Traffic Police in Masindi district has impounded over 10 motorcycles and commercial transportation bicycles belonging to bodaboda riders for breaching the presidential moratorium on public transportation.
In a bid to prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), President Museveni suspended the use of all public transportation means for passengers, including bodabodas, buses and taxis.
However, Sharon Araku, the O/C Traffic, Masindi, says several bodaboda riders showed up for work the very next day, in contravention of the directive.
In response, the police impounded more than ten motorcycles and commercial bicycles from a number of Bodaboda stages including Kobil Kirasa and Kijura, in an operation to implement the president’s directive.
“Although some bodabodas managed to escape, we were able to get a few. The operation is going to continue until they (bodabodas) adhere to the directive,” Araku says
In addition to clamping down on offenders, Araku explains, the police are carrying out sensitisation of passengers, bodaboda riders and taxi drivers on the rationale for the government’s guidelines regarding the pandemic.
Araku says that taxi drivers in Masindi district have responded positively to the directive compared to the bodaboda riders.
Bodaboda drivers speak out
Speaking to theCooperator, bodaboda riders in Masindi expressed their dissatisfaction with the directive, saying it will deprive them of their sole source of income. Others say they acquired their motorcycles on loan, and are still expected to make weekly payments towards servicing them or risk losing their bodabodas.
A bodaboda rider in Masindi town who spoke on condition of anonymity requested that government provides alternatives to get them through this period since it is the only activity that they survive on.
Another rider who also declined to be named stated that although the police had found them at the bodaboda stages, they had no intention of ferrying passengers.
“We were waiting for customers who might want luggage transported; but most customers do not have our contacts, which forced us to come to the bodaboda stage where they can easily access us,” he said.
While the president’s directive proscribed transportation of persons by public vehicles, delivery of goods by the same means is allowed.
Commenting on this development, Iddi Onyera, the Chairperson, Masindi district Motorcycle Riders Association (MAMOA) faulted his colleagues for being impatient, adding that some bodaboda riders are undisciplined.
“I appeal to all our members to kindly adhere to the president’s directive since it was not passed in bad faith,” he said.