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Uncategorised • 2018-01-08 19:32:52


In Uganda, there is increased use of commercial motorcycles commonly known as boda bodas as a means of transport. The Boda boda industry plays a major role in enhancing access to transport, communication and commercial activity contributing to development.

However, some boda boda riders perpetrate violence against women in many forms. It has been noted that some riders use their power over the provision of transport to sexually exploit women and girls who do not have enough money to pay for the transport services.

Communication for Development Foundation Uganda (CDFU) working with the Uganda Police Force, in partnership with UN Women and with support from the Embassy of Sweden, organized a dialogue with boda boda riders in Kampala City Centre to solicit their views on how to prevent Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG). The dialogue took place at city square and attracted 154 boda boda riders.

One of the one of the bodaboda riders claimed that issues of gender rights are making women become big headed. “Some NGOs are changing the way people behave, especially the women. They have gone against the teachings of religion and society. Women want to become men” he noted

However Dr. Izeduwa Derex-Briggs, the East African region UN Women Representative explained that gender rights do not mean that women become men or to disrespect men. “Equality is not woman refusing to cook for their husbands. It means that treat women like you treat men. If you are building a hospital, provide for women. In schools, recruit female teachers to cater for girl’s needs. Stopping a woman from working is a violation of her right. If you don't want her to work, then open for her business near home, she noted.

     Dr. Izeduwa Derex-Briggs, the UN Women East Africa representative addressing the boda-boda riders

Dr. Derex-Briggs told the boda boda riders that Violence in all its forms is bad. “Imagine seeing your wife or daughter being beaten, defiled or raped! Would you be happy? she asked. Dr Derex advised boda boda riders that there are other ways to resolve a dispute with a person than beating. “When you beat, you cause other problems, you can even end up killing somebody, she explained. She called on the riders to learn to control their anger to avoid violence.

According to Ms. Carol Kushemererwa, the OC Child and Family Protection Unit, Kampala Central Police Station, three quarters (75%) of cases brought to her attention that include family and child neglect, defilement, assault, etc. are caused by boda boda riders. “Men leave home and don't leave money for food, when they return, women refuse to have sex with them and fighting begins” said Ms. Kushemererwa.  

The boda boda riders however expressed concern that much as the government of Uganda has progressed in formulating laws and policies to prevent GBV, the laws are not popularized while others are too weak. “If you find your wife having sex with another man, the fine is only 25 currency points equivalent to five hundred thousand shillings only” that is too low to deter people from committing crimes.

One of the boda boda riders contributing to the discussion

In addition, the riders expressed concern on the way women and girls dress (miniskirts and leggings) claiming that it puts them at risk of being raped or defiled. However, when pressed to explain why men defile babies in pampers, the boda boda riders became defensive saying that such men are usually under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

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