Leaders, police lock horns over boda boda movement

Police mount checkpoints at Kabaale trading center that borders Kyegegwa and Mubende to screen travellers after President Museveni imposed a 21-day lockdown on the districts which are the epicenter of the Ebola disease. PHOTO | ALEX ASAHBA

The standoff between the leaders and the police tasked to enforce the 21-day Ebola lockdown movement guidelines will possibly be resolved by the President after the authorities refused to relax the ban on boda boda movement.

While meeting the Mubende top leadership at Mubende District Council hall yesterday, Deputy Inspector Gen of Police (D/IGP) Maj General Geoffrey Kasigazi Tumusiime clarified to the leaders that the police had no powers to have the ban on boda boda movements relaxed following a presidential directive on the same in Mubende and Kassanda districts.

“We are here to strike a mutual understanding as leaders on what is possible and what can only be adjusted by the President. We are forwarding the proposals to the higher office for action,” Maj Gen Tumusiime said.

The district leaders claim a blanket ban on the boda boda transport system in Mubende as a way of curbing the spread of Ebola has partly paralyzed activity, including school programmes and delivery of food items to the market.

“The police are reportedly confiscating all motorcycles carrying cargo, including food items. A big percentage of our people depend on motorcycles as means of transport to the gardens that are located far from their respective homes,” Ms Hope Graniya Nakazibwe, the Mubende District Woman MP, said.

"We also have school children transported using boda bodas, while many teachers ride motorcycles to their respective schools, which are several kilometers away from their respective places of residence. The police officers manning the different police checkpoints should also act humanly. When you confiscate a motorcycle carrying school children and make them walk a very long distance, we lose the sense of humanity,” she added.

“I have also noted concerns regarding some excesses among some of the law enforcers. I think we need to follow up the mentioned cases and ensure we live in harmony. It is not good to act inhumanly but we also appeal to the public to cooperate with the police. We are only here to ensure we go through the 21-day lockdown peacefully,” Maj Gen Tumusiime told the Mubende district leaders.

On Monday, the district leaders raised the same issue while meeting the Health minister, Dr Ruth Aceng, at Mubende Municipal Council Hall and in Kiruuma Sub-county.

Mr Stephen Ahimbisibwe, the Kiruuma Sub-county chairperson, revealed that many learners got stranded on Monday after the motorcycles on which they were riding were confiscated by police. 

“Our area is a hard-to-reach andsome learners move for more than 6kms to the nearby schools. They cannot trek that distance and reach school on time,” he told the minister.