Smelling Politics In Lukwago, Nyanjura’s Boda Boda Court Case

Check any casualty hospital ward anywhere in Uganda, they would tell you that majority of the ugly accident victims are a result of the recklessness of the boda boda riders.

By Isaac Mutema

There is always a thin line between politics and justice in legal cases filed by politicians. Politicians being politicians; they are ever going to exploit any situation and the law itself to achieve political ends.

Without prejudice to the merits of the case itself or even lack of it, I dare hazard a guess that the recently filed case by Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and her deputy, Doreen Nyanjura in respect of the registration of boda boda riders in Kampala, is premised more on politics than the law— or at least– commonsense.

The government is registering the boda boda operators to know who is operating where, how and when.

An independent person would find what government is doing to be perfectly justifiable as well as a well-intentioned move.

The boda boda riders have gained notoriety for robbing passengers, carrying robbers as well as murderers. No argument about it, I would presume.

They ride the way they choose. They drive into cars and pedestrians, recklessly throw down passengers and don’t generally have any kind of respect for the traffic lights or zebra crossings let alone any traffic law.

Check any casualty hospital ward anywhere in Uganda, they would tell you that majority of the ugly accident victims are a result of the recklessness of the boda boda riders.

Apart from the above, the boda boda riders are infamous for defiling the young girls and raping female passengers.

Not to forget the fact that they are brokers for criminals who detect who has money and valuables and then accordingly inform the criminals.

Over all, the boda boda riders are one of our generation’s public nuisance much as they help to carry and drop us around quickly.

That having been said and done, any move to regulate those boda boda riders and their operations would accordingly be the most welcome development in the eyes of any well-meaning person.

Yes, we can argue about the procedure being adapted in regard to the exercise but not the substance (justification) of the whole idea itself.

If other categories of Ugandans’ operations are regulated by the authorities, it would be foolhardy and even erroneous for anyone to act in a manner as if to suggest, he or she, is advocating for a leeway for a certain category of Ugandans to behave and operate businesses the way they wish.

Granted, the boda boda people have a right to operate business and earn money. No one would begrudge this right of the boda boda riders or is even trying to take it away from them.

But, and I repeat but, they should go about enjoying those rights subject to regulation. There shouldn’t be any shortcut about this.

Take the example of the Lord Mayor, Ssaalongo Erias Lukwago himself. He is entitled to practise law as a lawyer.

Yet and yet, he must do so subject to possession of a practising license from the Law Council.

Let me put it simplest. Even if Lukwago were to possess a practising license, that won’t give him a license to appear before a judge when he isn’t fully robbed.

Even when the ceremonial robes or lack of it, won’t in themselves make him a much better lawyer, or not,at the end of the day.

Yes boda boda riders have a right to do their thing, but Lukwago and Nyanjura must help them to do so within the law.

Otherwise, the boda boda sector is currently full of wrongdoers since no one knows who is who in that trade.

The chaff can therefore only be separated from the finest stuff, by regulating the industry.

Accordingly, let us help the sector actors clean their house by encouraging them to adhere to regulation other than using politics to mislead them for our own political selfish ends.

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