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Lawless ‘Boda Boda’ Riders Irk Deputy Speaker Zungu: ‘I’m Disappointed’

While some have praised boda boda’s existence, which means drivers’ employment and affordable transportation to passengers, others have expressed concerns about safety and sustainability.

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Dodoma. Motorcycle taxi drivers in Tanzania, commonly called boda boda, risk losing their support in Deputy Speaker of Parliament Mussa Azzan Zungu, who said on Monday their carelessness of traffic laws “disappoints” him. 

Mr Zungu, who doubles as Ilala MP (Chama cha Mapinduzi – CCM), expressed displeasure at the behaviour of the people providing the cheapest and quickest means of transportation during a discussion in the parliament. 

It followed a question by Shaurimoyo MP (CCM) Ali Juma Mohamed, who wanted to know the government’s measures to address the problem.

“The boda boda issue is the most challenging of all,” Mr Zungu noted. “It is more so when it comes to abiding by established traffic laws and regulations. I’m a big supporter of boda boda, but how they behave on roads is disappointing.”

Boda boda operations in Tanzania have always been a divisive and emotionally charged issue. While some have praised their existence, which means drivers’ employment and affordable transportation to passengers, others have expressed concerns about safety and sustainability.

READ MORE: Getting Ahead or Getting Exploited?: Here Is How We Can Make Bodaboda, Bajaj Driving in Dar Better

While it cannot be denied that thousands of Tanzanians have been able to make a living by working as boda boda drivers, thousands have also died or suffered permanent disabilities due to boda boda, including drivers, passengers and even pedestrians.

For instance, the Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute (MOI) told The Chanzo in July 2022 that it receives an average of six boda boda accident-related patients daily. But in January 2024, MOI told Mwananchi newspaper that the number had shot from 20 to 26.

Most of these accidents have been attributed to drivers’ refusal to abide by established traffic laws and regulations, with most of the drivers reported to know very little about the laws that regulate them as users of motorcycles.

This is the reason why the government and the police in various parts of Tanzania have prioritised the provision of road safety education to boda boda drivers with the hope that that will reduce boda boda-related accidents in the country. 

READ MORE: Twenty-Five Years of Struggle: Transport Workers And the ‘Rights of the Wretched’ in Neoliberal Tanzania

On Monday, Deputy Home Affairs Minister Jumanne Sagini told the parliament that education would be accompanied by actions against boda boda drivers caught violating established traffic laws and regulations.

“We’ve been bringing boda boda together to form associations because they simplify awareness campaigns on road safety,” Mr Sagini said of people the government decided to call ‘transportation officers’ to recognise them.

 “We believe this will help them understand road safety laws and eventually reduce accidents,” he added.

Boa boda driving and its associated safety concerns have become political recently, with politicians from opposition parties and those from the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) clashing over the legitimacy and necessity of boda boda driving.

In March last year, for instance, a senior leader of the opposition party, CHADEMA Godbless Lema, stirred a debate in the country after describing boda boda driving as a “curse” by referring to accidents and loss of lives that it has been associated with. 

READ MORE: Report: Tanzania Has the Largest Number of Electric Vehicles in East Africa

People, including high-ranking officials from CCM and leaders of boda boda associations, heavily criticised Mr Lema for his remarks, noting that driving boda boda is as legitimate a job as others, demanding he retract his statement. 

Mr Lema chose to stand with his statement.

Mr Lema thinks Zungu’s remarks on Monday have vindicated him, writing on X, formerly Twitter, that he was grateful that senior officials within CCM have finally started feeling sorry for boda boda drivers. 

Jackline Kuwanda is a Dodoma-based The Chanzo correspondent. She’s available at

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