Tumwebaze: Besigye A Spoiler For The People Of Kampala

order geneva; font-size: small;”>In the piece, no rx Dr. Besigye as usual made an attempt (albeit a failed one) to spin a purely administrative issue into a political platform from which to leverage an opportunity he would use to get at President Museveni.

He also wanted to enhance his visibility and relevance that he works on to maintain desperately on a day to day basis through his cheap and comic political postures. It’s my duty however, to put the record straight and once again highlight the importance of the boda boda registration exercise that KCCA and other stake holders are engaged in so as to streamline and regulate better the industry.

The registration of bodaboda motorcycles is a first step in the right direction as KCCA continues to launch its interventions of creating order in the city. The exercise will help KCCA to know the number of motorcycles operating in the city and thus aid planning. Without numbers or statistics you can’t plan. I hope Dr Besigye can for sure comprehend this.

Besigye engaging police during a recent political activity in Kampala

By and large, we aim to achieve the following specific targets with this bodaboda registration. First, we shall be able to identify the riders individually and the motorbikes generally for planning. This will also help to fight the rampant thefts of these motorbikes and the brutal attacks on the riders by criminal gangs.


Secondly, organized bodaboda stages will be set up at specific and gazetted points. For Example, the designs and construction of city roads will mainstream in, the suitable bodaboda stages so as to fight the illegal stages mounted anywhere (in front of banks, embassies etc) at the extreme inconvenience of other city businesses.

Thirdly, law and order will be restored, traffic will be properly managed. Fourthly, the registered and identified riders will be targeted for training in traffic and safety procedures.

Support services like insurance to the riders and their associations will now be easy to plan for and provide. Banks and other financial institutions that have been wanting to support the bodaboda industry but with a lot of reservations because of the disorganization in the sector will now have their fears allayed and confidence built.

The overall goal of this initiative is to have the city decongested, guarantee safety for all city users and residents and also improve the general working conditions of the riders. This is what KCCA is trying to achieve in addition to it’s other city management and improvement initiatives. I therefore appeal to you all to appreciate and support us; the political maneuvering of Besigye and his likes notwithstanding.

We cannot want to ‘ eat’ our cake and again want to have it at the same time. Those smart cities of Europe and some even emerging in our region that we so much admire and praise for better planning and management, were not improved without taking such bold initiatives.

Even opposition politicians in those areas reach a point of common logic and reasonably support such bi partisan administrative initiatives for public interest. It’s only in Uganda, where things seem different especially with some of the political players.

One pertinent question however that Ugandans ought to ask of their leaders including those aspiring to lead like Dr Besigye is; When will the political contenders of these times, grow up to transcend selfish political schemes and stand for public interest driven political agendas? Why wouldn’t anybody else in all honesty, and this time irrespective of political party affiliation, fail to see sense and relevance of regulating the bodaboda industry in Kampala, given the so much menace and accidents currently associated with their haphazard operations ?

Even if Besigye disagreed with our policy measures being implemented by KCCA, at least he would support the principle that well justifies the need for regulation and thus propose his own ‘superior’ interventions if any, may be for us to borrow a leaf from. Especially as a doctor, he would be concerned with the so many fatal accidents occurring daily as a result of these unregulated bodaboda operations.

I am however not surprised that the so-called opposition political icon cannot not even make suggestions for any policy options. That has been his style since 2001 when he launched his quest and desire for being president. Besides, his usual hateful outbursts against the person and personality of President Museveni rehearsed over the years, he never offers any policy alternatives so as to demonstrate his leadership abilities.

To him it’s not about contributing any meaningful ideas for any cause of public interest. It’s only about riding on any issue like this administrative function of the city authorities, turn it into a matter of high political altercation and then leverage himself unto the platform of being the saviour of the polity. This is simply cheap popularity, selfishness and nothing else!

Urban Planning Failure

Besigye says in his article that the boda boda phenomenon is a result of failure in urban planning. Well, for the sake of argument, we can concede on that.

This planning failure dates as far back as the independence period. But so what? Should we therefore accept the historical mistakes created and live by them forever? What broader remedies is he therefore articulating?

Unfortunately, i didn’t even find any one robust proposal about city and urban planning, in his party manifesto for all his consecutive attempts at the presidency. The rhythm here of his commentary seems to be that we should not make any corrective measures to address this failure in all aspects.

Because Dr. Besigye spends most of his time dreaming of a Tahrir Square revolution to remove President Museveni, he doesn’t seem to be aware of government’s deliberate policy action to streamlining the management of the city. That is why an amendment to the constitution was successfully moved in parliament in 2005 to give Kampala a special status and thus uplift it’s management from the standards of a district to that of a city .

