With just days to the elections, President Museveni has ordered Kampala Metropolitan Police to immediately hand over all boda boda motorcycles impounded on minor offences back to the owners.
According to Kampala Resident City Commissioner Faridah Mayanja, the President saw impounded motorcycles at police stations and wondered how the owners were earning a living. He then ordered their release.
“The President ordered boda bodas impounded on minor offences to be given back to the owners,” Ms Mayanja said.
Across the country, police and other security agencies have been impounding motorcycles on a range of traffic offences and violation of curfew since March last year.
Most of the motorcycles have since remained at the police stations as the owners cannot afford the fines or couldn’t afford legal representation in court.
Police have not yet made a summation of all the impounded boda bodas in Kampala Metropolitan area since the lockdown.
It is alleged that Mr Museveni’s order came after boda boda riders, whose motorcycles had been impounded, cried for his help last week.
Most of the impounded motorcycles that had remained at police stations for three months were due for auctioning.
Kampala Metropolitan Police deputy spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire confirmed the President’s order and said they have already started releasing the motorcycles to the owners.
Some owners respond
“Some owners of the impounded motorcycles have come and picked them. Others should visit the police stations with their national identity cards and proof of ownership of the motorcycles and pick them. We are only giving out motorcycles impounded during curfew and over minor offences,” Mr Owoyesigyire said.
Some of the errant motorcyclists had been given express penalty scheme tickets and were expected to pay the fines in the bank before picking the motorcycles.
Mr Owoyesigyire could not tell whether such a group will be considered or not, but said they should visit the station and meet the officers to agree on the way forward.
He said motorcycles impounded after the motorcyclists committed capital offences will not be released until the cases have been disposed of.
The President’s amnesty only applies to motorcycles in the Kampala Metropolitan area.
The order comes ahead of the Thursday national polls.
In 2019, Mr Museveni ordered the release of city residents who had been remanded for offences of vending and being idle and disorderly. However, the prisons authorities did not receive an official order from government and, therefore, did not release any suspect.