Anti-riot police was forced to fire teargas to stop a demonstration in Kabale town on Thursday.
The demonstration was staged by taxi operators to protest a decision by Uganda National
Roads (UNRA) blocking them from operating in front of its yard.
Last month, taxi operators started loading and offloading
passengers in front of the Kabale UNRA yard in Kigongi along the Kabale-Mbarara
It came after the municipality demolished both the old and new taxi
parks to pave way for the construction of a modern market under the Markets
Agriculture and Trade Improvement Programme-MATIP III.
However, early last week UNRA chased away the drivers and
deployed police officers to keep them away. UNRA also dug two ditches from
either side of the yard to stop vehicles from crossing there. The development angered
taxi operators which resulted into a protest last Saturday.
They were calmed down by Brian Ampeire, the Kabale District
Police Commander and Central Division LC 3 Chairperson, Sam Arineitwe who
promised to immediately engage UNRA for a possible solution.
Today, taxi operators staged another protest by blocking all
roads in Kigongi demanding UNRA to allow them continue using the yard. Patrick Twesigwome and Denis Kabudene
Ampumuza, concerned taxi operators say that chasing them in front of the yard has
left them stranded with nowhere to operate from.
They say that UNRA’s decision to chase them has suffocated
//Cue in: “ ekyizibu kyeitu turi…
Cue out: ….ekintu bakakitukorera.”//
Mathias Niwaha and Emmanuel Kabugutano Hafashimana, other
concerned taxi operators say the aim of the demonstration is to show UNRA that they
have a right to be treated like other Ugandans since they also contribute to
the country’s development by paying taxes. They say that the available space in Mwanjari
cemetery is not strategic for taxi business.
//Cue in: “ nashasha munonga kwimuka…
Cue out:…nkabateine mugasho.”//
Police under the command of Brian Ampeire, Kabale District
Police Commander and Henry Kisembo, Kabale district officer in charge of Field
Force Unit police fired live bullets and tear gas to taxi operators after they
forcefully gained access to the disputed space.
This made operators more angered after a police officer broke a back window screen of one of the taxis using a tear gas canister.
//Cue in: “ kati gwe okuba…
Cue out: …mu town.”//
Later, Darius Nandiinda, Kabale Resident District Commissioner
in an exchange of bitter words with UNRA and police officials ordered taxi
operators to occupy the disputed space as talks continue. Nandiinda and ordered
UNRA officials to fill the trenches they had dug on either side of the space.
//Cue in: “ the road had…
Cue out: …that side.”//
//Cue in: “ tubeire turakyimanya na…
Cue out: …bakoragana neitwe.”//
Emmanuel Sentaro Byamugisha, Kabale Municipality Mayor and Patrick
Besigye Keihwa, Kabale District LC5 Chairman say that they had agreed with the UNRA
executive director Allen Kagina to allow taxi operators continue using the
disputed space wondering how things later changed without their knowledge.
//Cue in: “ one it is…
Cue out: …more talks.”//
//Cue in: “turenda kubashaba ngu…
Cue out: …tura behevinge.”//
One of the UNRA officials who declined to reveal his names
told our reporter that they were forced to dig trenches after taxi operators continued
dumping fecal matter packed in polythene bags and other garbage in front of