Kampala Capital City Authority [KCCA] has commencing today January 9, taken over the operations and management of all taxi parks in Kampala; effectively disbanding the various leadership groups that have been running the sector in the capital.
The City Authority will now manage all the gazetted parks and all taxi operations, together with Uganda Police Force.
The announcement was made this morning by Junior Minister in charge of Presidency and KCCA Hon Muluri Mukasa, who was flanked by the Authority Executive Director Mrs Jenifer Musisi at the media centre in Kampala.
The various taxi operating associations that have been manning the parks and stages around the city were directed to disengage immediately and allow KCCA and Police to conduct the affairs “without any form of provocation, intimidation or violence.”
The directive according to Minister Mukasa, is the culmination of continued indiscipline, infighting and corruption amongst the bodies, all of which threatened whittling away the substantial progress registered by KCCA in the transport sector over the past two years.
Currently, two warring bodies, Taxi Parks and Stages Committee [TAPSCOM] and Uganda Transport Development Agency [UTRADA] have been manning the operations, along with several other smaller bodies.
While TAPSCOM has been more cooperative to KCCA in the administration of stages and parks in the city, the minister noted that its leaders equally lacked internal discipline.
“My office has been recipient of many complaints of extortion by members in the taxi industry. KCCA has investigated these reports and those found culpable have been arrested and tried in courts and in the case of Law enforcement assistants, they have had their contracts terminated,” said the Minister.
The fighting between these operating bodies Mukasa said, had been exacerbated by the increasing number of taxis in the city [about 12000 have been registered so far] and that if such indiscipline was not contained, it would cause more mayhem in the transport sector.
In line with the directive, the Minister thus banned the taxi associations from managing taxi parks and or stages, including their exits and entries.
The bodies can no longer demand for any payment from taxi drivers or conductors or the public and must immediately vacate the offices belonging to KCCA.
This minister also cautioned them against inciting the taxi operators into any form of violence, intimidation and sabotage, adding that government would not hesitate to reprimand all those implicated.
The drivers and operators that are not willing to work under the new arrangements were asked to find somewhere else to take their taxis outside the capital.
The announcement comes as taxi operators waited for KCCA’s announcement of the next election of their leadership following a highly contested poll in Nakivubo last year.
Mrs Jennifer Musisi revealed at the press conference, that as a result of the acrimony that marred the previous poll, KCCA decided to cancel the election.
“We thought that for us to have a meaningful election, we need to first get these ramblings out of the way,” she said.
The direct government intervention comes against the backdrop of dismantling all housing structures in the volatile Kissekka market in what appears as part of a wider strategy to crackdown on criminality and also bring sanity to the city.
Kissekka market had turned into a hub of violent and unemployed youth who on several occasions engaged police and security forces in street battles.
The youth in downtown Kampala were also being used by a cross section of politicians to participate in assemblies which authorities described as “illegal gatherings” that destabilise the city and disrupt flow of traffic.
“The public is hereby assured that the Government shall protect their interests and regulate the public transport industry and ensure that better services are delivered,” said Mukasa.