Hundreds of motorcycles are still parked at various police stations in the Kampala metropolitan area, two weeks after a presidential directive for the release of all motorcycles impounded for flouting curfew guidelines.
Uganda has had nighttime curfew restrictions since last year when the country announced a lockdown to control the spread of COVID-19. Although motorcycles are not allowed to operate after 6 pm, under the guidelines, many of them have often defied the directive and, have had their motorcycles impounded.
Assistant Superintendent of Police –ASP Faridah Nampiima, the traffic police spokesperson says that although these were pardoned by the president, the majority of purported owners have failed to present proof of ownership. So far, only 166 motorcycles have been given back to the owners and hundreds are still parked with no claimants.
“Those who were given back their motorcycles proved ownership. Those that are still pending at stations have failed to show proof of ownership. Once one proves ownership, he immediately gets back his motorcycle,” Nampiima said. She added that some of the motorcycles are still being held by police because they were used to commit crimes not related to curfew violations.
Daniel Juuko, a motorcyclist says that it is difficult for them to reclaim their motorcycles because the express penalty tickets against them are bigger than the amount of money they earn in a day or even a week. Juuko explains that although he earns 15,000 Shillings a day, the cheapest traffic ticket is 40,000 Shillings.
“I earn 15,000 shillings a day. But when the police arrest me twice and each time fining me 40,000 shillings, I am left with no option other than leaving the motorcycle at the police station,” Juuko said.
Sam Kayondo, another bodaboda rider says police officers threaten them by giving them EPS tickets of 100,000 Shillings and often, they resort to offering bribes of between 30,000 and 50,000 Shillings. Kayondo adds that sometimes a motorcycle can be impounded three sometimes in a single week.
CID records show 349 motorcycles were robbed at gunpoint or their owners were shot dead or stabbed to death last year.