The planned re-opening of the old taxi park is hanging in balance as Kampala Capital City Authority - KCCA has delayed to complete the planned works.
Last month, KCCA resolved to open the park on October 20th October, 2021 after renovating administration offices, fencing the park, demarcating stages and painting the kerbs.
However, until now, KCCA has not yet fenced the park, not renovated the administration office and has not demarcated stages. Uganda Radio Network (URN) visited the park today and there was no construction on going as the premises are still guarded by police. Government is using the park as a COVID-19 vaccination center, while vendors have taken advantage of the absence of taxis to operate from the park.
URN asked KCCA Acting Spokesperson Juliet Bukirwa Muwanguzi if they are set to open the park on Wednesday as planned, but she simply said they will communicate. She couldn't confirm re-opening or extension of the re-opening date.
//Cue in: "KCCA has been...
Cue out: ...with everything conclusively."//
KCCA has so far completed the drainage system, the carpet and installed some lights in the park. Apart from the works that KCCA wanted to complete before re-opening on Wednesday, KCCA is also meant to construct toilets, a clinic and passenger shelters. These Bukirwa says can be constructed after re-opening.
Rashid Sekindi, the Uganda Taxi Operator's Federation, an umbrella body for taxi associations like Kampala Operational Taxi Stages Association (KOTSA), Uganda Transport Development Agency (UTRADA), Uganda Taxi Operators and Drivers Association (UTODA), and Kampala Inter-Taxi Association (KITA) says they are in talks with KCCA to re-open the park.
Sekindi says KCCA asked them to form a uniform body and resolve wrangles at some stages as they await opening which they did and reported back to KCCA. He says they will meet KCCA tomorrow to conclude on re-opening of the park.
//Cue in: "Nze aba'taxi...
Cue out: ...kuddayo olunaku lwenkya."//
Meanwhile, It is not only the incomplete works that are threatening KCCA's plans to reopen the park, but City Tycoons who claim ownership of part of the park are also in court to block it's re-opening.
Companies claiming ownership of land in the park include Abamwe Transporters, Kabale Distributors, Contractors and Transport Services, DKS Uganda Limited, Key and Ham Investment. Others are Aponye Uganda, Lukyamuzi Investment, City Oil, Shumuk Industries and the Giant Eagle Mobile Phones.
They say that in 2017, they entered an agreement with KCCA to develop the land and give back what belongs to the private companies who got lease agreements from the authority when it was still Kampala City Council.
The companies have for long wanted to take possession of their plots but couldn't since taxis operated there and taxi operators vowed not to leave.
The park was meant to be reopened in August 2020, but KCCA worked behind schedule saying that heavy rains and the restrictions on movement affected their speed to deliver. But when the carpet was done and the drainage system completed, the fight over land became prominent.
Tomorrow, KCCA will meet the leadership of taxi operators to discuss the planned re-opening of the park.