Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Boda Boda Operators have rejected the newly gazzetted stages by Kampala Capital City Authority – KCCA and said they will stick to the old ones.
These say they are ignorant about how KCCA came up with the 579 gazzetted stages out of over 3000 stages that exist in Kampala.
The operators, accusing KCCA of hijacking them with their plans, say they don’t even know the location of these stages.
Last week president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni announced the resumption of full operations of Boda Bodas, ending a four months suspension prompted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The president issued standard operating procedures for Boda Bodas to follow as they start carrying passengers on Monday 27th, July. Each rider was required to wear a mask and helmet, register all passengers, sanitize passengers and the seat and keep their cloths clean.
However, a day before operations could resume, KCCA issued extra guidelines. In its statement, the Authority said cabinet had approved gazzettement of 579 stages in Kampala to which all Boda Bodas should register and belong.
Kampala central division was allocated 32 stages, Kawempe 89, Makindye 136, Nakawa 146 and Rubaga division 179 stages.
Sula Kiwi, the Chairman Century Boda Boda Rubaga says that KCCA didn’t consult them while establishing stages. He says they were taken by surprise when KCCA published only 179 stages in Rubaga out of 316 that exist.
He described this as a deliberate move to push them out of the city, adding that they would fight to the end.
Frank Mawejje, the Chairman Smart Boda Boda Riders Coorperative Society in Kawempe Division says they acquired the current stages at a fee from KCCA when it was still a City Council. He says this gave them ownership of stages.
At most stages, space is owned by those who have been there longer, who are at liberty to sell part to new comers. Mawejje says if KCCA wants to impose new stages it should first compensate them.
The reduction in the number of stages has also rubbed operators the hard way. They say the move is likely to leave many without space to operate.
Rashid Kawawa, the Chairman Middle East Bugoloobi Boda Bodas Riders Coorperative Society Limited in Nakawa says they had over 400 stages and yet only 146 have been gazzetted.
With stages having an average of 40 members, Kawawa wonders if space at the few gazzetted stages shall accommodate all riders. He says displacing riders could give raise to criminal activity as riders will lose origin and engage in running battles with authorities enforcing guidelines.
Another major change in the Boda Bodas industry that KCCA announced was the Boda Boda free Zone.
The zone whose operatinalisation has been suspended until 31st August has also met criticism from the operators who say it is intended to eject them from the city where they find booming business.
The Zone runs along the boundaries of Wampewo Roundabout- Jinja Road to Kitgum House junction – Access Road – Mukwano Road to Clock Tower –Kafumbe Mukasa Road –Kisenyi Road –Mackay Road- Kyaggwe Road- Watoto Church-Bombo Road – Wandegeya – Hajji Musa Kasule Road- Mulago roundabout- Kamwokya junction – Sturrock Road – Prince Charles Drive- Lugogo Bypass–Jinja Road- Wampewo Roundabout.
The operators say they not only deliver passengers but do shopping in those areas.
Frank Mawejje, the Smart Boda Boda Riders Coorperative Society in Kawempe Division says until authorities provide an alternative to the services offered in the City Center and avail other public means for passengers, they will abuse the zone.
About registration, also as guided by KCCA, the operators say they would not permit strangers to take up space at their stages. In its registration guidelines, KCCA says a Boda Boda is free to register at any stage at no cost. They have opposed this saying free entry could expose their stages to bad elements in society. Under normal operations new members are recommended by old members and are vetted.
Operators also say they cannot allow someone to take up space free of charge at a stage they purchased.
Daniel Daniel Muhumuza Nuwabine, the Acting Spokesperson of KCCA says the demarcated stages comprise of a number of old stages. He says these were demarcated by KCCA and the Ministry of Works and Transport following a clear criteria.
The stages he says must be 20 meters away from each other and 100 meters away from security installations, public offices, Banks and junctions. They are also located outside the road reserves, he says.
Nuwabine says they are yet to install signage to aid both operators and passengers to easily locate them.
Nuwabine adds that operators should register at the stages through the stage leadership. Although KCCA says that operators can register at a stage of their choice, Nuwabine says they will work with stage leaders to approve membership of a rider seeking registration.
All associations and Boda Boda App companies are also required to register and share their data with KCCA for compilation of a general register. All boda bodas including those operating under Apps should have a stage of origin, he says.