Presidential Directive Escalates Masaka Taxi Park Wrangles

1851 Views Masaka, Uganda

In short
Entry fees were paid by drivers transiting through various towns to their destinations. Under the arrangement, Kampala-Mutukula bound taxi would pay an entry fee at Kayabwe, Lukaya, Nyendo and Kyotera. Similarly, Kampala-Mbarara bound taxis would pay in Nyendo, Kyazanga and Lyantonde.

A directive issued by President Yoweri Museveni to stop taxi drivers from paying entry fees in towns has escalated an already volatile management crisis in Masaka municipality.

President Museveni issued a directive stopping taxi drivers from paying entry fees.

Entry fees were paid by drivers transiting through various towns to their destinations. Under the arrangement, Kampala-Mutukula bound taxi would pay an entry fee at Kayabwe, Lukaya, Nyendo and Kyotera. Similarly, Kampala-Mbarara bound taxis would pay in Nyendo, Kyazanga and Lyantonde.

The fees ranged between 3000 and 5000 Shillings at each station. This money was paid to taxi managers of every taxi park. It however sparked off fights between park managers and taxi driver who later petitioned the president seeking abolition of the fee.

In November 2015, president Museveni scrapped the fee describing it as illegal and exorbitant.

The directive has instead escalated bickering between Masaka United Taxi Drivers, Owners and Cooperative Society, which was contracted to manage taxi business in Masaka town and drivers working under the leadership Bashir Mawanda, the chairman of Masaka Coasters Association.

The taxi park contractors say that the directive has created disorder in the municipality forcing several drivers to load vehicles from the roadside.

But Mawanda says they abandoned the taxi park because it was no longer feasible. He adds that they cannot go back to the park because the new roadside operating area is more convenient for drivers and customers alike.

He says while they used to load only one coaster in the main taxi park, they are now loading eight coasters and at least 14-seater taxis' every hour.

Joseph Kimbowa, the Masaka Town Clerk says the taxi park wrangles have frustrated revenue remittances in the municipality. Each month, Masaka United Taxi Drivers, Owners Cooperative Society limited is supposed to pay Masaka municipality 56 million Shillings from the collections. But they haven't made any remittance since March, Kimbowa says.
 
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George Kiberu, the chairman Masaka United Taxi Drivers, Owners Cooperative society limited has declined to explain why they no longer remit money to the municipality. He said he is not ready to speak about that issue. Masaka municipality is set to advertise the taxi park in July this year.

 

About the author

Edward Bindhe
Bindhe prides himself on being a part of the society he writes about. He believes there is no way a journalist can understand his society unless it considers him a part of it. This is why he is dedicated to investigating the challenges of the "little person."

Bindhe says, "My work reflects the Uganda Radio Network unique approach to news." Not many Ugandan journalists would consider or even notice the re-emergence of Water Hyacinth on a lake. Bindhe does.

Truant children will attract Bindhe's attention until he gets to the bottom of their truancy: poverty and the need to work to earn bread for their families. These are the kinds of stories Bindhe is often after.

Edward Bindhe is the Masaka URN bureau chief. Rakai, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Kalangala, Mpigi, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts fall under his docket. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.

A Mass Communication graduate from Uganda Christian University, Bindhe started practising journalism in 2008 as a reporter for Radio Buddu in Masaka district.