Engaging in and Coping with Bribery by the Bodaboda Riders in Kisii town, Kenya

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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) | Volume V, Issue III, March 2021 | ISSN 2454–6186

Engaging in and Coping with Bribery by the Bodaboda Riders in Kisii town, Kenya

Joseph Ouma Oindo
Tangaza University College

IJRISS Call for paper

Abstract: This survey was done under the context of the researcher’s experience of an encounter with Kisii County askaris/traffic marshalls demanding a bribe from the researcher in order to be allowed to proceed to the Kisii town’s Central Business District (CBD) while on a motorcycle. This background, therefore, provides the researcher with the motivation to explore how bodaboda/motorcycle riders in Kisii town engage in and cope with bribery. The study utilized exploratory research design while taking Grounded Theory approach to extract data from 100 bodaboda riders in Kisii town. By means of thematic analysis the findings showed that bribery is common among bodaboda riders and bribery amount is moderated not by the respondents’ demographic characteristics – educational level, marital status, gender – but by social interaction or ethnicity which determines whether a rider belongs to the inner circle or outer circle.

Key Words: Corruption, Bribery, Bodaboda riders, Askaris, Ethnic Affiliation, Insider, Outsider


The use of motorcycles as a preferred means of public transport has been significantly attributed to the fact that it offers certain transport advantages in the form of easy manoeuvrability, ability to travel on poor roads, and demand responsiveness. As a result, motorcycle transport has become one of the most affordable types of transport in various parts of the world (Luchidio, Kahuthia & Gatebe, 2013; Porter, 2014).
In the 1960s bicycle taxis were used to take people and their luggage between Uganda’s border posts with Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda (because they took people from ―Border to Border they became known as ―Bodabodas). Their use gradually spread throughout Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya. During the 1990s riders started to use motorbikes instead of bicycles, and the name ―Bodaboda was used for them too.
In Kenya, currently the bodaboda transport system has spread to other parts of the country and is a common mode of transport across the country. The bodaboda transport sector is currently dominated by a majority of youthful population whose academic qualifications ranges from primary, secondary and university levels.
However, worldwide transport systems have always been riddled with allegations of corruption in the form of bribery running into millions of dollars. For Transparency International (2018), corruption avenues in the traffic sector involves payment of bribes where drivers give cash to traffic