BY RICHARD DRASIMAKU
ARUA.Tuesday, February 09, 2021: Eleven years after he promised to give the bodaboda cyclists in Arua district a dump-truck, President Yoweri Museveni has finally delivered on the pledge.
Truck Reg. No: UBH475V was handed to the jubilant leaders of the Arua bodaboda association at the Mayor’s gardens on Tuesday by the presidents’ private secretary for youth affairs, Alfred Thopachu.
“The lorry was already swallowed by somebody. Then he vomited it and now it is here. Let us forget about those things that happened,” Safi Tiyo, the bodaboda’s association chairman said.
He was making reference to the allegations that the truck was purchased before the general elections but carjacked by the state minister for finance (general duties) Dr. Gabriel Ajedra.
However Ajedra has since clarified that he could not deliver the truck because he did not have the logbook.
Tiyo said they would convene a meeting of the association members to decide on how to manage the utilization of the dump-truck since the request to the president and subsequent pledge was made when Arua district comprised the current Arua city and Arua, Terego and Madi-Okollo districts.
The delivery of the truck leaves one item-a public address system-pending from being fulfilled from a package of four items that Museveni promised to the bodabodas in 2010.
The other pledges which were already fulfilled are 30 tons of rice seeds for planting that was given at the start of the campaigns for the 2011 general elections and a sh10m cargo container that was used to set up an office for the cyclists.
Additionally, the president also hand-shook the Arua bodabodas with sh50m for their savings and credit cooperative that though was mismanaged, triggering infighting and grumbling.
“This Tipa Lorry is going to either make or break us. If you cannot use this lorry very well, there are many people out there who need a lorry. We shall take it away and give it to them,” the Arua Resident City Commissioner, Martin Oroch warned the bodabodas.
He implored them to make sure the lorry is used to generate more money to support the bodaboda groups, many of whom depend on hired motorcycles.
The Arua district chairman Sam Wadri Nyakua re-echoed those sentiments, advising that the bodaboda’s leadership must make clear guidelines on how the truck would be managed.
He also appealed to the Arua business community to build the capacity of the cyclists’ association to uplift the industry.0