Transport is paralyzed along the Jinja-Kampala highway following a strike by taxi and bus operators in Busoga region to protest the fines in the revised express penalty scheme.
All access roads in Busoga region have been cut off by the striking transport operators. At Kiira and Nalubaale bridges only private cars are being allowed to cross from Jinja to Kampala and vice verse. The protesters vandalized several passenger vehicles from Luuka, Kaliro, Kamuli, Kenya, Soroti and Mbale accusing their owners of betrayal because of their failure to join the strike.
They also stormed both the Jinja taxi and Bus parks, took control of the parks and blocked all taxis and buses from leaving. Khalid Muyingo, the Chairman Jinja Taxi Operators Association – JITOA says they are dissatisfied with the newly revised traffic police express penalties scheme, and want government to revise it. He says the fines in the express penalty scheme are too harsh, exorbitant, and could throw many of them out of business. Shaban Muliisa, who plies the Kampala-Jinja route, accuses police of attempting to extorting money from them using the new regulations.
He explains that their strike will continue as long as it takes for government to strike a compromise with them on the fines in the express penalty scheme.
Samuel Bituli, an official at Kutch road East stage says none of the taxis that operator at the stage showed up today, Police is engaged in running battles with the drivers to try and clear the road. Samuel Madira, the Kiira North District Police Commander says his men are clashing with the drivers at Bugembe because they want to block all vehicles coming in from Kenya, Soroti, Mbale and Iganga to Jinja and Kampala. He explains that the protesters vandalized three buses belonging to Kalita, YY and Gateway coaches as they travelled along Jinja– Iganga highway.
He says despite the fact that they have contained unrest in Jinja town, no passengers are moving. The driver’s strike has left several travelers, mostly to Kenya, Soroti and Mbale stranded at Jinja barracks roundabout in Jinja. Leah Njoroge, a student at Kampala University says she booked her ticket to travel home in Nairobi – Kenya to pick her tuition but only learnt of the strike at 7am this morning.
Several people employed in Kakira, Wairaka, Bugembe, Walukuba, Mpumudde, Namulesa, Mbiko and Bukaya decided to walk to work as motorcycles were also blocked from carrying passengers.