A group of boda boda riders has dragged government to court for stopping them from carrying passengers as one of the measures to control the spread of Coronavirus.
On Monday, riders under the National Federation of Professional Cyclists Network(NFPC) filed a case before the civil division of the High Court in Kampala challenging the continued ban on transporting passengers by boda bodas.
Currently, boda-boda motorists are restricted to only delivery services and transporting passengers under emergency circumstances despite other transport service providers like taxis and buses being allowed to carry passengers.
“Government’s restrictions on the boda boda transport business not acceptable or demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society and therefore an infringement and threat to the concerned people’s economic right to carry out their lawful occupation, trade or business,” the boda boda riders say.
The riders say that restrictions on the boda boda business while allowing others to run are unfair and not justifiable in a free and democratic society.
They further claim that they derive their livelihood from the boda boda business for themselves and their families on top of other dependents whereas 80% of their work comes from carrying passengers.
“Boda boda riders and owners have loans borrowed against their respective motorcycles and the interests on the loans are continuously accruing even during this current lockdown.”
According to them, the boda boda riders want court to declare as illegal, and unacceptable government’s continued ban on carrying passengers.
“Court should declare that the refusal by government of Uganda to allow people engaged in the boda boda transport business to carry passengers is not acceptable or demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society and therefore an infringement and threat to the right to life and the right to food,” the boda boda riders say.
“Court should issue an order directing the government of Uganda to immediately allow people engaged in the boda boda transport business carry passengers and cargo.”
The riders say that in the alternative, government should be directed to make provision, concessions and arrangements for the welfare and wellbeing of the people engaged in the boda boda business during the current partial lockdown.