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Disagreements over Boda Boda Operations at Transport Public Dialogue

The debate on the Boda Boda industry has been revived following the lynching of a motorist in Rubaga Division by a mob on Sunday after he allegedly knocked two motorcycles.
21 Oct 2021 20:55

Audio 8

The presence of the Boda Boda operators in Kampala dominated a public dialogue on improving the transport sector in Kampala.

The debate on the Boda Boda industry has been revived following the lynching of a motorist in Rubaga Division by a mob on Sunday after he allegedly knocked two motorcycles. 

The incident has drawn the condemnation of the cyclists’ alleged act, with some people calling for stricter regulation of the industry or even their removal from the city. 

However, the cyclists are more notorious for violating traffic regulations and the police have largely abandoned any attempts to control them. 

At the dialogue, a study report dubbed: The political Economy of Public Transport in Greater Kampala: Movers, Spoilers and Prospects for Reform, was presented by researchers, Professor Tom Goodfellow of Sheffield University and Paul Isolo Mukwaya of Makerere University. 

The study named the land tenure system in Kampala as one of the factors impeding the reform of the transport industry, as there is hardly any room for expansion of the roads. 

The study also mentioned the complex public transport system which has many different players, including motorcyclists, Bicyclists, Minibuses, 14-seater vans and others, all providing Passenger Services. 

Prof Goodfellow said since the land is largely owned by private individuals, it is difficult for city authorities to acquire it for road projects.  //Cue in: “Obviously, land ….. 

Cue out: …make a profit.”//   

He says as part of any reforms, there must be a city transport management authority to specifically handle the industry instead of leaving it to KCCA and neighbouring local governments. 

However, in their research, fears were expressed on what the composition of such an apex body should be.  He says some respondents feared that the body might not be representative enough to include less elitist businesses like the Boda Bodas, yet they perform one of the most important roles.  //Cue in: This is huge…. 

Cue out: …possible sector."//       

In his response to the study, Makerere University’s Prof Julius Kiiza blamed the politics of the country and Kampala in particular, saying that the leaders prefer populist approaches to service delivery instead of prioritizing transformation. 

He says the issue of land should not be a problem in the city if the leaders were honest. 

And this is not only on bodabodas, but it has also led to the misuse of public infrastructure. 



Kiiza for example says the city and government authorities look on as road reserves are taken over for private developments, including those by senior government officials. 

Naming some of them, Kiiza says they should be demolished, create sanity in the city, while bodabodas should be out of the city.     //Cue in: “Uganda excels…. 

Cue out: …..do better."//   

Some countries in Africa have been able to control and make the bodaboda industry part of the formal transport industry, operating within the rules of the areas.



Some of these include Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and, to some extent, Nairobi in Kenya and the Rwandan capital Kigali. 

While many called on Uganda and Kampala, in particular, to take a leaf from these cities, Kampala Capital City Authority said it is better to go slow. 

The Executive Director KCCA Dorothy Kisaka said that they are in discussion with Boda Boda operators and that the riders have suggested phased piloting of securing one corridor at a time in a rotational way. 

She says the riders also accused the authorities of not consulting before taking harsh measures.  //Cue in: “We started …. 

Cue out: …together.”//   

The head of traffic police in Kampala Metropolitan Police, Superintendent of Police Rogers Kawuma accused political leaders of abetting the problems involved in managing the riders.  He said because of the selfish interest of the leaders, the riders find it easy to join in resisting programs aimed at improving the transport industry.   

Kawuma says there are also easier things that the country can do like using modern technology to control traffic.    //Cue in: “We need …    

Cue out: …. Good program.”//   

Eng Gerald Ekimu from the Ministry of Works says it will be risky to use force to take the boda-bodas out of the city centre like it was in some countries like Ethiopia, where even motorcycles were destroyed as a way of enforcement.   

//Cue in Somebody talked of…. 

Cue out:…a regulated industry.”//   

Statistics show that half of the people who go to the city centre daily are pedestrians, and together with buses and bodabodas, the figure goes up to 90 percent of the people. KCCA says that these are people who must be catered for, with innovations like the Namirembe-Luwum Non-Motorised Traffic Corridor. 

However, Prof Kiiza is opposed to this system and says more modern systems can be put in place.

KCCA Deputy Director Road Management, Jacob Byamukama informed Kiiza that half of the people who foot into the city daily also need convenient infrastructure. He says the system should be expanded across the city. 

//Cue in: “I want…. 

Cue out: …  who are walking. //”   

However, Prof Kiiza says the country cannot develop when the majority of the people are walking to work. He says while walking has its advantages, people walk because they do not have an affordable and convenient form of transport.

//Cue in: “Kindly ask…. 

Cue out: …by human beings.”//