Legislators representing constituencies within Kampala city have opposed the proposed public transport plan that Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) intends to implement once the current COVID-19 induced lockdown is lifted.
Kampala Minister, Betty Amongi recently announced that in the post-COVID-19 lockdown, taxis and boda bodas will be locked out of the city to allow authorities to streamline public transport in Kampala.
According to the plan, boda boda cyclists and taxis will not immediately resume operations within Kampala’s central business district but will take another 28 and 42 days respectively once the national lockdown is lifted.
But the MPs namely, Moses Kasibante (Lubaga North), Ibrahim Kasozi (Makindye East), Muhammad Nsereko (Kampala Central) and Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West) say that the Kampala minister came up with the plan minus conducting the necessary consultations with city leaders and the relevant stakeholders.
They wondered why the government is taking advantage of the COVID-19 lockdown to implement unpopular policies that were defeated in the past.
Among the proposals is the phasing out of 385 boda boda stages and create boda boda free zones in the city. KCCA has so far mapped out 970 stages for boda boda cyclists plus restricting commuter taxis’ access to the city centre.
To the MPs, these proposals will further impoverish the urban poor who have suffered the most during a lengthy and crippling COVID-19 lockdown.
Singling out the requirement for the cyclists to join digital hailing platforms like Uber, Safe Boda, Bolt among others, Kasibante reasoned that it is illegal for the government to force the cyclists to sign up to the platforms without proper laws and guidelines.
He said that under the arrangement, the cyclists are being exposed to exploitation by the proprietors of the hailing companies.