Ugandan Broadcast Journalist and recently-converted fitness walking enthusiast Joseph Beyanga today announced he will be walking 320kilometres from Kampala to Bushenyi to highlight road safety concerns in Uganda.
Beyanga said he would walk from Kampala to Bushenyi in honour of his father, Emmanuel Batsikana, who walked from Bushenyi to Kampala in 1945 to create a better life for his family and community.
“As I celebrate my 45th birthday this year I will dedicate it to my father’s legacy and walk for a cause I am passionate about – road safety in Uganda under the #StayInYourLane tagline. It will be a dream come true for me and I want all Ugandans to take up this rallying call for the good of the entire country,” Beyanga announced.
Joseph Beyanga, Manager of KFM Radio, spearheaded the “Stay in Your Lane Campaign” on twitter which mobilized social media users to hold road users mostly motorists in Kampala – accountable through pictorial naming and shaming of errant road users.
Under the banner of ‘Joe Walker and Friends’, Beyanga will embark on the 320kilometre walk on Monday 28th February 2022 and arrive in Bushenyi on 12th March 2022. Lasting 10 days, the tour will feature various locations along the route, all being televised and posted to social media platforms, with visits to various locations requiring road safety signage and additional measures.
Beyanga promised to translate his passion into an exciting tour for more people to emulate in future, while highlighting the need for safe roads and healthy living.
Beyanga started fitness walking barely a year ago after his doctor advised him that it would help treat some stubborn allergic reactions. His adventures walking around the different parts of Kampala city and in other places in Wakiso District showed him how much fun it is to walk but also how difficult it can be especially in busy areas where motorists and cyclists are discourteous to pedestrians.
“Walking helped me appreciate different communities and their lifestyles whether in luxurious residential areas like Kololo or sleepy slums in Namuwongo. The “Joe Walker and Friends” tour is therefore being done to highlight all these issues I have seen and which I believe need to be worked on by both the government and the ordinary citizen, including the role of road safety, living a healthy lifestyle in Uganda’s social-economic transformation, and what we can do better as Ugandans,” he said.
Ronald Gayiya, Fleet Manager, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa in Uganda (CCBA) said that this initiative is very dear to the company as it involves saving the lives of people.
“We are in the business of people, so we take a lot of interest in making sure ‘our people’ stay safe. We are stepping out of our four walls to lend our voice to this campaign because losing lives due to road accidents should be a thing of the past. We are very passionate about road safety, and we believe the safety of the road user matters a lot,” he pointed out.
“Looking at the hard numbers, in 2020, we registered over 3,633 fatalities translating to 10 persons dying per day, 869 succumb to disabilities implying that they cannot provide for their families. Looking beyond the numbers, we believe as CCBA Uganda, we have a role to play, and the same burden is shared with the road users. We need to pause, reflect and make deliberate actions to respect the road whether you’re a pedestrian on the road, cyclist, taxi or bus driver, all lives matter,” he continued.
“This campaign makes us reflect on whether we are doing the right things on the road. Many of these accidents are within our control. This partnership will take us a long way in retarding this curve, bring sanity on the road and ultimately protect lives. That’s why at CCBA Uganda, we came here to spread this awareness about road safety,” he reiterated.
More than 12 people die per day in road accidents in Uganda, translating to more than 3,663 deaths annually. The majority of the victims are pedestrians and Boda Bodas. The acting traffic Director Lawrence Niwabiine attributed the high road deaths and injuries to the behavior of riders, cyclists, and, drivers who tend to see pedestrians as less important people.
Secondly, the need for mindset change among Uganda’s majorly young population is imperative for them to be aware of the need to be safe and also observe healthy living. The World Health Organization has also reported that more than 20% of Uganda’s population is overweight, underlying the need for a national emphasis on healthy living.