By Steven Candia
POLICE chief Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura has set up a committee to investigate allegations of Police connivance with Uganda Taxi Operators and Drivers Association (UTODA) to harass a rival faction of the association.
The committee was set up on Friday night during a meeting between Kayihura and the executive of the Drivers and Conductors Central Association (DACCA), headed by Mustapha Mayambala.
The meeting, which was held at the Police headquarters, was attended by greater Kampala Police chief Grace Turyagumanawe.
Source privy to the meeting said the committee, that comprises the Rapid Response Unit boss, Joel Aguma, and Professional Standards Unit chief Samuel Ekellot, is to be headed by the Special Investigations Unit chief, Grace Akullo.
â€œThe committee will also probe allegations that the Police have been sharing offices with UTODA in the taxi parks,â€ the source said.
According to the source, it was agreed that Ekellot will probe the conduct of the Police, while Aguma will lead the more intricate and sensitive investigations into allegations of the presence of firearms in taxi parks.
However, Police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba said she was not aware of the meeting. â€œI did not attend the meeting. I need to consult,â€ Nabakooba said yesterday.
The formation of the committee comes as part of a series of initiatives by the Government to resolve differences between UTODA and DACCA, which culminated into drivers calling a sit-down strike that paralysed transport in Kampala and its suburbs last week.
The drivers blame UTODA officials for allegedly soliciting un-receipted welfare fees from them and torturing them while collecting the money.
Following the strike, Vice-President Edward Ssekandi met the two warring factions and they agreed to suspend the welfare fees.
Shortly after, President Yoweri Museveni met the DACCA executive and later taxi operators and insisted that the un-receipted fees be suspended for three weeks.
Museveni asked the drivers to continue paying sh4,500 daily for receipts and sh20,000 monthly for stickers.
He promised the drivers that the committee set up to review the welfare fees would come up with appropriate solutions to their grievances.
The committee is chaired by works and transport minister Abraham Byandala, with representatives from the local government ministry, the Kampala Capital City Authority and the Presidentâ€™s office.