Uganda: Boda Boda Riders Sue Govt Over Unending Lockdown

Boda boda operators yesterday sued government for not allowing them resume passenger transport.

Through their association, the National Federation of Professional Cyclists Network (NFPC), the boda boda riders state that government is acting in a discriminatory manner by allowing other businesses, particularly other public transport service providers, to reopen and yet stop them from carrying passengers.

The lead petitioners are Mr Fred Kagaba, Mr Twaha Semakula, Mr Yassin Ssemujju and Mr Umar Jjuko Kateregga.

In the suit, they are seeking "a declaration that government refusing people engaged in the boda boda transport business to carry passengers is not acceptable or demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society and, therefore, an infringement and threat to their economic right to carry out their lawful occupation, trade which is contrary to the Constitution."

The suit was filed in the High Court in Kampala.

The President has relaxed the Covid-19 lockdown and partially reopened public and private transport, allowing vehicles to carry half capacity passengers, but insisted the boda bodas can only cargo.

Mr Museveni reasons that there is barely no social distance between the rider and the passenger, a scenario that can accelerate the spread of Covid-19.

However, Mr Kagaba, one of the boda boda leaders from Nabweru in Kawempe Division, contests this reasoning in his affidavit to support their petition.

"I verily believe that by its nature, the boda boda does not spread the Covid-19 disease more than the other forms of transport such as private cars, mini buses that have been allowed to carry more than one passenger in an enclosure," Mr Kagaba avers.

"Unlike in enclosed cars, boda bodas are open and the rider does not face the passenger," he adds.

Through their lawyers of Wameli & Co. Advocates, the boda boda cyclists want court to compel government to reopen their business of carrying passengers, which they say is their only source of livelihood and income.

They want court to order government to make arrangements for them to access some financial support until they are allowed to resume operations.

They also say they are ready to abide by standard operating procedures such as washing hands and wearing of facemasks that have been put in place by the Health ministry to prevent the spread of Covid-19, if they are allowed them resume work.

Background

The President has relaxed the Covid-19 lockdown and partially reopened public and private transport, allowing vehicles to carry half capacity passengers, but insisted the boda bodas can only carry cargo.

Mr Museveni reasons that there is barely no social distance between the rider and the passenger, a scenario that can accelerate the spread of Covid-19.

More From: Monitor

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.