KCCA has within two years been grappling with many challenges, ranging from fighting corruption at city hall that had been more or else institutionalized by the former KCC, where most of Dr Besigye’s allies sat.

KCCA Executive Director, Jennifer Musisi (R) meeting singer Bobi Wine as part of preparations for the Kampala City Festival

They sold everything from markets, roads, toilets, cemeteries, to mention but a few. KCCA therefore deserves support and not judgment at this moment in time when bold decisions have to be taken so as to turn the tide in as far as city management is concerned.

Of course Besigye’s own political prejudices and selfish quest-for -power- schemes, cannot allow him to appreciate at least for once a bi-partisan measure like this one of bodaboda regulation aimed at improving order in the city.

He lacks the honesty and objectivity to do so. A clean Kampala with good paved and maintained roads and an efficient transport, sewerage and drainage system among others, is certainly good for all, Besigye inclusive. We must talk and walk the talk.

For Dr Besigye on the other hand to try and anoint himself a champion of the low incom earners like bodabodas (bamufunampola) is laughable. He lacks the moral high ground to do so. His insensitive political actions in the city, speak volumes of nothing else but economic sabotage on the part of such low income earners.

By trying to make a case against KCCA and demonize it’s staff, he is trying to lure the bodaboada operators to his side and thus boost his dwindling political fortunes. I am however happy that many of the bodaboda groups including those opposed to KCCA have resoundingly rejected such selfish politicians trying to ride on their cause.

They are aware of the political game plans of these politicians that only want to use other groups’ social problems as blessings in disguise. Besigye knows the reception these Boda-bodas have given him, the many times he has attempted with his aides to penetrate their meetings in the city.

They have suffered enough at the hands of his own self financed city protests in Kampala, the impact of which have negatively retarded their daily operations.

Yet a day in the life of these low income earners without earning means sleeping on an empty stomach; while Kizza Besigye is gorging himself on huge donor funding sourced with the video clips and photos of him engaging the police in food markets of vendors. And at the end of it all, he uses his dividends to put up lavish- state of art homes and properties.


This is outright selfishness. While KCCA is building roads, beautifying the city, organizing the vendors and other business operators, Besigye is busy procuring hooligans to burn tyres on the brand new constructed bitumen roads in endless protests.

That is his only contribution to the city management. The only beneficiary here of course, is none other Besigye and his agenda; and not certainly the bodabodas or matatu operators. He cannot therefore claim to be championing their cause in any way.

The management and regulation of public transport is purely an administrative function of KCCA captured very well in the Kampala Capital City Authority Act.

The sole objective of the exercise is to have a functioning and safe mass transport system starting with organizing bodabodas, taxis/matatus and also explore possibilities of introducing city buses and trains to ease traffic. This is the direction we are on.

Let all Ugandans therefore, politicians like Besigye inclusive, stop being stumbling blocks to the work of city administrators. The attempts to harass and violently attack KCCA staff while carrying on their lawful duties will be firmly dealt with by government.

I must commend most sincerely the executive director of KCCA and her staff who have for the last two years endured a lot of challenges as they go about their work and try to put things right. I cannot fail to remember for example, the open and harsh intimidation Jennifer Musisi and her staff endured as they fought hard to reclaim one of the prime city authority properties in the name of mabua house, from Gen. Tinyefuza one of Dr Kiiza Besigye’s recently acquired friend and ally.

They stood their ground with the support of government and worked against the shameless maneuver of this army general to steal the property. They recovered the house finally. It was a heroic act on the part of our KCCA staff.

I continue to salute them for that boldness in defense of public interest and good. Could this be the militant behavior that Dr Besigye accuses KCCA managers of, in his article? If so, we have no apologies to any one!

The tendency by some people (especially those that individually benefited from unregulated and corrupt systems in the city) to deliberately frustrate new city management initiatives aimed at improving the city image cannot be accepted any more.

Government will stand firmly with the innocent and legally empowered staff of the city authority and protect them to do their work. Where the city personnel engage in acts of indiscipline they will definitely be punished.

Finally I wish to appeal to all Bodaboda groups that have queries and complaints against KCCA operations to bring them forward so that we can resolve them and move together. Let’s all win by supporting initiatives which will improve Kampala to those good standards that other cities world over run on and which we so dearly envy when we travel abroad.

Frank Tumwebaze,MP

Minister in charge of the Presidency and Kampala Capital City.

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