By Mary Karugaba
PREVIOUSLY, they have been against boda boda (commercial cyclists) in the city centre, MPs now seem to be treading different paths.
Meeting Kampala Capital City Authority senior management yesterday on the operations of the boda bodas in the city, MPs were rather divided on whether they should be removed or not.
While MPs Fox Odoi, Jovah Kamateka and Jack Wamai Wamanga supported the idea of removing them in order to decongest the city and prevent numerous fatal accidents caused by the cyclists, other MPs argued that KCCA should devise means of how to accommodate them.
The MPs argued the boda boda riders were the biggest contributor to the uncoordinated road usage in the city and the associated traffic problems.
“They should be completely removed and taken to Wakiso and other areas,” Odoi proposed.
Wamai argued that the problems of accidents and congestion in the city will never be resolved if KCCA does not act on the cyclists.
He proposed that if possible, KCCA should create special lanes for them. “We will not resolve the problems of accidents and congestion in the city if we don’t deal with these individuals,” he said.
According to KCCA deputy director Judith Tumusiime, they are over 54,000 boda bodas operating in the city and in 2012, a total of 8743 accidents were caused by boda bodas.
“These high numbers have been associated with Accidents, injuries and deaths. Other problems include security concerns and their failure to comply with traffic regulations,” she said.
Unlike in the past where KCCA had proposed to throw them out, Katusiime said there were no plans to remove them.
“These are our people we don’t want to chase them away because this is also their means of survival. However we want them to operate safely and also ensure safety of the other people,” she said.
Her arguments were supported MPs Matsiko Kabakumba, Brenda Nabukenya, Gerald Karuhanga and Yona Musinguzi who argued that the solution is not to chase them away but regulate their operations.
“These people are our brothers, do you want them to go and steal? This is their source of income. They earn their living from here. Rather than chasing them away, KCCA should streamline their operations,” Nabukenya argued.
Kabakumba who confessed to have used a boda boda and reached on time argued that boda bodas were here because of the high demands.
“The question is to do with congestion but I don’t believe in removing them. If we failed to create zones for taxis, shall we manage the zoning of boda bodas?” she asked.