Many headlines after the presidential address of 31st December 2021 have been pointing out that the president opened the whole economy. However, this is only true as long as Boda Boda (Motorcycle Taxis) is not part of the whole economy.
It should be noted that the government of Uganda is the leading employer in Uganda followed by the Boda Boda industry. This implies that however much all the other sectors might be open, there is a very big part of the economy that is still highly affected by the 7:00 pm curfew that will not apply to any other sector in the economy other than Boda Boda come 24th January 2022.
With Boda Bodas indefinitely operating under curfew, you are left wondering why it is only the Boda Boda sector that remains partially closed while all the other sectors are opened. There are a number of reasons that government might highlight but are they really substantial?
Boda Bodas Are Used In City Assassinations
For close to a decade now, a number of gun assassinations have been registered in and around Kampala. Of these assassinations, the likes of Andrew Felix Kaweesi, the fallen assistant inspector general of Uganda police, Joan Kagezi a prominent Ugandan prosecutor, and the recent assassination of General Katumba Wamala’s daughter were all carried out on motorcycles.
With the long list of assassinations accused of men using motorcycles, the government might argue that curfew is necessary to ensure that the bad elements in the Boda boda industry are restricted by the 7:00pm curfew. However besides that argument, it should noted that some of these assassinations have been executed during broad day light. Case in point Felix Kaweesi and Katumba Wamala
Boda Bodas Are Used in City Theft
In December, there was a video making rounds on social media where a group of boda boda cyclists knocked out a ride pillion and took his backpack in broad day light. Until now no report has ever been made about the matter by the Uganda police. But the government might you this as a justifiable ground to keep Boda Bodas under curfew. Unfortunately, this activity was not also done at night.
Besides, there are a number of private cars in the city known for theft. They sometimes pretend to ask for directions after which they beg you to ride along in case you are heading in the same direction. They then continuously ask you to close the door in order to distract you from a successful pocket-picking snatch. This implies that if it was theft, then it is not only the Boda Boda group that is the culprit.
Majority Of Boda Boda Cyclists Do Not Support The Ruling Party!
Majority of the cyclists are in support of the Ghetto president; “His Excellence Bobi Wine”, the former Uganda presidential aspirant. However this is not also 100% true because there are pro-NRM (National resistance movement) Boda Boda groups. To say that are being haunted because of their support to Bobi Wine would overlook the fact that there are Boda Boda groups that are pro government.
Though the first two reasons can be used as excuses by government, it is very unlikely that this passes for a reason however much some people think it might be one of the reasons Boda Bodas will continue under curfew.
They Are Unpopular Among Policy Makers
There are laws that govern motorists in Uganda but these seem not to apply on Boda Bodas most of the time. For instance, Boda Boda cyclists can ride without a driving license, without third-party insurance, without a motorcycle service license and whenever they are arrested for not meeting these standards, it often becomes political.
On top of that, they are color blind when it comes to traffic lights. They also use one-way roads as they please. In other words, they are not in the good books of most of the people more so road users who do not use Boda Bodas. There are many people waiting for a day Boda Bodas will be banned from the city and when they see a window to make the life of Boda Boda riders life in the city hard, they use it.
This is likely the main reason Boda Bodas will continue under curfew however it will be covered up by several other excuses such as theft and assassinations.