Augustine Ruzindana

Are there toilet facilities for boda boda riders in the city?

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By Augustine Ruzindana

Posted  Thursday, May 29   2014 at  21:55

There is good news that the World Bank has approved a loan of $175 million for infrastructure in Kampala. I have pointed out before that the problem of Kampala has always been under-funding as a result of the formula for allocation of funds to then city authority, Kampala City Council, based on its status as a district, thus equating its needs to those of any of the rural districts with about the same population.

With the same funding previous town clerks used to receive, Kampala Capital City Authority executive director Jennifer Musisi would equally fail to make any difference in Kampala in terms of services rendered. $175 million is substantial money but it is still very little for the needs of Kampala as physical infrastructure, though the most visible, is not the only important area that needs attention. Like very many other roads in the city, I did not see my street road, which is in a very sorry state (its last grading a few years ago was funded by a collection from some residents along the street), on the list of roads that will be done under the World Bank funding. But this is not my concern today.

Today, I would like to identify an obvious required service that needs urgent attention. One of the most recent services that has changed Kampala and virtually all areas in the country is the boda boda transport service. This service affects most people’s lives on a daily basis. Even those who do not directly use them benefit from the service in one way or another.

The point I want to raise is not about their knowledge of the laws and rules that govern the use of roads, pavements, walkways and wherever they choose to pass. I do not want to comment on whether the riders have driving permits or not or whether their motor cycles have third party insurance. Neither am I, this time, concerned with their exploits with some of their passengers and on this score I have a personal grudge against them because one of them took my niece out of school. These are the usual concerns.

This sector, however, comprises of machines and the other important element, which are the riders, who are human beings. Their machines every now and then call at a petrol station and get fuel, they are taken to mechanics for service and repair.

The many times comments are made about the riders related to the aspect of their being prone to accidents and, therefore, they are now a significant component of hospital statistics.

But what about their human needs? I do not mean the good company they enjoy and those who hug them tightly for the sake of their dear lives. We see them stationed at their work stations every day, very early and to late hours of the night.

Have the authorities, and the public thought about the fact that these people need to go to the toilet? If so, which authority in the country has responded to this need? Can anyone answer the question as to where boda boda go for their toilet needs? Where do matatu drivers and their touts who are at stages throughout the day go for their toilet needs?

This is not a small matter. I will not say anything about traffic officers lest I stray into security matters. But I would like to see or learn of a KCCA study that may lead to the raising of funds that would create the facilities that would satisfactorily answer the questions I have raised.
Any new service sector generates needs that may require a response by one authority or another and this is one of them. This obviously applies to all urban centres in the country, but let’s start with a caring KCCA.

Mr Ruzindana is a former IGG and former MP.

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