Hoima drivers protest exclusion from receiving Covid-19 funds

Hoima taxi drivers gather in the park complaining about exclusion from receiving Covid-19 relief fund. (Photo: Gad Asaba)

Drivers operating from Hoima Taxi Park have threatened to stage a peaceful demonstration protesting the purported city authorities’ failure to include their names on the list of beneficiaries of Covid-19 relief fund.

Government through the Prime Minister’s office and the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development allocated Shs100,000 to each household with various categories of vulnerable people in cities and municipalities across the country.

Such vulnerable included drivers, motorcycle taxi drivers commonly known as boda-boda riders, salon operators and others whose work was either totally stopped or restricted to a certain level to slow down the spread of Covid-19.

However, although some people have received the money in Hoima city, many including drivers, and boda-boda riders still complain that they are yet to see any single penny wired to their cell phones as per the government promise as the financial crunch caused by the lockdown continues biting harder.

Some drivers like Peter Byaruhanga and Musa Kalanzi say although their names were initially included on the list of beneficiaries, they were later allegedly replaced with others.

They claim that the money has been wired to phones of the non-vulnerable instead of the targeted groups.

It is against this backdrop that they threaten to stage a peaceful demonstration to attract the attention of the city authorities so they can act accordingly.

Byaruhanga and his colleagues: Godfrey Kasozi and Moses Atugonza say out of the 600 drivers who registered to benefit from the fund, only 15 received it wondering the criterion that was used in selecting the beneficiaries that led to the ultimate conclusion.

Imran Tumwesige, the Secretary Hoima Boda-boda Cyclists Association, says there are some people who received the money in the names of the riders; leaving the actual cyclists go without any money.

Samuel Kisembo, the Hoima Resident City Commissioner, says the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development directed the city authorities to register 9,460 households but they received more than 18,000 applications from the city dwellers to benefit from the fund.

Audio: Kisembo on drivers’ Covid-19 relief fund (English)


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