The E-Trade Association, an umbrella association for companies that use the internet to create jobs in Uganda, have called for the removal of the 7pm curfew on motorcycles to enable mobility and full economic recovery.
In a press conference held on Monday at the Fairway Hotel in Kampala, the association representatives stressed that motorcycles, also known as boda bodas, have a very big hand in this country’s business and the economy can not be seen to have fully reopened, with boda boda’s being left out.
Issa Sekito, who is the spokesperson of the Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) said that there is need for equality if the economy is to be fully reopened.
“If we say that we are going to open the economy then let’s open it fully with equality to all parties involved,” Sekito said.
Adding, “It is a lie that you have opened the economy and the boda bodas are still under curfew restriction.”
Sekito acknowledged the fact that some criminal elements use boda boda’s to commit crime, but said that we “cannot cut legs because people have jiggers.”
The KACITA mouthpiece advised government to handle the criminal elements strictly on intelligence and not punish the whole boda boda industry.
“Is there an industry without thieves? Why should the whole boda sector be punished because of the few that are bad? If it’s security we are talking about, there are boda organizations like SafeBoda, government should consult them and they work hand in hand,” Sekito added.
Ricky Rapa Thomson, the co-founder and director of SafeBoda, a ride hailing mobile application said that boda bodas are needed and they are second biggest employer of young people in Uganda and therefore keeping them under restriction is wrong.
“There has been a lot of unfairness being exercised against Boda riders,while others are moving freely,we are being left behind,” Ricky Rapa said.
Ricky Rapa said that boda bodas transport so many people, from security officers, to doctors and students and urged government to listen to their cry.
Amos Wekesa, a self made entrepreneur and owner of Safari Lodges said that government should have consulted with the private sector before placing a ban on boda bodas after 7pm.
He added that boda bodas are very important in the Ugandan transport setting and therefore leaving them under restrictions works against the full reopening of the economy.
President Museveni in his address on December 31, 2021 said that the economy would reopen gradually, but boda bodas were to remain operating between 5 am to 7pm because criminal elements use them under the cover of darkness to commit crime.
This, according to stakeholders is unfair and they want it changed.