Lamu, KENYA: The advent of the boda-boda transport business in Lamu town has been reported to lower crime rates in the town.
The boda-boda business kicked off more than seven months ago has especially brought down cases of mugging and even reduced the number of drug users as many opt to join the business and eke an honorable living.
Since its inception, Lamu town has not allowed any other means of transport apart from donkeys in a bid to conserve the culture and heritage of the old town which was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.
Residents, however, feel the boda-boda trade has employed more youth who had previously been a threat to security due to idleness caused by lack of meaningful employment.
Many noted that incidents of theft, mugging, burglary and even cases where residents would be waylaid and robbed of their valuables had greatly reduced since the boda-boda trade came into being months ago.
Omar Yusuf of Kashmiri village said many people can now walk with ease at night without having to worry about being robbed or even murdered due to the increased number of motorcyclists operating up to late into the night.
“The boda-boda trade seems to be the solution we were waiting for.Many youths are now employed.We are aware that some of those employed on the boda-bodas were part of gangs that would waylay and rob people but now they are making a living.It is relieving.The motorcycles have literally lit up villages even at night making it hard for anyone to be attacked,” said Yusuf.
Aboud Lali says the boda-boda trade has reduced chances of radicalization as many embark on the trade to fend for themselves.
The Lamu town Boda Boda Association Secretary-General Mohamed Nassir urged the county government to expand roads or establish alternative roads for the boda-boda operators to effectively operate from the town.
“The biggest challenge here is the narrowness of the streets.The motorbikes have to really squeeze through.We want the county government to either expand these streets or set up alternative roads for us here.There is so much sand which gives a hard time when we transport our customers,” said Nassir.
Currently, there are over 100 motorcycles in Lamu town with the number growing by the day.