On Wednesday, a team of law enforcement officers from Kabale municipality backed by anti-riot police officers stormed Garage and Kigongi Street in Central division and forcefully evicted the mechanics, taxi and bus operators to move to Mwanjari cemetery.
Mechanics, Taxi and Bus operators in Kabale town are up in
arms against the municipal authorities for forcefully relocating them to Mwanjari
cemetery in Southern division. The mechanics were spread in the three divisions
of Kabale Municipality while the Taxi and Bus operators have been operating
from Kigongi along Kabale-Mbarara High Way in Central division.
Early last month, Kabale municipality authorities ordered
the all motor vehicle and bicycle mechanics operating along Garage Street,
Kigongi, and Kekubo in the central division, Rwakaraba and Lower Bugongi in
Northern division and Taxi and Bus operators to relocate to Mwanjair Cemetery
by May 1st, 2021. However, both the mechanic, taxi and bus operators
ignored the directive.
On Wednesday, a team of law enforcement officers from Kabale
municipality backed by anti-riot police officers stormed Garage and Kigongi Street
in Central division and forcefully evicted the mechanics, taxi and bus operators
to move to Mwanjari cemetery. Elly Maate, the Kigezi Region Police Spokesperson,
says the police was called in to ensure the affected move as directed.
//Cue in: “the municipal council decided…
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//Cue in: “hariho obu okushanga…
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However, the implementation of the eviction has angered mechanics and transport
operators, accusing municipality authorities of rushing to chase them yet Mwanjari
cemetery has a lot of gaps. Amon Tumuramye and Richard Asiimwe both taxi
drivers describe the relocation as unfair because the municipality has failed
to work with the police to erect a post in Mwanjari cemetery to boost security.
Rogers Niwasasira, Hope Asiimwe and Frank Tukamwesiga Kamani
are mechanics and have been operating along Garage Street. They fault the municipal
authorities for failure to conduct enough sensitization about the relocation,
which is likely to business.
//Cue in: “Ekitatushemeize batwihayo mu…
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John Mpagyi and Akimu Masikiyo also mechanics and welders from Garage Street
fault the authorities for relocating them without installing electricity in
//Cue in: “hati bo bari…
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Bless Akantorana, another Mechanic says that much as they
are not opposed to development, the Mayor Emmanuel Sentaro Byamugisha has applied
politics by suffocating their complaints on grounds that they supported his
rival in the 2021 elections.
He says that the mayor has failed to explain that
the fate of mechanics that paid Shillings 600,000 to acquire lockups in Mwanjari
cemetery but were later bounced.
//Cue in: “Bamwe nkeitwe turikyiriza…
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However, Kabale Mayor Emmanuel Sentaro Byamugisha insists that
all mechanics and transport operators must relocate to Mwanjari cemetery to
pave the way for the construction of storied shopping malls along Garage Street
as well as end congestion in Kigongi along the highway.
He also explained
that they have already installed a 3-phase power transformer in Mwanjari and
asked the mechanics to consult UMEME about other issues they have.
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//Cue in: “amashanyarazi ekyokubanza gariyo…
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Byamugisha refutes accusations that the relocation is politically driven.
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//Cue in: “tiheine omuntu owu…
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In 2019, Kabale Municipality completed the redevelopment of
Mwanjari cemetery in Southern
Division along Kabale-Katuna road by erecting lockups, lavatories and clearing
space to accommodate the garage, Bus, and taxi parks.
However, taxi and bus drivers decided to operate in front of Uganda
National Roads Authority (UNRA) yard in Kigongi along Kabale-Mbarara high way
after the demolition of Bus and Taxi Park in Kigongi to pave way for the
ongoing construction of a market under the Markets and Agricultural Trade
Improvement program – MATIP III.
In November 2019, Kabale municipal authorities held a meeting with mechanics
and asked them to voluntarily relocate to Mwanjari cemetery in vain. The
mechanics argued that Mwanjari cemetery is not strategic for their customers.
In February 2020, taxi and bus drivers staged a demonstration leading to
running battles with police and UNRA officials for chasing them from their ward.