The ‘new normal’ caused by the novel Coronavirus pandemic has taken furthest extremities in modern times. It has come along with utmost discomfort and disruptions to everyone in one way or another, though some have utilised the silver lining of the dark cloud.
We take an insight into the ‘Boda Boda probe’ where queries have been raised as far as the effectiveness of the directed Standard Operational Procedures (SOPs) are concerned; passenger registration, sanitisation and the temperature guns.
These new measures were announced in the recent presidential address and are very essential in mitigating the risk of spreading the virus though the tricky part is about their implementation.
First and foremost, passenger registration aids to track the contacts in case of any realised patient. But a great percentage of the Boda Boda riders across the country can barely write their own names properly.
Some expressed the rage against the operation procedures on local televisions arguing that “it’s not time for school now”. It’s worse for the riders outside the major towns since the job is presumed to be for the uneducated.
More so, record keeping while dealing with a motorcycle that has no trunk, dashboard or a docket where to place the given stationery is a great challenge.
In Uganda, like elsewhere in developing countries, the informal sector has been hit hardest mainly due to prior lack of systematic organisation. This can be elucidated by the dominance of illiterates in the sector who are short of sensitisation about the need for a few basics like registration, trade unions and government collaboration that could make it easier to bring forward help as well as ease the implementation of the policies.
Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) under former Executive Director Jennifer Musisi had started a campaign to register all the Boda Boda riders in the city for easy monitoring and evaluation which was frustrated by many stakeholders who deemed it useless at the time.
Perhaps if the campaign had become a success, it would be easier to monitor the riders’ records, avail the temperature guns, sanitisers and any other kind of help without prolonged delay.
The Boda Boda business has only been sidelined to cargo since the lockdown was imposed in March, inevitably reducing the income since the main clientele base of passengers was prohibited.
This dilemma could have been resolved earlier than expected if there was proper organisation in the industry.