Riders of boda bodas in Bundibugyo town are demanding that the evening curfew be extended. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni said boda bodas would continue to operate between 5am and 7pm since criminal elements utilize them to commit crimes under the cover of night when announcing the full reopening of the economy on December 31, 2021.
Riders say that denying them the option to work when other transporters are available is discriminatory. The riders claim that the COVID-19 limits are making it difficult for them to repay loans they took out in the previous two years.
They allege that people who do not have access to private transportation are also closing their companies earlier than boda bodas. Some of the riders also claim to be transporting day-scholars who leave school after 6:00 p.m.
According to Abubakar Musoke, chairperson of the Bundibugyo boda boda rider’s union, a number of riders have lost their homes due to accumulated debts and a lack of resources to pay them off.
He thinks that the morning and evening hours are the best for boda boda commerce. He denounced the police brutality and harshness employed to apprehend their members who were caught riding after the curfew had expired.
Dickson Turigye, a boda boda rider in Bundibugyo town, says they want the nighttime curfew extended from 7pm to 10pm so they may profit from people who stay in town late at night doing business.
Another rider, Patrick Muhumuza, claims that Tugende has seized the motorcycles of over 20 riders in the last year for failing to repay their loans. He claims that police officers enforcing the rules harass them and occasionally try to extort money from them.
Latif Bwambale, who has been in the boda boda industry for about ten years, believes that restricting their company now that the economy has fully opened is a disservice to the business community, which relies significantly on them.
The Bundibugyo Resident District Commissioner, Amos Banghi, claims that his office has yet to receive any accusations of police abuse directed towards the riders. He has stated that he will interfere in the case because he cannot stand by while people are tortured.
The RDC, who met with the riders on Tuesday, urged them to work with law enforcement agencies and pledged to meet with security officers to discuss police misconduct.
The easing of the boda bodas’ curfew is being demanded by a rising number of industries. The E-Trade Association, an umbrella organization that brings together enterprises and organizations in Uganda that utilize the internet to create jobs, has urged the government to relax COVID-19 limitations on boda boda.
According to the group, the move will make transit easier for Ugandans. The boda boda sub-sector, according to the organisation, employs about 1.2 million people.