KAMPALA —Traders under their umbrella association— E-Trade Association— a group that brings companies that use the internet to create jobs in Uganda want the 7pm curfew on Boda Bodas removed to enable mobility and full economic recovery.
Speaking to reporters in Kampala, the association noted that boda bodas, have a very big hand in this country’s business and the economy can not be seen to have fully reopened, with boda boda’s being left out.
Issa Sekito, who is the spokesperson of the Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) said that there is need for equality if the economy is to be fully reopened.
“If we say that we are going to open the economy then let’s open it fully with equality to all parties involved,” Sekito said, adding, “It is a lie that you have opened the economy and the boda bodas are still under curfew restriction.”
He acknowledged the fact that some criminal elements use boda boda’s to commit crime, but said that we “cannot cut legs because people have jiggers.”
On behalf of the association, he urged government to handle the criminal elements strictly on intelligence and not punish the whole boda boda industry.
“Is there an industry without thieves? Why should the whole boda boda sector be punished because of the few that are bad? If it’s security we are talking about, there are boda organizations like SafeBoda, government should consult them and they work hand in hand,” Sekito added.
On her part, Blessing Immaculate, Owomugisha Ag. Secretary General – Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry said government should reconsider its directives and instead train and emphasize the good practices on motorcycles operations in addition to establishment of a well updated database on commercial motorcycle activities for their sustainability and a regulated legal framework to the aspirations of the operators, customers and other road users.
In Uganda, motorcycles enable millions of people to have the chance to participate in the economy everyday – getting to the market, delivering supplies, getting home after work, visiting a friend, getting to a meeting on time.
“Ever since the curfew was imposed, the best I could do was get daily food for my family, which many times has been quite difficult with the curfew restrictions. Now that schools and the economy have reopened, I still do not know how I am going to take care of my two sons and little daughter when the situation has not changed for me. I was hopeful when the President announced that the economy would be open this year. I knew all would be well because I would go back to making some money from my customers. especially the party goers. Now I am left wondering where will I get money to support my family? I wonder what boda bodas did to the government,” says a boda-boda rider in Kawempe division.
Whereas matatus or taxis remain a key transport service in Uganda, the association urge that they are unable to go to the last mile, and cannot get people directly home.
A 7pm curfew for boda bodas means that businesses that could have stayed open longer will close earlier for the safety of their employees. This fact alone defeats the purpose of reopening the economy if people can not stay a little longer to make the money they have missed to make for the last two years.