Boda Boda operators have committed to embrace peace and shun violence ahead of next year’s polls.
The riders made the pledge Monday during an empowerment forum on promoting peaceful coexistence ahead of the 2022 general elections organised by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) in Nairobi.
NCIC Chair Samuel Kobia acknowledged that the over 1.4 operators across the country are a force to reckon with noting that their involvement in the promotion of peaceful coexistence within the election cycle is critical.
Dr. Kobia regretted that the operators had allowed themselves to be used to cause mayhem during elections.
“We call on all boda boda riders and Kenyans, in general, to refuse to be used as goons for hire. Turn down senseless offers from politicians and their cohorts to be used as amplifiers of hate messages and executors of violence”, urged Kobia.
“It is sad that the operators have often been considered a group of violent rogues in a sector that has on been out of control” he added.
The commission warned it had widened its net and would not spare anyone spreading hatred.
“ As a commission, we call on all boda boda and Kenyans, in general, to refuse to be used as goons for hire……turn down senseless offers from politicians to be used as amplifies of hate messages and executors of violence. I warn that those who will be tempted to go in that direction that our enhanced capacity means we will catch up with them, and they will face the full force of the law” said Kobia.
During the function, the NCIC, Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government and the Bodaboda Safety Association of Kenya signed a political decency and peace charter.
Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho said the government will pull all stops to promote peace and cohesion during the election period.
“I urge all members of the sector to say no to political hooliganism and choose to build our country as patriots. I challenge you to realise that being associated with the siege mentality, impunity, and disorderliness is a derogatory insult” said the Interior PS.
This is as the association’s national chair Kevin Mubandi called on members to avoid being negatively influenced by the political class and instead make informed decisions.
“We are under pressure from the political class to use the sector as a means of violence in 2022. We assure you that we will not yield to their demands,’ Mubadi pledged.
NCIC has embarked on a countrywide campaign dubbed #ElectionsBilaNoma to curb violence in the run-up to and after the 2022 polls.