Friday, April 1, 2011


I have seen a number of victims of boda boda (commercial motorist riders), what is common with these fellows is that when they cause accidents, the first thing they do is run away as fast as possible hence leave their victims to the mercy of other people. The most recent example I am aware of is a lady working with the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, 2nd floor Ministry of Finance Headquarters. This one met her fate as she approached Charm Towers. The boda cyclist knocked her down, the woman sustained broken limbs and is still nursing her broken arm. The victim on being knocked had her bag thrown and contents were left to the mercy of those who were passing-by. She immediately got a back out, and those who rescued her only had to come up with a hospital within the city where to take her. At Case Clinic is where she found herself when she re-gained. The motor cyclist run away but this lady is going through a lot of inconvenience which she is bound to suffer for not less than 6 months!
Why then should the powers that be leave the reckless boda cyclists go away when they cause serious problems to unsuspecting members of the society? I wish to put my proposal to Hon. Erias Lukwago. It is true, boda riders may be among those who supported you to get the vote of Lord Mayor, but service delivery is what any worth city is expected of. One of the problems is the boda cyclists. They are an inconvenience that has to be properly regulated. Many places where people would pass conveniently have the boda cyclists parked there. They are always in a hurry which is the basic reason that they are involved in accidents. The way forward is 1st to see regulations in place and properly followed. These should include a monthly levy to a Collection Account to help victims of their recklessness. This will go a long way in helping those who get accidents which would have been avoided. The reckless riding must be checked. Why should these fellows always be in a hurry? Why overtake everywhere?
William Kituuka Kiwanuka

You cannot visit Kampala and miss the passenger motorcycles dubbed boda boda taxis manoeuvre through busy traffic at unbeatable speeds on pavements, past pedestrians and sometimes through busy markets and stalls.

Written by Moses Mugalu
Thursday, 29 October 2009 03:45
After the riots, Police boss Sorowen met boda boda leaders and told them not to mix business with politics.
Remember presidential candidate Yoweri Museveni sitting on a boda boda on his way to Kololo Airstrip for his nomination in the 2001 elections? In opting for a boda boda ride, instead of the usual presidential motorcade, Museveni’s campaign strategists wanted to sell their candidate as a common man’s candidate, and the strategy worked.
Three years before (in the 1998 Kampala mayoral elections), NRM strategists had watched as Nasser Ntege Sebaggala used the boda boda to such good effect. He ended up trouncing NRM leaning candidates Christopher Yiga and Wasswa Birigwa.
But Museveni’s dramatic ride on a boda boda proved to be key to winning over the cyclists who now became pro-NRM and went on to gain special attention from the President’s Office. To cement this relationship, State House moved in before the 2006 elections to help low income boda boda cyclists to get their own motorcycles and pay back in installments over two years.
The Presidential Assistant on Political Affairs, Moses Byaruhanga, supervised this scheme through which thousands of cyclists acquired TVS motorcycles.
“It’s unfortunate that most of my colleagues abused the scheme; they defaulted and the motorcycles have been withdrawn,” says Amin, one of the beneficiaries.
Boda boda cyclists are widely blamed for criminal acts, traffic jams and accidents in the city. In a bid to rein them in, Kampala City Council moved to ban them from the central business district. But those efforts were thwarted by the government, which Mayor Sebaggala now accuses of inciting the riders to rebel against city authorities.
Earlier, there was an attempt again by KCC to levy a fee on the cyclists but this too failed after they appealed to their new buddy, President Museveni.
“The problem is those who wanted to take over (the city administration) from me disorganised them. They were recruited by CMI, given pistols and went ahead to tell them ‘you shouldn’t pay anything because you are boda boda cyclists,’” said Sebaggala.

But last month’s riots in Kampala and parts of Buganda sparked by government’s decision to block Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi from visiting Kayunga District appear to have strained the relationship between the cyclists and the NRM leadership.
It was reported that boda boda cyclists were instrumental in the riots, and that almost every stage where they operate was chaotic. It was not surprisingly, therefore, when the Police decided to come down hard on the cyclists less than a week after the riots. So far, hundreds have been arrested and thousands of motorcycles have been impounded.
All major Police stations and posts around Kampala are presently brimming with the bikes.The Police say their action is precipitated by the recklessness of the boda boda riders on the roads, and lacking basic traffic requirements such as driving permits, helmets, reflectors, etc. But one of the riders’ leaders says the Police are overzealous.
“They’re doing it with excessive zeal because even if you have some of those requirements, they won’t give you a chance,” said Said Kirumira, chairman of Kampala Central Division Boda Boda Riders Association (KUBOCA). Kirumira dismisses allegations that boda boda riders actively participated in the riots.
“We were only transporting people during the riots, but we didn’t participate,” he pleads. He adds that early this year, Police Chief Kale Kayihura gave them an ultimatum to meet the traffic rules and safety standard requirements. “It’s unfortunate that the Police’s on-going operation has caught most of our colleagues off guard, but as KUBOCA leaders, we’re trying to find a way of settling the matter,” said Kirumira.
According to Kirumira, Kampala Metropolitan Police boss, Andrew Sorowen, met boda boda cyclists after the riots and advised “us not to mix business with politics”, which confirms government’s dismay at the boda boda riders’ conduct during the riots.
Kirumira said they organised a joint cleaning exercise of city streets [on Thursday, October 15], and instituted an enforcement committee to police undisciplined riders. Both initiatives would help revitalise their faltering relationship with government, said Kirumira. But some of the cyclists accuse Kirumira and his former KUBOCA enforcement officers, who were recruited into the Police as SPCs in 2007, of witch-hunting them.
“The President stopped their (KUBOCA) illegal activities of collecting money from us after the Bwaise branch reported them to him so they’re taking advantage of the current operation to humiliate us,” Amin claimed.
In 2007, boda boda riders in Bwaise successfully got the President’s attention after stopping his convey while on his way to Bombo. They told him that they were being mistreated by KUBOCA. The President immediately banned KUBOCA from collecting any money from them.
Kirumira confirms that KUBOCA was stripped of the right to collect money but insists that his executive remains committed and it’s the only recognised cyclists’ association.
“We have devised other sources of income, like registration fees charged from each new-comer at every stage, to help us operate, so we continue to fight for the interests of boda boda riders in Kampala Central,” Kirumira said.

No comments:

Post a Comment