi University, congratulates the boda boda drivers for their ingenuity and says he thinks the boda boda industry will become "giant." "In business, we need the creativity, dexterity, and diligence clearly demonstrated by our boys. They now earn through their innovative ways. But the government should come in and provide loans, workshops, and protection so that they can expand the trade."


(From left) Bishop Stephen Maina, Dr Stephen Muketha, Bishop Samuel Njiru
(Second from left) Dr Stephen Muketha, Hon Hosea Kiplagat, Bishop Stephen Maina
(Second from left) H.E The President Of Kenya Hon Uhuru Kenyatta, Mr Hon John Mututho,  Dr Stephen Muketha
Dr Stephen Muketha and some invited dignitaries who graced the occasion