We Have No Riding Permits - Hoima Cyclists

1887 Views Hoima, Uganda

In short
Swalleh Mani, the Chairperson of Hoima District Boda Boda Riders Association says his association has 1,400 members with majority of them having no riding permits.

More than half of all registered boda boda cyclists in Hoima district do not have riders' permits.
  
Swalleh Mani, the Chairperson of Hoima District Boda Boda Riders Association says his association has 1,400 members with majority of them having no riding permits.
  
Mani says the process of getting permits does not favour the low income earners because one has to go to either Fort Portal or Kampala which becomes expensive.
  
Mani urges Face Technology, the company contracted by the government to issue out permits, to at least open up a branch in Bunyoro sub region to cater for the growing numbers.
  
Mani it takes more than 300,000 shillings to get the permit without considering money for accommodation and transport to Kampala or Fort Portal.
  
Brian Mubiru, a cyclist hailing from Mubende district but has been working in Hoima for over three years, says that police haven't been friendly to the suspects. Mubiru says the reason they abandon the motorcycles at the police station is because of the harsh treatment they get after being arrested.
  
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George Tumwesige a cyclist who has been in the trade for five years accepts that he does not have a permit. He says he wants to get a permit but is hindered by the expensive process.
  
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During the Budget reading in June, government increased the driving licence fees from 66,000 to 150,000 Shillings for those getting new permits. Those renewing their permits now pay 130,000 up from 60,000 shillings. The new fees are expected took effect on July 1.
  
Police in Hoima now think the lack of riding permits could be a factor in rampant accidents involving cyclists. Stephen Muhoozi, the officer in charge of traffic, says up to 30 road accidents involving motorcycles are reported in Hoima every month.  
  
Muhoozi now says the reason the accidents involving boda boda cyclists surpass any other kind is that majority of the riders in the district are neither trained nor do they have permits.
 
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There are dozens of unclaimed motorcycles at the Hoima central police station and most of them were impounded after being involved in accidents.
  
Muhoozi says that after the motorcycles are impounded very few suspects turn up at police to record statements and hence leading to the pile up at the station.
  
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About the author

Thembo Kahungu
Thembo Kahungu is interested in journalism that changes lives. A recent example is when a suspect in state prosecutor Joan Kagezi was held longer than the law states. Kahungu is proud to note that it was his follow up on Geoffrey Kato's unlawful detention that led to the freedom of the boda boda rider.

Previously based in Kasese, Kahungu has been reposted to Hoima town. Kahungu is now the Uganda Radio Network Hoima bureau chief.

Kahungu has been a practicing journalist since 2007. He was a reporter for Radio Messiah and Kasese Guide Radio. He was also the Kasese Daily Monitor freelance writer. He has also been a teacher at Liberty College of Management and Journalism in Kasese district.

Kahungu is deeply interested in investigative journalism. Kahungu has developed a big interest in covering issues to do with Oil, Gas and Mining after attending a fellowship in Ghana in October 2015 under the sponsorship of Natural Resource Governance Institute.