The campaign period is proving to be a boom for businesses in the North Rift and Western Kenya as voters cash in on candidates to make money.
Among those making a kill from the poll fever are boda bodas who are charging candidates Sh10,000 to Sh200,000 for one show.
The coordinator of Straight Generation Group, a boda boda association of reformed rustlers at Chest Township in Sigor Constituency, West Pokot County Julius Karimoi said every rider was getting Sh1,000 a day.
He said his group gets a minimum of Sh20,000 daily.
Boda bodas are a convenient means of transport, but with the campaign season, most are taking advantage of the political activities.
Mr Joel Kizito, a rider in Eldoret Town on Monday said the average most of them make daily since the campaigns began weeks ago is Sh1,000 to Sh2,000.
“A politician can come and request for the certain number of riders to accompany him or her to a function. We agree on Sh500 to Sh2,000, depending on the number of hours we will spend at the rally,” he said, adding that cost also depends on the seat one is campaigning for.
Mr Gideon Rotich, a boda boda in Kapsabet Town, said riders are usually engaged by politicians to form part of their convoys.
Mr Rotich the riders meet the politician in advance through association leaders where the amount every member gets for the number of kilometres covered is agreed on.
“For instance, we are paid Sh300 to be part of a convoy from Namgoi to any part of Kapsabet Town. The amount goes higher if the politician extends the distance,” he told the Nation on Monday.
Mr Rotich said apart from being in the convoy, some politicians engage the riders as security or in distributing campaign materials.
“We agree on the terms first before embarking on a politician’s duty. The campaign season has boosted our daily returns,” he said.
Others making a kill from the campaigns are taxi operators.
“For an MCA candidate, the fee is Sh50,000, MP and woman representative Sh100,000, governors and senators Sh150,000 and presidential Sh200,000,” Mr Kevin Kundu, the chairman of a taxi association in Bungoma said.
In Kisumu, every member of the 71,000 motorcycle operators association goes home with at least Sh1,000 daily.
The chairman of Kisumu County Boda Boda Riders Co-operative Union Nelson Odire said a politician usually fuels a machine at Sh500 and later gives the boda boda Sh500.
“Some leaders give us T-Shirts and reflector jackets bearing their portraits,” said Mr Odire.
Apart from being escorts, the riders are also used to spread politicians’ messages.
Mr Odire was, however, quick to add that politicians are the bigger beneficiaries of the symbiotic relationship because “we are their walking billboards”.
“Most cannot afford to pay for radio, TV and newspaper adverts or billboards,” he said.
He also complained that politicians rarely address issues affecting riders.
“Fortunately, Nasa leader Raila Odinga has promised to nominate a boda boda to the county assembly,” he said.
Reports by Philip Bwayo, Stanley Kimuge, Barnabas Bii, Oscar Kakai and Rushdie Oudia