Kampala, Uganda | URN | Kampala Capital City Authority [KCCA] has announced a ban on hawkers in the refurbished Old Taxi Park.
The ongoing construction works on the park are expected to be completed by March 4, 2021. Upon completion, the authorities say the park will have new guidelines for reducing congestion and promoting hygiene.
The Deputy Executive Director of KCCA, Eng. David Luyimbazi Ssali who joined the Minister for Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs Betty Amongi to inspect the progress of the renovation works said they don’t want to see a mix-up in activities in the park-like it has been witnessed in the New Taxi Park.
In the New Taxi Park, hawkers are dealing in different products ranging from foodstuffs and electronics. Vendors have also established stalls selling sugarcane, popcorn and roasting beef which they also hawk in the park to passengers and taxi operators.
Eng. Luyimbazi says the park is for the taxi business, not hawking.
Renovation works at Kampala’s largest park through which over 200,000 people transit every day started in May 2020 after KCCA contracted Sterling Civil Engineering and Kiru General Services at a cost of 10.9 billion Shillings.
According to Eng. Justice Akankwasa, the acting Director of Engineering and Technical Services at KCCA, the works are more than 70 percent complete.
By Friday, February 12, 2021, Sterling Civil Engineering was finalizing works on the carpet at a small section covering stages of Kyambogo, Bweyogerere, Banda, Mukono and others on the side of Burton street. There are three street lights installed.
Also pending is the renovation of the three buildings therein, a walkway and toilets on the side of Burton street, shelters and an electronic traffic control system at the entrance to record details of vehicles coming in and out of the park.
However, hawkers have asked that rather than chase them away from the park, KCCA should streamline their activities. Sulaiman Kiyaga, one of the hawkers says KCCA should register hawkers and restrict numbers operating in the park.
Formerly a hawker, Edward Muyanja, a dealer in carpets at the perimeter of the Old Taxi Park says KCCA should plan better for such small scale dealers and offer a decent work environment but not do away with them.
There is a bylaw in the offing, the Street Vendors Ordinance 2019 which seeks to streamline activities of street vendors and hawkers. The bylaw by KCCA provides for registration of street vendors and hawkers, licensing them, and laying mode and areas of operation among others.
Muyanja says operationalization of such measures is the best way to ensure orderliness in the city without foiling efforts of poor people seeking survival.
Meanwhile, Eng Akankwasa says that as the park reopens, only 344 taxis out of over 450 shall be allowed back. The other taxis will be required to wait outside and only access the park when due to load, a move which is also intended to stop congestion.
But the taxi operators say that they may not find a place to park their vehicles except for the streets on which KCCA doesn’t want them to park at no cost.
Joseph Ssekamatte, a driver at Muyenga Stage says KCCA should engage Multiplex which runs parking space in Kampala to waive parking fees for taxis. The company charges 2,000 Shillings per hour for parking.
The Minister for Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs Betty Amongi says KCCA shall meet with taxi operators to discuss details of how they shall resume operations.