Boda-boda riders lose millions of shillings from theft of motorcycles in Gulu

GULU – In the last twelve months, more than 170 motorcycles have been stolen from Gulu West and Gulu East Boda-boda Associations.

The motorcycle taxi, commonly known as boda bodas are the main means of transportation in Uganda and employs about 1.5 million youths according to Ministry of Works and Transport.

Raymond Ocan, the Chairperson Gulu West boda-boda association told theCooperator that they have lost 135 motorcycles which is approximately worth Shs 800 million.

Ocan said, most of their members acquired these motorcycles through loans from the various microfinance institutions that are putting pressure on the association to repay the loans.

The General Secretary, Gulu East boda-boda association, Godfrey Ojok is also facing similar challenges with more than 40 motorcycles stolen from the association within one year.

Ojok said, most of his members are now borrowing the motorcycles from their colleagues to raise money to settle their loans from the financial institutions.

The intelligence report from the security revealed that most of the motorcycles being stolen from the area are mainly taken to Karamoja region.

Denis Odongpiny, the Resident City Commissioner for Gulu revealed in an interview with theCooperator on Wednesday that the thugs are exchanging the motorbikes with cattle from the region.

“We have established their networks which will help our investigation but the most important thing is that we need to improve on our personal security and be vigilant,” Odongpiny noted.

His counterpart, the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Stephen Odong Latek of Gulu District described the situation as a big security concern which needs to be handled with structural approaches within the region.

The Officer incharge of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for Awsa River Region, Justus Twongyeirwe noted that many of such cases were not reported to police.

However, without disclosing the number of theft related cases of motorcycles that police have recorded, he noted that no investigations by the police has been linked to Karamoja.

“Yes, we can’t overrule that from our sister security organs but as police, our investigations have not linked any of the cases to Karamoja for exchange with cattle,” Twongyeirwe explained.

Meanwhile, as the vice escalates in the area, the riders have established a regional leadership structure of a boda-boda association within Acholi sub-region to streamline their governance and operation.

Maxwell Komakech, the Chairperson Patiko sub-county Boda-boda association in Gulu district was elected the Chairperson Boda-boda Association for Acholi sub-region.

The Chairman of the Omoro district Boda-boda Association was elected as the General Secretary, Secretary Finance was taken up by Kenneth Odong from Gulu district.

Ivan Ojok from Gulu West Boda-boda Association became the Regional Speaker and Emmy Ocen from Amuru district was elected as the Publicity Secretary for the association.

The association has also established different committees which include the disciplinary for dispute resolution, enforcement team and the regional coordination team.

Francis Lubangakene, the Chairperson Gulu East Boda-boda Association who doubles as the Chairperson disciplinary committee for the regional association is hopeful that this will reduce crime rates within the association.

He revealed that the association is in the process of drafting a constitution to regulate their operation, governance system; something he says will help protect both their customers and the members.

The elections were conducted on Saturday in Gulu City at Lamaco hotel presided over by the General Secretary Gulu East Boda-boda Association Godfrey Ojok as the Returning Officer.

The Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah was endorsed as the Patron of the association being supported by Rosalba Oywaa with all the Resident District Commissioners co-opted as the opinion leaders.

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