Members of Parliament want curfew time for Boda boda cyclists extended as the business is expected to start operating again tomorrow, should the President decide so. Kawempe MP Hon. AbduLatif Ssebagala says the curfew should at least go up to 7PM.
The boda boda business was brought to a stop, following the declaration of COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020.
While reading a report on the floor of parliament this afternoon, the state minister for works Hon Joy Kabatsi said that they have come up with SOPs for boda boda riders to resume carrying passengers.
The minister however was quick to add that the SOPs can only take effect after President Yoweri Museveni directs so in his address to the nation on Tuesday evening.
Many legislators were up in arms against one of the SOPs mentioned by the minister, that passengers are encouraged to wear face shields on top of masks.
Hon Mwijukye Francis the Buwheju MP said a face shield is more expensive than a mask, especially since many people using boda bodas are not so rich.
Many other legislators however wondered how the issue of social distancing at different boda boda stages will be handled. They also asked the minister to tell the president to help riders whose motorcycles have been impounded by police for breaking the 5PM Curfew time.
Hon Adong Lilly the Woman MP Nwoya says there is no other means of transport except boda bodas. She says they got a few volunteers who have been transporting people with permission from government.
She requested that people’s lives should not be made worse since they are the very people that voted this government into power. Hon. Adong wondered where people in villages, who cannot afford a meal per day will get a mask which is mandatory for one to use a boda boda.
Meanwhile, Hon Ssebagala said boda boda riders should be give a special package of loans to help them recover. This was seconded by Hon. Centenary Robert of Kasese Municipality who says the boda riders are now a vulnerable group that needs to be helped. Hon. Centenary says he has been forced to use personal money to help riders in his areas.
Hon Haniffah Kawoya the Ssembabule woman MP says that riders should have been employed as service providers to government ministries. She decried the impounding of motorcycles by police who demand for money in order to release them.
She further explained that some shop keepers own motorcycles which they use as transport means to and from work. As such, Hon Kawoya says when one closes shop at 5 pm they will be arrested for breaking the curfew.
The speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga said there are no taxis in Kamuli, a constituency she represents. She says the curfew time for the motorcycles must be pushed.
“Who are they taking at 5? People are leaving work at 5, 6pm and they have to walk. It is because people making these regulations are driven in cars. It has been 4 months and people need to get on with their lives” the Speaker said.
Hon. Kabatsi however asked all MPs to watch TV or listen to radios tonight to find out the President’s move on boda bodas.
Hon Cecilia Ogwal said the minister should know what the President is going to announce and should be addressing parliament on behalf of government.
However, Minister Kabatsi requested to return tomorrow Wednesday with a report. “These are matters of life”. The speaker directed her to sit down if she was not speaking on behalf of government.
Since March, motorcycles have only been allowed to carry cargo and no passengers due to challenges of social distance.