Pan Africa Bicycle Information Network (PABIN)

Boda Boda Crackdown Leaves 6,000 Jobless
The New Times (Kigali)
November 2005
by Bosco Kalenzi

Kigali. The ongoing crackdown on boda boda operations by the police and Kigali City Council officials has left over 6,000 cyclists around the city jobless. Several cyclists expressed surprise over the recent decision by the City Council to replace the bicycles with new small motorbikes.

According to Claude Ntirabatemba, the chairman of the Kabeza Cyclist Association, the council took an abrupt decision without consulting the members on alternative employment for those who will be indirectly laid off from their employment.

"MVK had promised to import these motorbikes at affordable prices but in vain, as the current cost of Frw450, 000 per motorcycle is too high for most of us," Ntirabatemba noted.

Ntirabatemba predicted that some of the affected members may resort to unlawful activities like crime for survival. Claude Uwayezu, one of the affected cyclists at Kimironko stage, lamented that cycling has been his major source of income for five years. "I don't know what to do for my family of five members that has been surviving on my cycling job. I have never gone to school so that I manage to get white-collar job," he said.

However, traffic and government officials say the bicycles have been a major source of accidents especially around the city where they fail to abide by the traffic rules.

The decision to chase away boda bodas follows another move where they were forced to operate only on feeder roads away from the main ones.

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