Uganda mandates ‘self-driving’ officials to acquire driving licenses or face penalties

Uganda mandates ‘self-driving’ officials to acquire driving licenses or face penalties
State Minister for Transport, Fred Byamukama

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | The Ministry of Works and Transport has issued a directive mandating all senior government officials and politicians who drive themselves to obtain driving licenses within the next three months.

Failure to comply will result in individuals driving without a license being subject to the penalties outlined in the Traffic and Road Safety Act and other relevant Ugandan laws.

This directive comes in response to ongoing complaints about traffic regulation violations by a category of drivers referred to by the State Minister for Transport, Fred Byamukama, as the ‘working class.’

Byamukama expressed concerns that these drivers, often government officials, use their titles to intimidate traffic police officers and misuse government vehicles.

Minister Byamukama emphasized that these officials should either delegate driving responsibilities to their assigned drivers or obtain the necessary driving licenses, whether driving official or personal vehicles.

While inspecting facilities at the Uganda Security Printing Company (USPC), responsible for processing driving licenses, Byamukama noted the improved efficiency in the licensing process. The USPC was tasked three years ago with producing and issuing licenses on behalf of the ministry, aiming to maintain or surpass the standards set by its predecessor, Face Technologies Ltd.

Also Read: Uganda has 90 fully licensed driving schools, transport ministry reveals

Byamukama dismissed excuses of difficulty in obtaining licenses, citing the USPC’s commendable progress from 75 to nearly 100 percent efficiency. He shared his personal experience of renewing his license in less than 25 minutes, praising the system for reducing incidents of bribery.

Dr. George Mugerwa, the Managing Director of USPC, attributed the improved efficiency to seamless collaboration with other government agencies, particularly the Ministry of Works. He highlighted their focus on expanding services beyond the central location, making it easier to obtain licenses, even in rural areas.

Minister Byamukama reported successful outreach initiatives, resulting in close to 12,000 people acquiring licenses without visiting the headquarters. He revealed plans to implement a comprehensive system ensuring that all services, including banking and revenue services, can be conducted within the premises and replicated in upcountry locations.