Uganda: Taxi Drivers, Bodas Punish Colleagues Over Covid-19 Sops

Taxi operators and boda boda cyclists across Kampala City have launched a crackdown against their colleagues who are not observing standard operating procedures (SOPs) put in place to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

Daily Monitor has established that the joint operation was triggered by a meeting between transporters and officials from the Covid-19 taskforce.

The deputy chairperson of Uganda Transporters Development Agency (Utrada), Mr Castrol Ssekyaya, told this newspaper in an interview that the operation seeks to ensure that both transporters and passengers are cushioned from Covid-19.

Mr Ssekyaya also said by eliminating defiant elements, they are trying to avoid a repeat of the previous experience where all transporters were suspended.

"The President in his address said he had given us one week to see if we would adhere to the Ministry of Health guidelines to fight Covid-19 and that's why we don't want to take any chances now because the previous experience hit us hard. That's why we are impounding motorcycles and taxis of all those who are breaching the SOPs," he said.

Mr Ssekyaya explained that both the driver or conductor and the occupants of the car must first wash hands, wear masks, sanitise and observe social distance inside the car to avoid direct contact.

But he could not ascertain the number of impounded taxis and motorcycles, saying that the figure can only be got in the evening since the agents operate from different places.

For the last three days, there has been deployment of agents from both the taxi and boda boda associations on city roads donning green reflector jackets to enforce SOPs among their colleagues.

For instance, boda boda cyclists carrying more than one passenger and those whose passengers are not masked up, are arrested and their motorcycles impounded. By 8am yesterday, several motorcycles had been impounded and parked at Bwaise and Mulago roundabouts.

Mr Siraje Kyazze from the Kampala Bodaboda Association (KBA) warned cyclists against defiance, saying as transporters, they have to be responsible for their lives and those of their passengers during this tough time by observing SoPs all the time.

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