Taxi operators appeal to KCCA to open Old taxi park. Taxi operators have appealed to Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA to open the old taxi park which was closed for renovation in May 2020.
KCCA failed to complete works in three months as planned attributing the delay to COVID-19 which forced the country into lockdown during which movement of workers was limited. Heavy rains have also been blamed for the delay.
The KCCA Spokesperson Daniel NuweAbine says that the Authority wasn’t ready to open the park because of pending works like installation of security lights and construction of toilet facilities, passenger shelters, an office for KCCA staff, and a health clinic.
NuweAbine said it will be difficult to complete the works once the park is opened.
But, the Chairman of the Kampala Operational Taxi Stages Association-KOTSA Rashid Sekindi says KCCA should open the park since the carpet and the drainage systems have been completed.
He says KCCA can proceed with the rest of the construction as taxis also operate. Sekindi says a number of taxis operating on the streets are burdened by parking fees which amount to least 10,000 daily. The fees are paid to Multiplex Limited, a company contracted by KCCA to manage City Parking.
Kalid Bbale, also a taxi driver says KCCA allowed taxis from the old taxi park to operate on streets like Burton streets and outside Magoba arcade but the space there cannot accommodate the hundreds of taxis that operated in the old taxi park.
Bbale says several taxi operators end up parking on other streets or on the roadside where authorities then impound their vehicles over illegal parking. He wants KCCA to open the park for taxi operators to resume operations there.
The taxi park is currently occupied by a few vendors and security personnel mainly from the Field Force Unit FFU.
Although KCCA spokesperson Daniel NuweAbine says it is pending works delaying reopening of the Park, the City Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago recently claimed that there are city tycoons who are claiming ownership of the land where the park is.
“They wanted to take over the land and that is why KCCA sought security intervention to protect the Park,” Lukwago says, adding that the said rich people who claim ownership of some of the plots at the park want to chase away the taxis.
In 2006, ten companies sued Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA over some plots of land at the park for which they claimed ownership.
The ten companies were; Abamwe Transporters Limited, Kabale Distributors Limited, Contractors and Transport Services Limited, D.K.S Uganda Limited, Key and Ham Investments Limited, and Aponye Uganda Limited.
Others were Lukyamuzi Investments Limited, City Oil Uganda Limited, Shumuk Industries Limited, and The Giant Eagle Mobile Phones and Accessories Limited.
The companies say they acquired leases from Kampala City Council before it became KCCA. In January 2017, KCCA and the ten companies entered a consent judgment before High Court Justice Esta Nambayo. They reportedly agreed to develop the park collectively in accordance with the design and structural Master Plan which were to be approved by KCCA within twelve months after signing a consent judgment.
They also agreed that after approval of the plan, KCCA would compensate any of the above developers who would have lost part or all their land.
Again, in December 2020, KCCA entered a Memorandum of Understanding-MoU with the developers agreeing that KCCA would grant them (developers) vacant possession of their respective properties immediately after renovating the park but before taxis can return there such that the developers develop their plots further.
However, NuweAbine told URN that the authority agreed with the developers that they develop the land and the authority compensates them.
Kasubi Parish councilor Jeremiah Keeya Mwanje, also asked KCCA to open the park to permit taxis to resume operations from there. Mwanje says there is fear that KCCA wants to use this opportunity to chase taxis out of Kampala.
He says KCCA should develop a clear and affordable transport plan which should start with developing the road infrastructure.