Uganda’s Prime Minister Rt.Hon. Robinah Nabbanja has today morning summoned Kampala city leaders to discuss the record low turn up of boda boda cyclists in their registration exercise.
The exercise which started on August 15th was meant to expire on 30th, but the deadline was extended to September 16th, to allow more riders to participate.
It is estimated that 70% of the cyclists in the city have no appetite to take part in the ongoing registration exercise, much as the deadline was extended to allow for more riders to register.
Minister for Kampala city Hon. Hajjat Minsa Kabanda while talking to the press on Thursday morning said that a wide boycott of this exercise by boda boda riders was not expected and therefore they are going to meet with the Prime Minister to discuss the next course of action.
“We are heading to a meeting with the Prime Minister and other stakeholders, and we will tell you the outcomes, because right now I am running to the meeting, and I am late, I am sure it has even started already,” explained Hon. Kabanda as she rushed to meet with Hon. Nabbanja.
The Lord Mayor for Kampala city Ssalongo Erias Lukwago decried the bureaucracy in the process, characterized by long procedures and documentation, saying that it is a barrier for most riders to participate in the process of getting registered.
He also warned that the ultimatum given to riders to take part in this exercise or else face serious reprisals will not work and urged the responsible parties in the process to stop rushing aimlessly.
“Now they are saying they are registering cyclists, subjecting them to mental check-ups, now these conditions attached, telling them to bring log books, letters from DISO, PISO, bring this, bring that, we had earlier on told them these things will not work,” the Lord Mayor said.
Mr. Lukwago noted that as city leaders, they had suggested to Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA), that an honest and transparent process be undertaken to register cyclists, one that is in tandem with the law, but their calls fell on deaf ears of KCCA officials.
“……and even yesterday during the council meeting at city hall, we as the executive seconded a bill stipulating how boda boda operations will be streamlined, registered, the strategic establishment of various stages, counting, and even how these cyclists will select their leaders,” added Mr. Lukwago.
The furious Lord Mayor advised that counting should be done at the stage level, rather than telling these cyclists to go to playgrounds, fields, divisions to get counted and registered as this would exclude a vast majority of their counterparts.
Meanwhile, Mawejje Frank, one of the influential boda boda leaders in Kampala city said most of the riders have no appetite of going to get registered because the process itself appears not to be participatory for cyclists.
He clarified that cyclists are not allowed to take part in organizing, planning, executing and even evaluating the effectiveness of this comprehensive registration process, yet they understand this job better than anyone else, something he said has inspired his colleagues to overwhelmingly stay away.
“As leaders, we generally have no thorough understanding of such arrangements. Even most riders are in the dark, as far as matters regarding this registration process are concerned. First of all, KCCA and its leaders have to this day failed to acknowledge that they are not the duty bearers of the boda boda job,” noted Mawejje.
Mawejje said that if KCCA gets to know this fact, they will consult the job handlers and get advice on the best way to conduct this registration process, because they are the duty bearers, and that if one is to count citizens, they find them where they work.
“This has not been done by KCCA, but instead they established centers at different schools where riders should go and be registered. In that regard, you cannot achieve the intended objective. We have told them all this but our words of advice have landed on deaf ears of their officials,” Mawejje complained.
Initially, the boda boda census and registration process in Kampala according to KCCA was meant to commence on August 15th, to 30th, at eleven centres spread throughout five divisions of the city.
However, the deadline has since been extended to September 16th, to allow for more riders to participate, after realizing that the turn up had hit worrying low levels.
In June this year, Prime Minister Nabbanja instructed the Ministry for Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs together with KCCA, to register all cyclists in Kampala by September 1st, a move intended to streamline boda boda operations and weed out criminal elements who disguise as riders.
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