Religious Leaders Demand Law Banning Muslim Women From Riding Boda Bodas

Boda boda riders at the junction of Kirinyaga and Racecourse Road in Nairobi on June 27, 2017.
Boda boda riders at the junction of Kirinyaga and Racecourse Road in Nairobi on June 27, 2017.

Muslim clerics are asking for a county by-law to ban Muslim women from riding on boda bodas.

The religious leaders who are part of the Inter-Faith Council of Clerics (CICC) and the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) argued that it is against their faith for women to ride on the motorbikes.

According to the clerics, boda boda operators flout Islamic laws and the culture and heritage of Lamu and promoted lewdness among married and unmarried Muslim women.

Undated image of Muslim women in Lamu Town
Undated image of Muslim women in Lamu Town

Further reports by the Nation noted that CICC Lamu branch chair Mohamed Abdulkadir, Lamu County CIPK chair Abubakar Shekuwe expressed concerns over the number of Muslim women seen riding motorbikes.

The leaders also raised an alarm over the number of children who have dropped out of schools to venture into the boda boda business.

“Lamu is a historical town with its own religious and cultural aspects. This town is populated predominantly by residents who profess the Islamic faith. We get irritated seeing our women and girls straddling boda bodas and exposing their body parts,” stated Ustadh Abdulkadir who was quoted by the publication.

This comes amid a tough debate on boda bodas and some of the disadvantages the industry has brought in Kenya. NTSA data showed that the motorbikes increased accidents on the roads as police also note that the industry has helped increase crime.

Crimes linked to boda boda riders are more pronounced and rampant on specific days of the month and peak in certain months according to a report by the National Crime Research Centre.

The report titled "Boda Boda Motorcycle Transport and Security Challenges in Kenya" revealed that certain months observed more criminal activities from the operators, specifically; December, April, August and January were singled out as the most prevalent in the study.

December recorded the highest number of criminal activity linked to boda boda riders while public holidays were also days that police recorded increased criminal activity.  

The report found that the root cause of boda boda motorcycle-related crimes was pervasive unemployment and idleness, poverty, drug and substance abuse, lack of/weak regulation of the boda boda sub-sector, greed and desire for quick money and weak law enforcement by the police and other law enforcement agencies.

The main perpetrators of boda boda motorcycle-related crimes were boda boda riders hired as casuals or on a commission basis, riders who hire motorcycles from owners.

An image of boda boda riders
Boda Boda operators wait for customers at a stage.
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