Tear Gas, live Bullets Rock Kabale as Taxi Operators Strike Again

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.
13 Feb 2020 15:36
Tear gas

Audio 7

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 highway.

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 their business.

//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 their office.

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