Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I am one of the advocates of a better Kampala city, however, I believe it is not impossible for the technical people to work hand in hand with the politicians who are the people's representatives. The Government is itself defeating the policy of decentralization. It is important for the councilors to be given their right and have the technical people come in. The speed may change but in the current situation where many people depend on daily income it becomes unfair to just chase people more over when it is the same Government that has taking advantage of laxity so as to get votes.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka


Boda boda cyclists in the city face an uncertain future. PHOTOS BY STEPHEN OTAGE.
By Andrew Bagala & Robert Mwanje (email the author)

Posted Tuesday, September 13 2011 at 00:00

In Summary
First they came for the vendors and the city streets got a little less congested. Next, officials at Kampala Capital City Authority say, are boda boda motorcyclists who have been put on notice to vacate the Central Business District as part of the efforts to bring order to city streets. A similar attempt to keep the reckless-yet-convenient boda boda riders out of the city was derailed by political meddling “from above”. Will the riders go or weave their way out of the net again?

Road usersNumberPercentage
Pedestrians 1,217 41.2
Passengers 799 27.1
Motor cyclists 512 17.3
Pedal cyclists 298 10.1
Drivers 128 4.3

Persons Seriously Injured
Pedestrians 3,908 27.6
Passengers 5,568 39.4
Pedal cyclists 1,127 7.9
Motor cyclists 2,642 18.7
Drivers 903 6.4
Persons with Minor Injuries
Pedestrians 347 20.3
Passengers 740 43.4
Pedal cyclists 209 12.3
Motorcyclists 237 13.9
Drivers 173 10.1

Source: Uganda Police Force

Efforts to get boda boda cyclists out of the Central Business District have been renewed by the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), three years since the move was blocked by President Museveni. Although KCCA authorities say they haven’t reached an official position, they are already mobilising boda boda cyclists for a general meeting expected by the end of this week to convey the “bad news”.
KCCA deputy director for physical planning George Agaba confirmed yesterday in an interview that the authority has agreed on principle to draw a plan to tackle the boda boda industry “very soon.” “We are planning to hold a meeting with boda boda cyclists very soon to agree on the next steps. For now, we have not made a final decision about the industry, but several concerns will be addressed under the new arrangement,” Mr Agaba said.
A stakeholders meeting will also soon be convened to forge the way forward, Mr Agaba added. But the meeting, which will involve police, Office of the President, Resident Capital Commissioner and KCCA, is expected to rubber-stamp their earlier position to ban boda-bodas in the city.
There are 145,000 boda boda cyclists in Kampala District, but they are not regulated and do not pay any direct levies to KCCA, yet they are accused of causing traffic mess and accidents. Another official in the KCCA executive director’s office, Mr Peter Kaujju, said they have received numerous proposals from the private sector to ban boda bodas. “We are still reviewing them,” Mr Kaujju added in a telephone interview.
In the arrangement, the cyclists are banned from passing through or park in the carved off area whose boundaries start from Wandegeya traffic lights, through Hajji Kasule Road, Makerere Hill Road to Nakulabye Trading Centre among other areas.
This issue has been has been sticky since 2007, when government and KCC officials took a decision to ban them, but President Museveni and the Inspector General of Police, Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura blocked them. The President blocked the move, claiming that the industry was a source of income for the unemployed youth.
Boda boda cyclists have managed to stay in the city without paying levies or getting thrown out of the central business district because they have over the years emerged as a critical campaign tool during elections. Kampala Central Division Mayor, Godfrey Nyakana, said other issues to be addressed include issuing identification cards and introduction of divisional number plates for easy identification and riders’ numbers.

Wasswa William, Bodaboda, Nasser Rd
“All they need to do is to put the business in order. Sometimes you get downtown and the boda boda stage is competing with pedestrians for space. Some of us have spent over 10 years in this business and we know what it means chasing us away. Will there be alternative jobs for us?”

Kakulu Sulait, Boda-boda, Railway station
“The business feeds several people because those who have stayed in this trade know that it feeds banks, the Nabugabo dealers in spare parts and the importers of the bikes pay a lot of revenue to government. So sending us away will mean that several people will be hungry.”

Okello Allan,Sales representative
“It will be a little bit inconveniencing for some of us because right now, I have had to park my car somewhere because of the traffic jam in town. It may not be a wise idea because as a means of transport, it is not confined to specific type of passengers.”

Paul Shagga, Businessman
“It will hurt many people but for the good of the city, it is the right decision. Compare Kampala to Kigali and Nairobi, these cities are decongested. It will displace people and reduce accidents. It has been handy for the business community because it helps one beat deadlines.”

Becky Nadamba Voluntary worker
“It is a good idea. Bodabodas cause a lot of accidents unnecessarily. Only those coming to town should be trained and issued licences while those without should not be allowed into the city because they snatch people’s property and ride recklessly.”

Juliet Boona Receptionist
“Yes, the city will be neat but there will be problems in its outskirts. People will be forced to go back to the village. This will increase poverty in families because the bread winners will be rendered idle. Government should consider increasing security of the people and their income.”

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