Bodaboda riders have pleaded with President Yoweri Museveni to make adjustments in his Wednesday directives, to allow them back on the road with strict limitations.
President Museveni issued an order just hours after Ministry of Health announced 5 new confirmed cases of COVID 19 in Uganda, banning all public transportation including the passenger bodaboda.
Richard Kawalya, a bodaboda rider operating in Nakawa market told us that many of their motorcycles are acquired on loans and therefore Government should allow them to operate and strictly carry only one passenger.
“What we are requesting is that bodabodas should be allowed to carry only one person. This directive should be changed to allow bodabodas carry just one person.”
“We have loans in Banks. I have a bodaboda loan and I have another loan in Pride Microfinance. The directive has found me unprepared; should I sit home and die of hunger? I’d rather die of Coronavirus,” he said.
Bosco Lule, another bodaboda rider told us that the president’s order will hurt mostly the vulnerable.
“You cannot tell me that someone who stays in Mukono and works in town can make it to work and get back home in the evening on foot. Therefore, shutting public transport is more less shutting down people’s businesses.”
“If you are supposed to be at work by 7am, will you wake up at 2am?” he asked.
As the ban enters day 2, it has been apparent that not all bodaboda riders have been badly hit. Those particularly working in and around food markets are still in business, carrying around food.
President Yoweri Museveni while announcing the ban, said he believed that getting rid of public transportation would help reduce crowding with is essential for the spread of the virus.
And while bodabodas many not be overly crowded, the president said people who use them sit too close to each other.