Mistrust, suspicion and tension have this morning ratcheted to worrying levels among Boda boda riders in Kampala, as they rushed to beat the registration deadline issued by government.
The deadline which was issued by Uganda’s Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja was initially meant to expire on August 30th, however it was extended to 16th September, to envelope all riders in this comprehensive census and registration process.
Surprisingly, the extension of the deadline did not yield tangible results, as many cyclists showed no appetite in getting counted and stayed away from the exercise.
Now that today is the day marking the end of the exercise, Kampala boda boda riders have in huge numbers flooded the designated eleven registration centres spread throughout five divisions of the city to see to it that they are registered.
Government maintains that there will be no further deadline extensions, and big headed riders are to face serious reprisals, if they are not enveloped in the exercise that ends today.
To be successfully registered, one is required to present a duly filled application form (available at the census centers), national identity card, letters from LC and PISO (Parish Internal Security Officer), and a copy of the log book.
“I want to thank all those riders who have gotten registered, the exercise ends today……in Kampala the exercise ends today, after which we will turn to Mukono, and other cities in the country like Mbarara, Hoima, Mbale, Jinja and we register riders there,” noted Rt. Hon. Nabbanja.
In divisions like Lubaga, Makindye Ssabagabo and Kampala central, cyclists are feeling the heat, as they woke up very early and presented themselves at these stations with all the necessary documents by 8:00 am. Surprisingly, those charged with the responsibility of registering them were no where to be seen by that time.
The situation is so desperate in Makindye Ssabagabo. Long queues encompassing no one else, other than boda boda riders. There’s also a clear testimony that these city dwellers are filled with fear and they are genuinely concerned about what would be of them, if they fail to beat the deadline.
More surprisingly here, these riders have been given strict orders by security personnels not to even say hello to journalists.
The security operatives have however intimated to the press that they are awaiting orders from their superiors, to decide whether or not these embattled riders can be allowed to at least wave to journalists.
One of the riders who preferred anonymity disclosed that in the first days of the exercise from August 15th to 30th, the turn up was extremely low, but when the dealine was shifted to September 16, numbers started shooting up at a blinding rate, and that since then, more than 500 riders have been accessing registration every day.
“In these last days many riders have greatly participated because during those first days, authorities could register 100 to 200 riders a day, but in these last days, about 500 to 700 riders get registered everyday, meaning the participation is now high,” he said.
In Lubaga division, a large number of riders who had lined up waiting to be registered said at first they did not take the process seriously, but decided to take part after being tipped off by higly placed sources that they would be exited from the city.
“We are genuinely worried that the deadline might not be extended further. These people might not give us another chance, and that’s why we are here,” said Komoga Fred, a cyclist from Lubaga division.
In June this year, Uganda’s Prime Minister Robinah 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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