Gov’t issues new guidelines for boda bodas in Kampala Metropolitan

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Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Government of Uganda has issued fresh guidelines for boda boda riders in Kampala and the Metropolitan areas of Mukono and Wakiso.

Speaking at the government-owned Media Centre, the State Minister for Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs, Kabuye Kyofatogabye told journalists that all boda boda riders operating in Kampala and the Metropolitan are required to register through the systems that shall be put in place by Resident City Commissioners (RCC), their Deputies, Resident District Commissioners (RDC) and Municipal leaders.

Kabuye says as per the new guidelines for boda boda riders, riders shall be identified by their stages to be gazetted by council authorities, and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) for the case of Kampala. In July 2020, KCCA published a list of 579 stages the cabinet had approved for boda bodas in the five divisions of Kampala. Rubaga division was allocated 179 stages, Nakawa 146, Makindye 136, Kawempe 89 and Central division 32 stages.

Although riders protested the gazetted stages saying many of their stages had been left out, Kabuye has emphasized that there shall be only 32 stages in the Central Business District of Kampala with at most 50 riders per stage. The minister says the guidelines are non-negotiable except when riders come with an amendment but not to eliminate any.

The minister also says that starting March, training for riders in proper road use and traffic safety shall commence at different centres put in place by KCCA and other government institutions like the Ministry of Works.

He says the Uganda Driver Licensing System and the police shall offer paid training to the riders and subject them to medical tests before they are given driving permits.

Regarding the fees for processing driving permits, he says the Ministry of Works has offered a reduction hence processing a one-year permit at 105,000 from 135,000 Shillings, and 135,000 Shillings for a three-year permit instead of the standard 230,000 Shillings. The Minister says by 1st July 2022, no rider shall be allowed on the road without a driving permit.

Another guideline issued is for riders to elect leaders at each stage. Stage leaders shall then elect the parish leadership which shall then elect the division leadership and finally the central leadership of the entire Kampala.

Minister Kabuye also says that riders shall be given uniforms depending on their division of operation. The colour of the uniforms (reflector jackets) shall be determined later in June. There are currently groups like KBA Fenna Boda Boda Association and companies like Safe Boda which had already designed uniforms for their riders.

The minister says they shall engage with current organized groups to see how they incorporate them into the government system.

Kabuye says that only registered boda boda riders shall be allowed to operate in Kampala. Any unregistered rider who comes into Kampala risks being arrested. Kabuye says the climax of organizing the boda boda industry will be them paying road user fees whose amount is yet to be agreed upon.

He also committed the government to construct more feeder roads, renovate roads and improve signalisation junctions to improve the city infrastructure. In a recent interview, Frank Mawejje, the Chairman of KBA Fenna Boda Boda Association Kawempe Limited told this publication that they formed the association as a forum to unite boda boda organizations and work together to organize the industry.

Mawejje, who was the chairman of Smart Boda limited in Kawempe, says that they had learnt in April 2021 that the government was planning to chase them out of the city hence moving towards organizing themselves.

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Siraje Mutyaba, the chairman of Boda Boda Industry Uganda, another umbrella association of Boda Boda riders says that for long, the boda boda industry has been left ungoverned yet it employs millions of people, especially majority of the youth population.

He says that the lack of clear regulation for the industry has attracted criminal activity with criminals using boda bodas to commit atrocities.

The government also wants to strictly enforce provisions of the Traffic and Road Safety Act, 1998 (Amendment) Act, 2020 including riders to have permits before getting on the road. All this is intended to improve road safety in the country and the capital city in particular.

Previous attempts by the government include that in 2013 to register boda bodas in Kampala among others failed, having received stiff opposition from some boda boda associations.

In 2020, the government also had plans to register riders postponed due to challenges posed by COVID-19.