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Kabale Truck, Special Hire Drivers, UNRA in Fresh Row Over Space

Tom Tibyangye, a special hire driver, says that while using the space, he saw UNRA trucks pouring soil while tractors dug holes in the remaining part. Tibyangye says that they were never given prior notice to vacate the space and reasons why UNRA no longer wants them to use it.
Part of the disputed space (Photo Credit Samuel Amanya)

Audio 5

A fresh row has erupted between Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) and special hire and truck drivers over parking and operating spaces in Kabale town.

The truck and special hire drivers are known for operating and parking in the space opposite UNRA offices, Kabale Municipal and District Yard in Kigongi Central Division along the Kabale-Mbarara highway. 

However, on Monday, UNRA employees poured heaps of soil into the spaces and ordered special and truck drivers to vacate. The authority deployed armed police officers to ensure that no driver forcefully accesses the space.

The move has drivers and central division authorities wondering why UNRA is acting harshly. Juma Mugisha, a truck driver plying the Goma-Bunagana-Kampala-Mombasa route, says that whenever he is on the journey, he would often park his truck opposite Kabale municipality and district yard for the night.

He, however, says that he was surprised on Monday to find heavily armed police officers deployed at his spot. The officers asked him to proceed on grounds that UNRA no longer wants any vehicle there, which prompted him to proceed to the Bunagana border for parking.

Tom Tibyangye, a special hire driver, says that while using the space, he saw UNRA trucks pouring soil while tractors dug holes in the remaining part. Tibyangye says that they were never given prior notice to vacate the space and reasons why UNRA no longer wants them to use it. 

Rukiga Audio 

//Cue in: “Twarebire beija bareeta…

Cue out:…mu obunyaasi,”//

John Happy and Barnet Akatwijuka, both special hire drivers say that they only saw police officers from a drone vehicle ready to beat them on grounds that they are not supposed to park opposite UNRA offices, Kabale Municipal and District Yard in Kigongi.  

They say that they had no option but to run away.   They say that the space is strategic for their customers. The two say that they have received credible information that UNRA is chasing them to pave way for the beautification of the space by planting grass and flowers.  They condemn UNRA’s decision and wonder why grass and flowers should be given priority over parking. 

Rukiga Audio

//Cue in: “so itwe tubeire…

Cue out:…kukora ahaboneire,"//

Engineer Felix Tumukunde, the UNRA Manager In-charge of Kabale, says that the Authority is implementing resolutions of the meeting between the Central Division, and Kabale municipality authorities held in 2019.

Tumukunde says that during the meeting, it was agreed that the drivers use thespace for only one year and vacate for UNRA to beautify it.  He says that all relevant authorities in the municipality were given prior notice that UNRA wants to plant grass and flowers in the disputed space in order to make the road reserve look green.  

//Cue in: “UNRA ekabaha notice….

Cue out: …omwanya gwaabo.”//

Sam Arineitwe, the Central Division LC 3 Chairperson blames UNRA officials for acting irresponsibly by chasing away drivers without notifying the Division and Municipal authorities. Arineitwe says that despite the meeting that happened in 2019, there were some issues that remained not harmonized.  

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Rukiga

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This is not the first time, UNRA, drivers and authorities are feuding over the same space. In February 2020, drivers staged a protest and blocked Kabale-Mbarara road after UNRA chased them away from using the space. 

It took the intervention of the then Kabale District LC5 Chairman the late Patrick Besigye Keihwa to calm down the situation. He promised to handle the matter with UNRA Executive Director, Allen Kagina.

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