What you need to know:
- More than 70 percent of Ugandans use boda bodas as their main means of transport on a daily basis, according to Uganda Bureau of Statistics.
Boda boda riders around the city are alleging harassment over the mandatory registration of their bikes as directed by the Works ministry.
In February, the State minister for Kampala Capital City and Metropolitan Affairs, Mr Kabuye Kyofatogabye, directed all boda riders operating within the city centre up to have registered with government by March 1. This was in a bid to reduce the number of riders operating within the city from the current 35,000 to only 4,000.
However, the registration deadline was not met and the exercise just resumed on July 1.
But speaking yesterday at a press conference organised by National Economic Empowerment Dialogue (NEED), Mr Fred Semakula, a boda boda rider who has operated in the city for the last five years, poked holes in the effectiveness of the ongoing registration exercise.
“When you go to the place where we were directed to go to register, they just give you a form to fill and you pay Shs75,000 and that’s it. There is no doctor to check your eyes or a doctor to determine your mental state [as indicated on the form],” he said. Mr Baker Senyonjo, another boda rider, claimed the enforcement officers are now using the registration drive to extort money from them.
“Most officers will grab you even by 8am, impound your bike without a valid reason and won’t let you go until you have given them at least Shs50,000,” Mr Semakula lamented.
According to Mr Semakula, the arrests are very common especially, in areas of Kisenyi, Namirembe Road and Clock Tower. Speaking at the same press conference, Mr Joseph Kabuleta, the president of NEED, claimed those who extort are merely conduits of their bosses in government. “It’s just a symptom of a bigger problem, and the officers who extort these riders are part of a whole structure that starts from the top,” he said.
More than 70 percent of Ugandans use boda bodas as their main means of transport on a daily basis, according to Uganda Bureau of Statistics.