Boda bodas operating inside Lamu Old Town to be charged

A street in UNESCO listed Lamu old town. PHOTO/ FILE.

Lamu, KENYA: Boda boda operators who shall be found operating inside the Lamu Old town will now be arrested and charged in a move aimed at protecting the Old Town as a heritage site.

Lamu old town was listed by Unesco as a World Heritage Site in 2001.

There has been concerns over the rising trends of westernization, for example in architecture, dressing and trading, in the town with the most recent one being use of boda boda for transport instead of donkeys.

Conservationists feel that this may result into the town being delisted as a heritage site.

However, a meeting convened by the County government of Lamu in coordination with stakeholders from the departments of tourism, trade and culture on Thursday agreed that minimizing and restricting boda boda operations in the Lamu Archipelago would serve to preserve the old town while at the same time allowing the operators to pursue their livelihoods.

The town currently holds atleast 200 boda boda operators.

Speaking in Lamu town on Thursday, County Tourism Executive Member Dismas Mwasambu said the boda bodas will only be allowed to operate on the outskirts of the old town and not all over as has previously been the norm.

The old town is made of small alley ways that only allow movement by donkeys or foot.