By Nangayi Guyson – Reporting from Kampala – Uganda Public transport taxi drivers and conductors have started a two day sit down demonstration paralyzing transport sector in the country.
By Monday morning, Commercial motorcycle riders, Boda Bodas, in Kampala where in brisk business and doubled fares after most Taxi drivers parked their vehicles in protest.
Taxi drivers and conductors announced a countrywide demonstration protesting what they called Uganda Taxi Operators and Drivers Association (Utoda)’s continued harassment of drivers and charging of exorbitant illegal loading and welfare fees.
“We have decided to park our vehicles at home come Monday to show dissatisfaction over what Utoda is doing. They are forcefully and illegally collecting exaggerated welfare dues from us and harassing our drivers to the extent of beating them up like young children,” the DACCA chairperson, Mr Mustafa.
However on Monday early morning, a section of striking members under Drivers and Conductors Central Association (DCCA) issued a statement , calling off the strike, but there appears to be no immediate impact.
The Association’s Publicity Secretary, Mr Kasawuli William, urges all drivers to resume work normally as they wait to meet Vice President Edward Ssekandi on Monday and President Museveni later tomorrow.
The agreement was reportedly reached at during an emergency meeting between the Association officials and Information Minister Mary Karooro Okurut.
Uganda Public transport taxi drivers and conductors strike comes a week after Traders’ strike which lasted two days protesting the high taxes, the depreciating Shilling against the US Dollar and high licensing fees.
By around midday an unknown number of people had been arrested for stoning Taxi drivers who had refused to take part in the demonstration.
The striking drivers want the “illegal” Welfare Fees collected by UTODA from drivers scrapped. They also say they are harassed and sometimes illegally detained by UTODA officials. Government is promising to investigate these allegations to resolve the impasse and normalize travel within and outside the city.
Uganda has so far faced three major demonstrations, Walk to work, Traders’ and now Public transport taxi drivers and conductors’ demonstration which political analysts say is showing President Museveni’s fading regime.