Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Government’s plan to reduce Boda Bodas operating in the Central Business District in Kampala has prompted riders to organize themselves in order to retain their work spaces.
In July 2020, Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA published a list of 579 stages that Cabinet had approved for Boda Bodas in the five divisions of Kampala. Rubaga Division was allocated 179 stages, Nakawa 146, Makindye 136, Kawempe 89, and Central division 32 stages.
The central division was allocated the least number of stages because the government wanted to implement a Boda Boda free zone.
The Boda Boda free zone would run along 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.
However, the plan was later halted to allow the government to register riders and harmonize the list of gazetted stages after riders complained that several of their stages had been left out.
Now, before the government starts registering Boda Boda cyclists, the riders are making attempts to organize as they wait for a response from the government.
Frank Mawejje, the Chairman of KBA Fenna Boda Boda Association Kawempe Limited in Kawempe says that they formed the association as a forum to unite Boda Boda organizations and work together in a bid to organize the industry.
Mawejje says over six associations have united to form KBA Fenna and have so far registered more than 1000 Boda Boda riders from different divisions of Kampala.
It is estimated that there are over 400,000 Boda Boda in Kampala. According to the 2020 annual police report, more than 1,500 die in Boda-Boda accidents every year while over 4,000 survive with injuries across the country.
Mawejje says that there are hundreds of riders coming from far areas like Mpigi, Mukono, Entebbe, and other areas who roam on Kampala streets.
Mawejje says, to distinguish riders with stages in Kampala, they have embarked on a registration exercise to have a consolidated database for riders. To register, riders present a copy of their National Identify Card-ID and an introductory letter from the stage chairperson.
The details are entered into a system used to generate a QR code which is printed on the rider’s reflector jacket. The code which can be scanned using a QR code scanner displays a rider’s name, photo, stage, and phone number.
Mawejje says this way, they will easily identify registered Boda Boda riders, limit the entry of unknown riders into the City and follow up on Boda Boda riders.
Siraje Mutyaba, the Chairman of Boda Boda Industry Uganda, another umbrella association of Boda Boda riders says they are mobilizing riders and other associations to join and plan for the industry. Mutyaba says they want the government to recognize their job in writing such that they can pay a license and have a specific law that guides their operations in the City.
Mutyaba says that the absence of an ordinance has rendered the industry quite ungovernable.
Mutyaba also says that riders need to be trained in road safety and proper road use.
Paul Sande a rider at Yamaha Center stage along Burton Street is one of the riders registered under a Boda Boda with the hope that this will save their job. He is a registered member of Century Boda and says joining the association will give them a unified voice before the government and help them streamline their operations.
However, some riders are not registered with any association but have leaders at their stages.
For instance, riders at Absa Avemar Boda Boda stage operating along the Non-Motorized Transport corridor at Wilson Street are organized and have reflector jackets with numbers for identification.
The government wants the riders to strictly enforce provisions of the Traffic and Road Safety Act, 1998 (Amendment) Act, 2020 including riders having permits before using the road.