Vet or register afresh all driving schools to eliminate ‘rogue riders’

BODABODA men make their way on a busy road.


AS you read this article, kindly put politics aside and ask yourself who is pleasing or serving whose interests when rogue motorbike riders are awash everywhere and cause the deaths of innocent Tanzanians in the name of them “being at work” and business as usual?.

In a nutshell there is madness in bodaboda industry that must be brought to a halt willynilly because we have laws and regulations which must be respected by all citizens regardless of who in the society and particularly in the roads.

Many articles have been written and people have spoken their minds that bodaboda industry, despite providing employment to the youth, is infiltrated by individuals who do not deserve to be there, but instead jails, because first they are not licensed riders by any authority, and therefore, pay no respect to human lives and instead hide there to dent the industry.

The story may be long, but drive along the roads in any urban area in the country and don’t be surprised by the bodaboda riders riding recklessly, endangering lives and overtaking left and right, and to make it worse hurl all sorts of nasty and lewd insults to you if you happen to be a female driver, cautioning them to abide by traffic rules.

These guys, to some extent, call fellow men ‘shangazi’ (aunties) who happen to remind them that they are endangering their lives and their passengers whenever they speed and crisscross the roads haphazardly without hooting or within a twinkle of an eye.

It has been their behavior that once any of them involves in a road accident with a motorist, they rush to take the law into their hands, and conclude that the latter who was on the wrong, and all of a sudden, like bees they swam and surround the motorist, what follows pray it does not involve you.

You will get harassed, called names and your car pushed around with threats to torch it that is not only annoying, but criminal. This group is quite barbaric and just relish in uncouth and violent behavior that is only found in the jungle.

It really pains to see millions of shillings in investment by private individuals going up in flames just because of unruly motorcycle taxi operator(s), who have become notorious for taking the law into their own hands, are allowed to behave that way because they are fellow citizens who should be handled with gloves and not reprimanded.

If one is doubting this article, take a ride in Dar es Salaam for instance, or just observe the way they don’t obey lollipop men and traffic police manning busy roads despite signs to all traffic including themselves being waved to wait and allow one way users to cross first.

At TAZARA 4-way highway, along Nyerere road and Nelson Mandela road, currently busy with a flyover being built, the riders are so in a hurry and recklessly and dangerously crisscross the roads despite the presence of traffic police officers manning the roads.

Actually, it is high time the police reinforced their authority on this issue and deal with these unruly fellows and their backers. These are groups of people who should not be allowed to think and guide the nation and instead told enough is enough.

Reading an article from the Citizen newspaper of a Sunday, March 12, 2017, there is a picture that says: “Data from the traffic police headquarters indicates that 7,219 people have died in motorcycle road accidents in the past nine years, leaving 35,878 with injuries.

This means that every year, between 2008 and 2016, an average of 800 Tanzanians lost their lives due to bodaboda accidents.Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, Mbeya , Coast and Mwanza regions recorded the highest number of deaths, with Dar Es Salaam leading with 999.”

It has become impossible to distinguish between pedestrians’ walk lanes and main roads because bodaboda riders are awash everywhere, risk knocking down pedestrians,and everybody see it as business as usual. Can’t they think this takeover may lead to mutations like permanently curled knuckles for hanging on for dear life?

Some are known to carry loads which are unfriendly to other road users, or pull iron rods and bars and breach traffic laws, let alone the fact that some of them are inexperience riders, spend a day or two learning how to ride, and then get into business without attending known authorized Driving Schools.

Who actually has been issuing them with licenses to man the “taxis?” The situation has become so bad that it not a secret hear of a hospital ward being reserved only for bodaboda accident victims. However, they should be sensitized to observe traffic rules and discouraged from loud unnecessary music.

The industry to many citizens, is also infiltrated by criminals who snatch bags from women, participate in organized crime and pounce on their victims knowing very well that they will escape from snarl ups of traffic jams in fast moving Indian made “boxers” and best way to address the whole chain is to vet all the driving schools or register them afresh to wipe out bad elements hiding in them.

If this can not be done, therefore, no one should mourn or have a heart-wrench seeing how young people are literally killing themselves in avoidable deaths as a result of ignorance, speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol.

Along the same vein, there should be a forced redo of a driving test to all badaboda riders, come early next year as my end year message to them as well as best wishes that only those who qualify are issued with licencesnot to murder people on the roads. In the vetting of all the driving schools, bodaboda riders “heath or sanity” should also be reviewed as a way to control accidents and avoid unnecessary deaths on the roads.

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