Lira, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Police in North Kyoga region have collected 2,780,000 million Shillings from motorists defying COVID-19 standard operating procedures in Lango sub region in one week.
The money has been collected through fines from boda- boda riders and drivers caught operating beyond curfew hours as well as those found carrying passengers.
It has been collected from the four districts of Otuke where 6 motorcycles and motorcyclists were arrested and charged, in Oyam where 12 motorcycles and 3 motor vehicles were nabbed, in Dokolo district where police impounded 4 motorcycles and Lira where 11 motor vehicles and 24 motorcycles were impounded.
All the money is said to have been deposited in the government account.
Patrick Jimmy Okema, the North kyoga police spokesperson says the boda boda riders and some people with private cars have continued to defy the guidelines which exposes everyone to risk.
Okema also acknowledged the possibility of extortion by some police officers executing these guidelines but said no victims have made any formal complaints, something he says is affecting the fight against corruption.
“If only a member of the public could help us cite one or two officers so that they can be examples to the others but unfortunately, these are just rumors within the community and do not come directly to the police. If only they could do that, we would be able to deal with such things.”
However, Newton Ocen, a boda boda rider says the need to provide for their families as well as meet their other needs have forced them to breach the presidential directives. Ocen who used to make between 30,000 to 40,000 is now making a maximum of 10,000 a day.
Similarly, Jimmy Ocen, another rider in Lira city said he has resorted to selling his belongings to service a loan he took to acquire a motorcycle.
On June 18th 2021, President Yoweri Museveni issued guidelines to curb the spread of COVID-19. Among these was observance of curfew starting 7pm, restriction of PSV and private cars while boda bodas are limited to carrying only cargo between 6:30am to 5pm.