By Vivian Agaba
Taxi operators in Kampala district have petitioned the minister for Kampala, Frank Tumwebaze to stop the operations of Taxi Parks/Stages Coordinating Committee (TAPSCOM) over extortion.
The drivers said the committee members extort money from drivers and mistreat those who refuse to pay.
In their petition presented by MP Makindye East, John Simbwa at the President’s office in Kampala yesterday, taxi drivers complained of illegal penalties and harassment by the members of the committee (TAPSCOM).
The drivers also demanded for establishment of new leadership saying the current one was not in touch with taxi operators.
They sought government intervention to improve the management of the taxi industry.
In response, Tumwebaze said disbanding the committee would not be the solution to their leadership problems.
He said the problem has been in place since the reign of Uganda Taxi Operators and Drivers Association (UTODA) which was fighting with Drivers and Conductors Central Association (DACCA).
Tumwebaze said the KCCA legal team and other stakeholders are going to meet urgently and draft new clear guidelines to govern the taxi industry.
“Even if we vote new leaders today, lack of clear guidelines on the operations of the taxi industry in the city, the wrangles will not end. To stop these wars, we are going to come up with clear regulations and guidelines to smoothen the operations of taxis in the city,” Tumwebaze said.
Tumwebaze promised to convene another meeting where all taxi operators will give their thoughts for the final guidelines.
He noted that together with his team the drafting will take a period of two months.
“We are going to complete the daft by May and I will reconvene another meeting with taxi drivers to give their input and have final guidelines in place,” he added.
Mustafa Mayambala, chairperson DACCO said the committee(TAPSCOM) which was put in place to directly coordinate activities between KCCA and taxi drivers has side-tracked its mandate and is now distorting money from taxi drivers from each stage ranging between 100,000 and 300,000.
“We are only supposed to pay sh. 120,000 to KCCA as monthly taxes but apart from this money, the committee gets more from us and when taxi drivers try to refuse, they threaten to impound our cars using KCCA’s name,” said Mayambala.
However, Yasin Ssematimba, chairman TAPSCOM denied the allegations saying they were untrue and asked the minister to investigate the committee members and whoever is found guilty, be punished.
Phoebe Lutaya, mobilization revenue director said the committee is a legal one.
“It was put in place after DACCA and UTODA were removed. It consists of ten members that were selected by taxi drivers’ representatives from 80 taxi stages and operate on behalf of KCCA,” she said.