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Mixed reactions as boda bodas allowed to resume passenger transport

There were mixed reactions among bodaboda riders in Gulu district as President Museveni allowed them to resume passenger transport come 27th of this month.

While addressing the nation on Tuesday, President Museveni, allowed bodabodas, hitherto only limited to ferrying cargo, to resume normal operations, but tasked them to wear helmets and facemasks, and keep records of all their clients. Passengers are also required to wear face masks.

Robert Ocen, a bodaboda rider at Gulu Main Street said that it’s a relief that they can now operate freely.  

“Many of us have been taking risks by carrying passengers to make ends meet, since we could not look on when our family members were dying of hunger. We are glad we can now work with ease, unlike before when we were operating in hiding,” he said.

“On many occasions our motorcycles were impounded and we were tasked to pay fines before getting them back.’’ 

Ocen, however said keeping record of their passengers might not be easy for bodaboda operators since some clients might be unwilling to reveal their particulars.

Another rider at Layibi stage, Dalton Opwonya, said President Museveni’s relaxation of restrictions on bodaboda operations was long overdue.

“Imagine four months without operations; it has not been easy. Most of our colleagues have since abandoned the business and gone into farming. Some might not get back while the lives of others will never be the same,” he said. 

However, Opwonya asserts that the president’s directive requiring bodabodas to stop their operations at 6:00 pm daily is unfair, and proposes that they be allowed to work until 9:00 pm when the curfew time starts.

“We have a lot of debts that we need to clear,” he said. “We took  loans to take care of our homes during the time we were not working; that is why we need more time to operate so that we can repay the loans.''

 Gulu Bodaboda Association Enforcement Officer, Nicholas Otim, said the leadership of the bodaboda riders at each stage have their work cut out for them to ensure that the Ministry of Health guidelines and those of the president are observed.

“Let’s support each other so that we are not condemned to another lockdown for failing to follow the rules that President Museveni has set for us,” he said.

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