By Eddie Ssejjoba
POLICE in Kampala has warned taxi drivers and cyclists against causing disorder in the city.
The director Kampala Metropolitan Police, Andrew Kaweesi told journalists during a press briefing that all police commanders around the city had been ordered to deploy and be ready to quash any groups that would try to cause violence in the city.
“There is a group comprising of some individuals in the taxi industry and bodaboda cyclists who are planning to compel everyone to join their strike and have made plans to harm those who will go against their plans,” Kaweesi said.
This followed growing tension in the city as a group led by members of the National Union of Drivers, Cyclists and Allied Workers (NUDCAW) extensively mobilized drivers and commercial motorcyclists to go on strike complaining against alleged harassment and extortion by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) workers.
The group alleges that KCCA workers connive with another taxi group called TAPSCOM (Taxi Park Stages Coordinating Committees) to harass, impound vehicles, arrest and imprison. They say KCCA law enforcers extort money from drivers over unclear issues. They want KCCA to disband the group.
“Nobody will be allowed to disrupt business in the city, we don’t want to see any attempts to block a road or compel or harm those that will not join the strike. We are going to arrest on spot anyone attempting to cause chaos,” Kaweesi said and assured the public of police protection.
Andrew Felix Kaweesi displays the letter he says was written by Ewakula Ennume declaring their willingness to continue working. Photo by Eddie Ssejjoba
He asked KCCA workers to go on with their normal duties and assured them that police would be everywhere to give them protection.
“Whoever wants to strike is free and we ask them to stay home, but if anyone comes to the city with plans of disrupt normal business will be arrested and imprisoned,” Kaweesi warned.
He warned that cyclists who plan to join the strike not to park their motorcycles at stages because they will be impounded.
Kaweesi asked drivers who are willing to work on Monday not to overcharge passengers as a way of making big returns from the confusion.
He advised the groups to continue with dialogue with KCCA other than resort to violence.
“I have given strict instructions to all commanders and police personnel to be on the alert, but any officer who will fail to execute his duty and allow this group to cause disorder will also be arrested immediately,” Kaweesi said.
He however said a group of drivers belonging to the disbanded UTODA (Uganda Taxi Drivers, Operators and Drivers’ Association) and Ewakula Ennume had written to police showing their willingness to work on Monday.