DP to offer legal service to boda boda riders over curfew time

Boda bodas on Jinja Road in Kampala. A new report on improving road safety in Uganda has revealed that at least 89 percent of boda boda riders in Kampala City do not have driving permits. PHOTO / DAVID LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • In his last address to the nation on New Year’s Eve, President Museveni lifted most of the measures that had been put in place to fight the spread of Covid-19 that has ravaged the country for the last two years.

The opposition Democratic Party (DP) has pledged to offer free legal services to the boda boda riders, who were left behind in the full reopening of the economy.

In his last address to the nation on New Year’s Eve, President Museveni lifted most of the measures that had been put in place to fight the spread of Covid-19 that has ravaged the country for the last two years.

Although the President said the 7pm to dawn curfew would be lifted two weeks from the date when schools reopened on January 10, this would not apply for boda boda. He maintained that boda bodas would only operate until 6pm.

Speaking to the media during their weekly press conference in Kampala yesterday, DP spokesperson Okoler Opio Lo Amanu said reopening the economy fully means every sector is free to operate at any time.

“We have pledged to offer free legal services to the boda boda riders arrested past curfew time,” he said

Mr Opio added that the manner in which the economy was reopened as per the President’s speech is bent on isolation, targeting and persecuting those in the boda boda industry.

“For instance, it is absolute prejudice to deny boda boda riders an opportunity to work in the times when others with whom they are in the same sector are allowed to operate. Majority of Ugandans use boda bodas because they stay far from where taxis can reach,” he said.

He added: “We believe this is the time boda boda riders should fight in unison to demand that government allows them to operate fully at all times as is the case for taxis and buses.”

Mr Opio said limiting boda boda operations to 6pm is discrimination contrary to Article 21 of the Constitution.

“Boda boda riders should approach us for legal muscle. The legal department of DP is ready to cause litigation. We are only awaiting instructions from the leadership of the boda boda riders,” he said.

Article 21 of the Constitution states that “all persons are equal before and under the law in all spheres of political, economic, social and cultural life and in every other respect and shall enjoy equal protection of the law.”

In reference to the recent election of DP’s Rogers Kiyega as Makerere Business School’s (Mubs) guild president, Mr Opio said one of the party’s cardinal roles is to identify, build and nurture leaders for service in various positions and spheres in society.

“Mr Kiyega is one of such upcoming leaders under the leadership of DP. Therefore, there is no doubt that Mubs will be served diligently,” he said.

Mr Kiyega garnered 874 votes, beating his closest challenger Nimrod Kayi of the ruling National Resistance Movement, who garnered 785 votes. The National Unity Platform Party’s Valentine Ogwang came third with 694 votes.

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