Security Minister Gen Elly Tumwiine, says history and Covid-19, have demonstrated that internet and boda boda services are luxuries which Ugandans can live without because of the danger they pose to the country.
Addressing members of the e-trade association at his office in Kampala on Thursday, Gen Tumwiine, said bodas boda, food delivery and internet services are innovations initiated “just yesterday” and they are becoming a threat to the public and yet previously, “we have lived without them and stayed safe.”
“I can now tell you that all these things you think are important, are not. History and Covid have shown that we can do without travel and stay safe. You can do without internet; it came yesterday. Safe boda is just coming, even boda bodas are recent; they are of yesterday. We have been living without food being delivered,” he said.
He explained that government would rather close businesses like the internet and boda boda services because they had proved a threat to national security as wrong elements had started taking advantage of them to blackmail government and promote crime ahead of the just concluded elections.
On Thursday, members of the e-trade association of Uganda comprising of companies which offer services via internet met the Security minister to request government to relax some of the Covid- 19 restrictions like curfew which were imposed when the virus pandemic broke out last year, because of the way they have been affected. The Associations represented included the Uganda Tourism Association, Jumia Uganda, Safe Boda and Tugende and the Restaurant Association of Uganda.
Mr Ron Kawamara, the chief executive officer Jumia Uganda, said their businesses have been impacted negatively by the curfew restrictions which, among other things, hinders them from picking and dropping clients to airport, delivering food especially dinner to evening clients, early closing hours for restaurants and tough restrictions to boda boda riders especially those who are caught up still working during curfew hours.
The minister advised them to write down their complaints and also come up proposals of how they think they can be assisted to return to business without compromising the standard operating procedures so as to contain the spread of the pandemic.