The anticipated reopening of the old taxi park is in jeopardy because to delays in the completion of planned works by the Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA.
After remodeling administration offices, fencing the park, demarcating stages, and painting the kerbs, the KCCA decided last month to open the park on October 20, 2021.
KCCA, on the other hand, has yet to fence the park, refurbish the administration offices, or demarcate the stages. When the Uganda Radio Network (URN) visited the park, no building was underway because the area was still secured by police. The park is being used by the government as a COVID-19 immunization station, while merchants have taken advantage of the lack of cabs to run their businesses from there.
When URN questioned KCCA acting spokesperson Juliet Bukirwa Muwanguzi if the park will open on Wednesday as planned, she simply replied that they would communicate. She was unable to clarify whether the restaurant would reopen or if the reopening date would be extended.
The drainage system, carpet, and lighting in the park have all been completed by the KCCA. KCCA is also expected to construct bathrooms, a clinic, and passenger shelters in addition to the work it hoped to finish before reopening on Wednesday. These, according to Bukirwa, can be built following the re-opening.
Rashid Sekindi, chairman of the Uganda Taxi Operators Federation, which represents taxi associations such as Kampala Operational Taxi Stages Association (KOTSA), Uganda Transport Development Agency (UTRADA), Uganda Taxi Operators and Drivers Association (UTODA), and Kampala Inter-Taxi Association (KITA), says they are in talks with KCCA to reopen the park.
As they await opening, Sekindi says KCCA ordered them to form a uniform body and resolve wrangles at various phases, which they accomplished and reported back to KCCA. He said they’ll meet with the KCCA today to finalize the park’s reopening plans.
Meanwhile, not only are the incomplete improvements jeopardizing the KCCA’s intentions to reopen the park, but city tycoons claiming ownership of a portion of the park are also suing to prevent it from reopening.
Abamwe Transporters, Kabale Distributors, Contractors and Transport Services, DKS Uganda Limited, Key and Ham Investment are among the companies claiming ownership of land in the park. Aponye Uganda, Lukyamuzi Investment, City Oil, Shumuk Industries, and Giant Eagle Mobile Phones are among the others.
They claim that in 2017, they reached an arrangement with KCCA to develop the land and return what was leased from the authority when it was still Kampala City Council.
The enterprises have wanted to take control of their plots for a long time but have been unable to do so because cabs operate there and taxi operators have promised not to leave.
The park was supposed to reopen in August 2020, but KCCA said that excessive rains and transportation restrictions hampered their ability to deliver on time. However, once the carpet was installed and the drainage system was installed, the battle for land became more visible.
The KCCA will meet with the leadership of taxi companies today to discuss the park’s planned reopening.