The Kenyans say they want the Ugandan system of managing public taxi business be extended to their country.
PIC: KOTSA vice President, Stephen Kidde (middle) speaking to visiting Kenyan drivers in the Old Taxi Park in Kampala during a tour. (Credit: Eddie Ssejjoba)
Kenyan public taxi drivers have asked their counterparts in Uganda to lobby government to facilitate them to go through the East African Community (EAC) to popularise their organizational setup and passenger management systems in the region.
The Kenyans said they would like the Ugandan system of managing public taxi business extended to their country and the entire EAC to enable the drivers manage their industry the way it is done in Uganda.
Led by Joseph Ndiritu, the chairperson of the Public Transport Operators Union of Kenya, the visiting drivers intereacted with their counterparts in Kampala who subscribe to the Kampala Operational Taxi Stages Association (KOTSA) in Kampala.
The trip was facilitated by the International Transport Federation, Kenya branch to enable them learn about the management of Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations (SACCOs) in Uganda, under the taxi industry and how the drivers relate with government and its agencies.
They toured the two main taxi parks and met with Norman Musinga, the Kampala Metropolitan Traffic Commander, at his office at the Central Police Station.
"We are surprised that in Uganda a driver can interact with the Police at will, and own a taxi. It is different in Kenya," Ndiritu said.
He decried the interference in the taxi sector in Kenya, saying their government regulates everything with almost no input from the stakeholders.
"We would want to invite you to our country to mentor us in this business. Kenyans should change their misconceptions and know that drivers can own matatus (taxis)," he said.
Ndiritu suggested that it would be easier to use the EAC body to let Ugandan drivers sensitise Kenyans and others in the region on management of SACCOs and how the drivers can manage their funds.
"In Kenya, SACCOs are owned by taxi owners and drivers are not members, the only interaction they get from government is when a matatu is involved in an offence, which is different here."
The KOTSA publicist, Mawejje Birungi, said there are 195 taxi stages in the city, with each having its own SACCO, with an apex body, which they use to access funds from government.
"Our president, Yoweri Museveni, wanted us to access government funds and advised us to form a uniting SACCO, through which we access funding and oversees the operations of other smaller SACCOs," he explained.
He said each stage has by-laws but through their association, KOTSA, they subscribe to the Amalgamated Transport and General Workers' Union.
Birungi said during an International Public Passengers' Transport conference, which was attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenyans were surprised that drivers can manage their own SACCOS and their own union.
"Many of our drivers have been able to develop through SACCOs and we relate well with government and the Police," he said.