Taxis returning to park in Mbarara city despite govt ban over COVID-19

Some of the few taxis parked in the park

Mbarara, Uganda | URN | Taxi drivers in Mbarara city are slowly returning to the park in anticipation of resuming work after the 42-days lockdown. At least more than 20 minibuses occupy the once empty taxi park.

When President Yoweri Museveni announced the 42 days lockdown to contain the second wave of COVID-19, the taxi operators packed their vehicles in their homes, parking lots and garages. However, with the countdown to the end of the lockdown, drivers are slowly returning taxis to the park.

James Asiimwe, a taxi driver along the Ibanda-Mbarara road says that he expects the president to lift the lockdown and allow them to resume their operations. He says that unlike the first lockdown where they received some relief food, this time around they received none.

He expects the president to allow them to resume work under strict observance of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Kassim Muhangi, a taxi driver plying Mbarara-Ntungamo road told this publication that he had taken his vehicle to the washing bay waiting for the president’s announcement.

He says they have patiently parked their vehicles and pray that the president lifts the lockdown. David Oshabiire, a taxi tout pleads with the president to ease the lockdown noting that they are finding it hard to fend for their families. “The fact is things to do at home are failing me. I have eaten all my savings and added a simple loan from our association, I pray President Museveni lifts the lockdown,” he said.

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James Mwesigye, the Mbarara Resident City Commissioner warned the taxi drivers against trying anything against the Health ministry regulations and standard operating procedures. He says they should wait for the president to speak rather than taking their own choices or they face being arrested.

Anthony Ampumuriza who vends drinks in the taxi park says the return of the taxis in the park is a sign that people are hopeful that the president will lift the lockdown, saying that they are also tired of staying home. He says that a friend who stayed in town called him back after seeing the number of taxis in the park increasing.