Mbarara – A standoff and scuffle between police and Taxi Operators, Drivers and conductors took a new twist following the demolition of temporary structures which they built on Sunday.
Sources reveal that Local authorities were tipped off over illegal temporary structures that were built at night by the Taxi Operators in the taxi park without the authority from Mbarara City Council.
This caused an alarm and the council leadership intervened held a meeting with the security organs which include the RCC, RISO, RPC, DPC who resolved to deploy police and the UPDF to assist the Mbarara City Enforcement team to demolish the illegal structures that were constructed by the Taxi Operators during the night.
When the police arrived in the Taxi park, the harsh taxi drivers, and their touts resisted until they were dispersed by teargas. Later police ordered all vehicles to be moved out of the park.
In an attempt to ‘bring down the illegal structures, the City Enforcement team, in a tractor, was blocked by the angry taxi operators who instantaneously made off with the key.
Police headed by one Kaganzi the FFU Boss in Mbarara engaged in a negotiation with the taxi operators and drivers that they release the key of the tractor, then they also demolish one of the two structures. Taxi Operators agreed to demolish one structure themselves not using the tractor.
In defence, the taxi operators claim that the intention of constructing these structures was for travellers’ resting shade to access their offices and stores
“The council failed to build for us, they are the landlord. It is chasing us from the offices we have been renting at UGX800,000= but later increased to UGX1M each of the two offices we rent in the taxi park,” said Sulaiman Kigundu, a taxi operator,
Speaking to our reporter, Mr. Robert Mugabe Kakyebezi, city mayor, asserted that if the Taxi Operators want to construct any structure within the taxi park, they should officially write to Mbarara City seeking permission to erect the structures.
“These people would have written to the council as a planning authority either to me as mayor or to the town clerk and we see how best we can help them. I tried to advise them but they did not listen to my words so now when I heard that they were constructing at night I had to engage the City Town clerk, enforcement team and the police so that they can be stopped and demolish those temporary structures. And now if these people want office please write to the planning authority, and therefore if not all that the remaining structure should also be demolished” said Kakyebezi.
“I am the one who instructed the enforcement team and police to demolish all those temporary structures in the Taxi park because they were illegally constructed,” said City Clerk John Behangana.