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Boda boda registration kicks off in Kampala city

13 September 2013, 21:00 Godfrey Olukya

Kampala - Authorities in Uganda have started registering motorcycles in Kampala as one of the strategies of improving traffic order in the city although the exercise has met resistance from some cyclists.

The exercise was supposed to start on September 9, but boda boda operators in the city resisted and rioted against the exercise claiming it was a ploy by Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) to get rid of them from the city.

That led to a group of boda boda operators demonstrating in the city on Tuesday and police responded by using teargas to disperse them, arresting over 80 cyclists. One boda boda operator was shot dead by police.

Since the Tuesday incident, the registration of the motorcycles has continued but starting with those who do not use them for boda boda transport. Those who use them to ferry people have been given two more weeks in order to be sensitised before being registered.

Kampala City Council Authority estimates that there are over 200 000 motorcyles used to transport people in the city. Such motorcycles are locally called boda boda having derived the name from Busia, a town at the border of Uganda and Kenya where bicycles were used for  transporting smuggled goods from either side of the border.

Uganda government has confirmed that the registration of boda boda is not geared towards pushing riders out of the city but to streamline the industry for better running of business and planning for the sector.  

The minister for Kampala who also doubles as minister for presidency, Frank Tumwebaze, said, "There are many boda boda factions in the city that claim to be the umbrella body of all boda boda association which have different views about the exercise, causing confusion in the sector and the city. In the coming two weeks, we will sensitise boda boda associations to see to it that harmony is created to have the exercise kick off peacefully."  

However, opposition politician, Joseph Sewungu, is opposed to the rash by KCCA bosses in this exercise.

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