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Kisumu boda boda riders pay levies after weeks of protests

Thursday June 27 2019

Kisumu boda bodas

Boda boda operators wait for passengers outside Tumaini supermarket in Kisumu on June 3,2019. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

DANCAN OKOTH
By DANCAN OKOTH
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Boda boda operators in Kisumu County have bowed to the county's pressure and started paying levies after weeks of protests.

They flocked the county's revenue office on Thursday to pay the monthly Sh500 fee.

The office reported in the morning that it had collected Sh150,000 and that this amount was expected to increase.

PARTNERS

The payments followed an intensified operation by county askaris against non-compliant boda boda transporters.

Kisumu's revenue director John Ngare said the riders had made the payments for the last two days, in line with dictates of the Kisumu County Finance Bill.

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"They are out partners, not our enemies. They, therefore, have to pay taxes. We are ready to offer them good services,” Mr Ngare said.

He directed the operators to make payments at sub-county officers to ease congestion at Kisumu City Hall.

STICKERS

Upon making the payments, the riders are given stickers that enable them to carry on with their operations.

They urged Kisumu to review the stickers' expiry dates, saying they made payments on different dates, not within the period specified in the Kisumu County Finance Bill of 2019.

“We have agreed to pay taxes but we want the stickers to expire on the same date the following year. The universal expiry of the stickers affect some of us,” said George Okoth.

The operators accused community-based organisations and their leaders for misleading them, saying the latter met county officials and reached agreements but relayed wrong information.

“Our leaders have taken bribes. We don’t want the CBO in Milimani Market Ward. They are the people misleading us,” said Mr Michael Owino, a bodaboda rider.

ULTIMATUM

A week ago, the businessmen stormed a meeting chaired by Finance executive Nerry Achar and attended by some of their officials, accusing them of betrayal.

They had vowed not to pay the daily Sh20 fee until the county government recognised their officials and initiated dialogue.

Majority of the riders in the lakeside city say the county should repair some of the roads and build them shades.

When they demonstrated, business people and the public told them off, saying they were breaking the law, disrupting order and seeking to enjoy road use without paying taxes.

They had not paid the levies since the inception of devolution and their protests resulted in delays in efforts by Governor Anyang' Nyong'o administration to effect the law.

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