By Andante Okanya
The Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has been dragged to court over charging motorists fees for parking vehicles on city streets.
In a suit filed in the High Court in Kampala, a group of motorists argue that charging fees for parking on the streets is illegal. They, therefore, want the High Court to stop the activities of City Street parking manager Multiplex Limited.
The representative suit was filed on May 16, by Legal Brains Trust and John Richard Nyakaana.
The motorists contend that KCCA and its predecessors have never designated parts of roads and streets identified as parking places in the city within the parking and motor vehicle regulations.
In February 2003, KCCA’s predecessor Kampala City Council, awarded Multiplex a contract to manage the city street parking.
The company charges sh7,000 for daily parking from 8:00am to 5:00pm, while a monthly sticker costs sh42,000.
The company also charges between sh500 and sh2,000 as parking fees for motorists, who park vehicles on the streets for one or more hours.
The motorists contend that car parking fees, parking fines and clamping fees are unlawful and an infringement of their right to property.
Through their lawyers, Muwema and Mugerwa Advocates and Solicitors, they want court to declare that they are entitled to a refund of the revenue collected by Multiplex since 2003 when they commenced operations.
The suit is supported by the affidavit of the LBT executive director, Isaac Kimaze, also a lawyer.
He contends that Multiplex is acting illegally since the relevant provision in the Local Government Act is not being followed.
“Charging fees without the authority of the Local Government Act Cap 243 or any other law for that purpose is in contravention of Article 191 of the Constitution,” Kimaze argued.
Article 191(1) of Uganda’s Constitution provides that local governments shall have power to levy, charge and collect appropriate fees and taxes in accordance with any law enacted by Parliament.
These sources of revenue for the local governments are echoed in the Fifth Schedule of the LGA Cap 243.
Kimaze also claims Multiplex, which was preceded by Green Boat Entertainment, is harsh to motorists.
“It sometimes clamps and tows motor vehicles belonging to the beneficiaries of this suit without any notice or fair hearing in the process,” he noted.
Kimaze also said the suit was filed to challenge Multiplex’s abuse and disregard of the provisions of the Constitution.
Multiplex is yet to respond to the suit. The case has been allocated to Justice Benjamin Kabiito. However, a hearing date is yet to be fixed.