Tear Gas in Kampala as Taxi Drivers Protest Levy

At least six people have been arrested this morning as taxi drivers in Kampala protested payment of 120,000 shillings levied by the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).
At least six people have been arrested this morning as taxi drivers in Kampala protested payment of 120,000 shillings levied by the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).

KCCA law enforcement officers moved in today to enforce payment of the levy to be paid monthly by all commuter taxi drivers in disregard to a court order stopping the same.

As part of the protest, about 10 taxi drivers parked their cars in the middle of Entebbe road around Clock Tower forcing anti-riot police to fire tear gas to disperse the demonstrators. Central Police Station Commander James Ruhweza, who was in charge of the police at the scene, started plucking vehicle number plates which he took. Ruhweza told Redpepper that as police they are enforcing the law and that the drivers should pay the money.

Three weeks ago, Kampala minister Frank Tumwebaze directed that the drivers start paying the monthly set fees.  He said all taxis operating in Kampala which have not complied with payments for the month of May and June will not be allowed to operate in the city.

Tumwebaze’s directive was in total disregard of a High Court ruling on April 10 this year that stopped KCCA from levying the 120,000 stating that the city authority was collecting the tax without an enabling law to justify its existence.

In March last year drivers and conductors under their associations, Drivers and Central Conductors Association (DACCA) and the National Union of Taxi Operators (NUTO) petitioned court challenging the new levy. The petitioners were led by Mustafa Mayambala, Henry Charles Ssentongo, Rashid Mugenyi, and Yose Kaweesa.

In May, KCCA executive director Jennifer Musisi complained that the revenues in the city had dropped after the court ruling. Musisi said the Authority had lost over one billion shillings since the court made the ruling in April.

During the budget reading on Thursday last week, Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka said KCCA should work with the police to collect the money from drivers.

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