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Boda- Bodas Cyclists, Traffic Officers Trade Accusations in Kaberamaido

The chairperson of the boda boda operators William Owae indicated in his letter that the police have created a very hard situation for public transport to the extent of turning every police check point into a money making point regardless of the traffic offences committed.

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Boda- boda riders in Ochero Town Council, Kaberamaido district have written to the East Kyoga Regional Police Commander over alleged misconduct of the traffic personnel working in the district.

In their letter dated July 4th, 2021, the riders accuse the Officer in Charge Traffic in Kaberamaido, IP Patrick Lanchen Otiko and his two colleagues only identified as Kyomuhangi and Isodat of several acts of misconduct.

The Boda- boda riders claim that traffic police officers on the road always make unnecessary demands to the road users aimed at extorting money.

“The Police officers have messed up with the public trust in the police service by always creating unnecessary demands for money from the members of the public and detaining or charging fines on those who fail to meet their demands,” says the letter written by William Owae, the chairperson of Ochero Town Council Boda- boda Association.

Owae indicated in his letter that the police have created a very hard situation for public transport to extent of turning every police check point into money making points regardless of the traffic offences committed.

“At the roadblock, they harass motorcycle and bicycle riders on the road and this they do just to make such riders to pull out money....this is annoying us and we plan to conduct a serious demonstration against the Uganda Police with or without permission…”, the document continues.

The cyclists also cited scenarios where the same police traffic officers have harassed journalists trying to access the district for stories. They listed five journalists; Patrick Ebong of Daily Monitor, Hudson Apunyo of the New Vision, Moses Obwona of Lango Broadcasting Service in Dokolo district and Unity FM Journalists; Billy Otto and Charles Osendro who were reportedly harassed, detained and fined with unfounded traffic offenses. 

 The Boda- boda riders even accuse a Traffic officer (name withheld) of fraud, saying he reportedly attempted to sell a motorcycle to their colleague without genuine records of ownership. 

“There was no clear ownership of the of the said motorcycle and its origin and the seller couldn’t answer all our questions concerning what he was selling,” the letter continues to read.

The letter signed by 59 people demands for the transfer of the officer whom they accuse of dubious dealing in an undocumented motorcycleThe letter claims that there are more than 200 people ready to testify against the officers should the police pick interest in pursuing the matter.

But when the Officer in Charge Traffic in Kaberamaido, IP Patrick Lanchen Otiko was contacted, he dismissed the allegations against his team by the boda-boda association. 

The officer said the allegations are originated by a malicious local journalists who arrested and fined on on June 28th, 2021, for violating traffic laws (riding without license, insurance or helmet), and that it is the journalist who took it personal and has launched a malicious campaign to tarnish the image of the officers.

He says that they are now considering a charge against the journalist for spreading harmful propaganda against the officers and institution of police.