KAMPALA, UGANDA: The Minister for Works and Transport Gen. Katumba Wamala has revealed that the Old Taxi park will reopen this week.
Addressing journalists on Wednesday at the Media Centre, Katumba said that they have agreed with Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA to hand over the park by Friday or Saturday this week for the Works Ministry to demarcate stages.
According to Gen. Katumba, the re-opening of the park is one of the measures intended to enable the safe return of learners to school.
In May 2020, Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA started renovations of the park and planned to complete the works in three months. However to date, the park remains closed with works partially done.
By October 2021, substantial works that include laying the pavements and constructing the drainage system had been completed and KCCA planned to construct toilets, passenger sheds, demarcating stages among other issues before re-opening.
However, the KCCA Council resolved to open the park on October 20 as works continue, a decision that hit a snag after five companies sued KCCA for trespassing on their land secured an interim injunction halting the re-opening.
The companies are; Lukyamuzi Investments Ltd owning 0.058 hectares, DKS Uganda Ltd (0.135 hectares), Key and Ham Investments Ltd (0.058 hectares), Abamwe Transporters Ltd (0.067 hectares), and Kabale Distributors Ltd (0.55 hectares).
Late last year, the companies also secured a temporary injunction stopping KCCA or any of its agents from using the land until the matter is resolved in court.
Gen. Katumba says that KCCA shall continue dialoguing with the five companies as works in the park continue. A source with information from KCCA told URN that the Authority is discussing compensation with the landowners.
The spokesperson of Kampala Operational Taxi Stages Association, Moses Birungi says that the park should be operational before schools reopen to enable safe travel of students.
Rashid Ssekindi, the chairman of Uganda Taxi Operators Federation-UTOF welcomed the plan to re-open the park saying it is timely. Asked about their preparedness to get back to the park, Ssekindi said that every operator is expected to return to their respective stage.
In 2020, KCCA and the Ministry of Works embarked on a process to register and issue route charts to taxis. But taxi operators challenged the process citing duplication of stages and issuance of temporary charts to new operators without considering the old ones who had membership at the different stages in parks.
Ssekindi says that as they resume operations, taxi operators shall follow their stage guidelines until government finalizes the registration of taxis and the operationalization of route charts.
Gard Mugisha, the Chairman of Taxi Owners Association says that several of their taxis have been impounded for wrong parking due to lack of a designated area to operate.
KCCA had allocated Burton street and Cooper complex for taxis to park but these were not enough for the more than 400 taxis that lacked parking space.