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Inside Museveni’s directive to give Metu Katabazi monopoly over bus transportation in Kampala

President Museveni in Mukono District guided on a tour of Metu Zhoungtong Industries that assembles buses at Namanve Industrial Park in 2021 (Photo/Handout)

President Museveni has directed that Metu Katabazi, the proprietor of Metu Buses under Metu ZhongTong Bus Industries, be given monopoly as the only bus company controlling mass bus transport services for the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area (GKMA).

According to a letter dated November 20, 2023, the president directed Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja to execute his directives and give exclusive permission to Metu Katabazi to run the mass transit services for buses in Kampala and the nearby areas using his locally fabricated buses.

“This is to direct you to give exclusive permission to Mr. Metu Katabazi to run Mass Transit Service for buses in Kampala and surrounding towns using the buses he has fabricated in Uganda,” Mr Museveni’s letter partly reads.

The President argued that the move will empower Uganda’s manufacturing sector and that foreign service providers externalize the money they earn, thus using a local service provider is the best option.

DaiyExpress understands that Katabazi will fabricate buses and also run the bus transport service but the president barred him from importing buses in case of need for more and directed him to buy from only Kiira Motors.

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“Mr Metu is to both fabricate the buses and run the transport service. If his transport service needs more buses than those he is manufacturing, he should, then, buy only from Kiira Motors. He should never import foreign-made buses,” Museveni’s letter reads in part.

President Museveni’s letter directing the monopoly of Metu Buses in Kampala

President Museveni first gave Metu Zhongtong about 100 acres of land to expand its operations in Uganda. This was at the commissioning of the company’s bus assembling plant in Namanve in 2019.

The government expects Katabazi to reduce the congestion in Kampala and minimize the use of motorcycles in the city by replacing them with buses.

The development leaves other companies such as Tondeka which hit Kampala roads early last year and other bus companies out of the mass bus transport system in the Kampala metropolitan.

It remains to be seen how such companies will react to the presidential directive, which has since been forwarded to the executive director of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and later to the director of technical and Authority’s engineering services department for implementation.

Similar Government plan

The former Minister of Science Technology and Innovations, Dr Elioda Tumwesigye, in January 2019 assured Ugandans that before the end of 2019, Uganda will have its own made solar powered buses on the road.

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In 2014, Uganda Investment Authority commissioned two companies- Kiira Motors Corporation owned by Makerere University College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology and China Engineering Limited- to start car production in the country by 2018, but it passed before Ugandans could see a locally made vehicle on the road.

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