18 March 2017

Uganda: Why Killers Find It Easy Using Boda Boda in Murders

Photo: Anthony Wesaka/Monitor
People gathered at one of the shops along Market Street in Kampala to watch television news about Assistant Inspector General of Police Andrew Felix Kaweesi's murder.

Kampala — For the last seven years, at least 12 killings have been carried out by killers riding motorcycles commonly referred to as boda boda, who escape from the crime scenes and are never traced in spite of police efforts.

The common characteristic of the killings, according to the Security minister, Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde, is precision, confidence and fearlessness. "They shoot and make sure that the person is dead before they leave the scene," Gen Tumukunde said.

But, the question is why are these killers using boda boda? The director general of Internal Security Organisation, Col Frank Kaka Bagyenda, said the killers use boda boda for mainly two reasons: "They can easily escape from the scene. But also, they can disguise as commercial boda boda riders on the road after committing the crime," he said.

Col Bagyenda says there is need to organise and monitor the boda boda industry, which employs many educated and uneducated jobless youths.

"We cannot criminalise the boda boda industry. What needs to be done is to increase vigilance and also reorganise the industry," he said.

Poor planning and monitoring of the industry has contributed to this menace.

Riders join and leave the industry anyhow.

As a further indication of the chaos in the sector, many operators have no licence to operate and it's hard to know how many boda boda riders are in the country.

The boda boda riders operate at night and many of them are not even registered anywhere.

The former president of the Forum for Democratic Change, Dr Kizza Besigye, says the lack of clear monitoring and supervision of the boda boda riders is one element of what he called, "a collapsing state".

Many times boda boda riders do not follow traffic rules and it's easy for fleeing suspects to be riding at a high speed escaping from the crime scene and be mistaken to be a normal boda boda rider.

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