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Taxi Drivers in Busoga Protest New Traffic Guidelines

The drivers blocked major highways mainly the Iganga-Mbale highway, Jinja-Kamuli highway, slowing traffic on the major highways.
Police deploys heavily to quell angry protestors in Bugembe town council.

Audio 3

Taxi drivers from different districts in the Busoga sub-region on Monday protested the new traffic guidelines that require them to pay fines instantly.

Last month, the Police launched an electronic Express Penalty System-EPS for errant drivers. 

According to Dr Steven Kasiima, the Director of Traffic Uganda Police Force, the system will help to reduce the number of drivers dodging the payment of penalties. The system has functions, which include identifying the offender, tracking vehicles with pending penalties, reading vehicle number plates and driving permit details and outstanding penalties as well as a payment system. 

The angry drivers blocked major highways mainly the Iganga-Mbale, Jinja-Kamuli highway which slowed traffic. 

The drivers staged roadblocks within Bugembe town council, Iganga municipal council roundabout, Nakalama, and Busembatya trading centre,  Mafubira, Namulesa, Buwenge, Kasambira, and Kiloba. 

Passengers remained stranded on the side of the roads as no taxi was allowed to transport them.

Drivers, however, turned chaotic and started pelting stones to drivers and motorists who defied their protests, prompting police intervention.

Alamanzani Kakaire, a driver from Namutumba district, argues that, ever since the new system of paying fines through mobile money was introduced, traffic officers within their district have not laboured to sensitize them on the new development, but rather arrest the drivers who lack money to pay the fines instantly.

//Cue in: “twakela…

Cue out…pakinga,” 

Ben Kikudu, a driver who operates in Iganga and Mbale says that the fines are meant to be paid by vehicle owners and not drivers as stipulated in the new guidelines. 

Kikudu adds that drivers are not given time to negotiate their way out with the owners of the taxis.

//Cue in: “bwebakwata…

Cue out…munda,” 

Suuta Kidandadali, the vice chairperson of taxi operators Jinja district says that the new system warrants them to pay fines of vehicles which they no longer drive.

Kidandadali stresses that some fines attached to their permits have accumulated in millions and drivers are not in position to pay them.

//Cue in: “ebipapula…

Cue out…bivewo,”

The Jinja RDC, Eric Sakwa, says that he will ensure that the police increases sensitization of drivers on the various provisions of the newly introduced traffic guidelines so as to create harmony within the transport industry.