By Stuart Yiga
To an ordinary Ugandan, Abdallah Kitatta is just one of those ordinary city dwellers clamouring for recognition.
To those close to this country’s politics— most especially NRM party politics, the Bodaboda 2010 founder is a prolific party mobiliser and one of the few common men with the president’s ear.
Who is Kitatta?
Kitatta was born in 1978 at Kasenene village in Kyampisi Sub-county, Mukono District to Hajji Muhamud Naggoba and Hasifah Nabukeera. Listening to him narrate his walk into the president’s circles, you can only conclude that it is a typical grass to grace tale punctuated with utter luck.
“My endurance and experience in the bodaboda trade is what has enabled me to rub shoulders with my boss President Museveni,” Kitatta says.
Kitatta began his bodaboda trade by ferrying passengers on a bicycle at Kasangati in Nangabo Sub-county, in Wakiso District; where he largely grew up under his mother’s care. In the really 2000’s, he began frequenting Kampala city centre, where he would bring clients on his motorcycle to which he had by then graduated. Being an outspoken man however, within a very short time he had gained popularity amongst his colleagues in the bodaboda industry as well as hundreds of clients he dealt with.
Becomes Bodaboda Boss
In the run-up to the 2011 presidential campaigns, Kitatta used his fame and creativity to form Bodaboda 2010, an association that would later endear him to the president. “For a long time bodaboda cyclists were being under looked and viewed as illiterate people yet this isn’t the case. Amongst us are graduates who failed to secure formal jobs and decided to earn a living through bodaboda. This is why I formed Bodaboda 2010— to go a uniform voice to the bodaboda riders and also fight hard to improve their welfare,” Kitatta says. Initially, president Museveni had witnessed the power of bodaboda when he rode on a motorcycle to one of his rallies. “This is something that I galvanized and showed him that if he took us seriously, we were a big constituency,” Kitatta adds.
From that time, Kitatta has fought for the welfare of bodaboda cyclists; but most importantly, he says this fight is precipitated by his love for president Museveni. “Ever since I met president Museveni, I realized he is a blessing to this country and as a result I can’t stand anyone who tries to get in his way,” Kitatta says. He reveals that oppressing bodaboda cyclists is pushing them into supporting and being exploited by the opposition as was the case before. This notion is the reason Kitatta has been at loggerheads with Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Executive Director Jennifer Musisi.
“Ever since I met president Museveni, I realized he is a blessing to this country and as a result I can’t stand anyone who tries to get in his way,” Kitatta says.
“My biggest problem with Musisi is that she handles everything with an elitist attitude yet the best way to go would be exercising some little compromise for the good of all affected stakeholders,” Kitatta says. The latest standoff between these two Museveni apologists manifested week ago when they disagreed over the election of taxi bosses. Using his position as Chairman of the National Union of Drivers Cyclist and Allied Works (NUDICAW), Kitatta organized the elections in which Mustafa Mayambala emerged winner. The elections were contested by Musisi, who has since nullified them saying she has already contacted the Electoral Commission to organize genuine free and fair elections on November 29, 2014. Musisi protested these elections from the onset but Kitatta somehow overruled her when she sought the help of Police and the Security Minister to push them.
A devoted Muslim with two wives and six children, Kitatta is entrenched in the NRM party politics where he acts as National Chairman Youth league for Lubaga Division on top of being President Museveni’s mobiliser in charge of bodaboda and taxis. And despite his modest education, Kitatta is a man on a mission to see president Museveni rule uninterrupted.
“We want to see President Museveni’s name and shining all the time such that even if he departs from this world, his legacy can keep alive for ever just like his mentors: the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Nelson Mandela of South Africa, among other pan-African historical leaders,” he says.