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Hoima Drivers Miss Out On Covid-19 Relief Fund

HOIMA – Drivers operating from Hoima Taxi Park and Kinuubi Park in Hoima city have threatened to stage a peaceful demonstration protesting the alleged city authorities’ failure to include their names on the list of beneficiaries of Covid-19 relief fund.

The Government through the Prime Minister’s office and the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development (MGLSD) allocated Shs 100, 000 to each household with various categories of vulnerabilities in cities and municipalities across the country.

Such vulnerable groups included drivers, motorcycle taxi drivers commonly known as boda-boda riders, salon operators and others whose work was either totally stopped or restricted to a certain level to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

However, although some people have received the money in Hoima city, many including drivers and boda-boda riders still complain that they are yet to see any single penny wired to their cell phones as per the government promise.

Peter Byaruhanga and Musa Kalanzi said although their names were initially registered and included on the list of beneficiaries, they were surprised after few of the colleagues received, leaving the majority out.

They claim that the money has been wired to phones of the non-vulnerable instead of the targeted groups.

They claimed that out of the 600 drivers who were registered only 15 received it wondering the criterion that was used in selecting the beneficiaries that led to their ultimate conclusion.

It is against this background that they threaten to stage a peaceful demonstration to attract the attention of the city authorities so they can act accordingly.

The drivers said that city leaders need to explain why they were left out, adding that they are currently struggling to feed their families since most of them have no other source of livelihood.

Muzamil Ahebwa, a driver and publicity secretary for Kinuubi Drivers’ Association said that more than 20 drivers at his park missed out on the money. He expressed concern that most of the people who received the money were not part of vulnerable groups.

“Am also a victim, I do not know what happened to our names, you can imagine few of our colleagues whom we registered with on the same form received the money and I and many of my colleague drivers did not get any coin, I suspect our names were excluded by the people from the center.”

He demanded that, city authorities intervene and communicate to the Prime Minister about their concern so that they can also be considered.

Imran Tumwesige, the Secretary Hoima Boda-boda Cyclists Association said that many of the boda-boda cyclists missed on the funds. He noted several boda-boda cyclists registered for relief funds but few have received it.

“We are suspecting some people to have received the money in our names, leaving the actual beneficiaries to miss out,” he said.

Samuel Kisembo, the Hoima Resident City Commissioner (RCC) said that they were directed to register 9,460 households but they received more than 18,000 applications from the city dwellers.

“Hoima city through our technical team, we did our part and good numbers of people have received this money and we estimate to be standing at 50%, of course the challenge is that the demand was very high, there were over 18,000 applicants to benefit but we were allocated only 9,460. So as of now we have not yet gotten any report from the MGLSD of names that were not able to make it,” he said.

He added that they are optimistic that by the end of this week all the people who were registered will have received their money.

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