Boda-Boda operators in Kampala
Unregistered Boda-boda riders in Kampala Metropolitan area are on the verge of being kicked out of city centre, following the government’s announcement to start a clampdown on them soon.
In February this year, government kicked off the process of registering boda boda riders in Kampala and Metropolitan areas aimed at ensuring each has a specific stage, dress code and stage Identification card where they operate from.
All boda-boda riders within the districts of Mukono, Wakiso and Kampala were given a six-month ultimatum to register themselves in gazetted places by Kampala Capital City Authority KCCA, Municipal councils or face arrest once sighted in city centre.
On Thursday evening, the State Minister for Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs, Kabuye Kyofatogabye who was in Kira Municipality-Wakiso district, said the six months have elapsed, and the operations against unregistered riders in Kampala city centre are to commence soon by police and KCCA enforcement teams.
“The six months of registration have ended, I want to warn those boda-boda riders who thought this was a joke that this now is the time,” he said. “We have been pleading with them in vain. But I can assure you that once we start, no one will be allowed in the city center without that registration card.”
The government said the registration is intended to identify riders by their gazetted stages. Registered riders are also given training in proper road use and traffic safety, are subjected to medical tests before paying for permits, and dress in uniforms depending on their division of operation.
But some boda-boda riders, and their leaders led by Bosco Buziba from Kira municipality, say they have written to the Minister to halt such operations because many riders haven’t been registered because they are unaware about the process.
“The government wants to chase boda-bodas from the city, but most riders don’t even know these registration centres’ locations,” Buziba said. “What will happen to those riders from Jinja, Mbarara or Kamwenge, who didn’t get the training about this smart city project? The training should first be held across the country, not just three districts, and then they register slowly by slowly.”
He explains that once the government does not stop such unfair operations in Kampala they will be tempted to take a direction to stop the operations that will see hundreds of their colleagues arrested.
Emanuel Walusimbi, a boda-boda rider from Kasangati, said most of them are still blind about the said registrations. He said they will protest will all mean against such plots of chasing them out of Kampala.
Godfrey Werike, another rider at Namugongo stage, said the economic situation in country is very alarming, and government should not think of something that will see Ugandans in the boda-boda industry start dying of hunger in homes. He says more time is needed for them to be registered.
Previous attempts by the government to register boda bodas failed, having faced stiff opposition by some boda boda associations. The government also had plans to register riders postponed due to challenges posed by COVID-19.