Makerere University students have launched a social media campaign aimed generating a public debate on the operations of passenger motorcycle transport commonly known as bodaboda’s.
The campaign, launched on micro-blogging site – Twitter, seeks to compel the police and the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to reign in on what the students call recklessness of bodaboda cyclists.
Codenamed #RegulateBodabodas, the campaign comes hardly a week after Charity Komuhangi, a finalist student of Journalism at Makerere University died after being involved in a nasty accident. Kyomuhangi was on June 11, travelling on a bodaboda in Lungujja, a Kampala suburb when they were knocked by a car. She and the bodaboda cyclist, Rogers Kavuma died five days later.
This is the second time in one year that Makerere Journalism department has lost a student in a bodaboda-related accident. In May 2015, John Kabugo, then in his third year of study, died just a week after being involved in an accident.
Last week, Makerere University lost another student, Julie Tumwesigye from the College of Business and Management Studies (COBAMS), who was also involved in a bodaboda-related accident on June 10.
Students think that a campaign of this nature could force KCCA and the police to take action. Davidson Ndyabahika, a former Guild Information Minister, says the move aims at demanding answers from police and KCCA on why there is no visible regulation of bodaboda cyclists on the roads.
Ndyabahika says they want to create creating awareness of the dangers of the passenger motorcycles and to establish “if there’s any measures put in place to regulate them.
Within hours of launching the campaign, comments started coming in with many asking KCCA to regulate bodaboda cyclists.
Godfrey Ssali, a journalism student using @godfreyssali21 said, “Nothing in Uganda best represents lawlessness and recklessness than these men (cyclists). He says the cyclists behave as if they are exempted from traffic regulations.
Blanshe Musinguzi ([email protected]_m) says Uganda is experiencing urbanization and motorization hence the need to regulate transport and reduce accidents. He asks: “Why can’t the Uganda police arrest Bodaboda riders who disregard traffic lights or those who carry more than one passenger.”
Another comment came from Branson (@Branson97733186) who said passengers should take charge when travelling. “Don’t forget that you the passenger, you are the boss with your money… order them efficiently.”
In 2013, KCCA introduced guidelines to regulate bodaboda transport in the city. The guidelines include mandatory registration, training, use of official reflector jackets and helmets. Cyclists are also required to pay a monthly fee of 20,000 Shillings.
The cyclists are expected to register in the divisions where they operate, buy a prescribed colour of the reflector jacket and a helmet, undergo training in first aid and update their permits, before they can get identification numbers.
A 2011 report by Makerere University College of Health Sciences and the department of orthopedics at Mulago indicates that about 40 percent of trauma cases at the hospital are from boda-boda accidents.