Bwaise Taxi Park leaders clash, bringing business to a standstill

Bwaise Taxi Park leaders clash amid swearing-In controversy

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | Business came to a standstill at Bwaise Taxi Park as outgoing and incoming leadership clashed during a scheduled swearing-in ceremony on Monday 8, January 2024.

In December last year, over 300 taxi drivers and conductors from various stages in the park complained against Francis Nsobya Ssemakadde, chairperson of the park to the developer, Kampala Logistics Center (Kalocen) Investment.

They accused Ssemakadde of disregarding regulations and involving non-taxi drivers (“fees”) in park operations. In response, Col Fred Bogere, a partner at Kalocen Investments, appointed an interim committee to oversee the operations of the park. However, as the 7-member interim committee prepared for the swearing-in, supporters of Ssemakadde disrupted the ceremony, protesting against his removal.

This led to clashes between the two groups, prompting heavy police and military deployment to restore calm. Four individuals, including Ssemakadde, were arrested and taken to Kawempe police station.

Rajab Mukasa, the newly appointed park chairperson succeeding Ssemakadde, emphasized the need for unity and adherence to guidelines set by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to ensure a unified park structure, addressing the issue of parallel stages. 

Mukasa urged opposing leaders to collaborate for the improvement of the taxi industry and to promote solidarity among drivers. Rashid Ssekindi, chairperson of the Uganda Taxi Operators Federation (UTOF) stated that according to KCCA and UTOF guidelines, taxi drivers have the authority to elect their leaders. However, in the current situation at Bwaise, the developer imposed their choice of leadership.

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He emphasized that if the drivers accept the appointed leadership, the taxi body will acknowledge it. Ssekindi urged drivers to remain calm to prevent recurrent conflicts that might lead to the park’s closure by the developer. 

Kampala Metropolitan North Regional police commander Gerald Twishime revealed that since the park’s inception, they’ve received 12 reported assault cases involving severe beatings of drivers. He said that the police will prosecute all culprits in court.

Twishime emphasized their commitment to ensuring security and prosecuting those involved in violent incidents, preventing the influence of non-taxi drivers in park affairs.