Hon. Minister Minsa Kabanda waving to taxi drivers on arrival to reopen Old taxi park today, Saturday
BY MOSES MUGALULA
HON. MINSA Kabanda, Minister for Kampala Capital City & Metropolitan Affairs has today officially handed over a newly refurbished ‘old taxi park’ to joyous taxi drivers and conductors who thanked her for helping them repossess their park.
Kabanda who was welcomed by Mr. Rashid Ssekindi, Mr. Mustafa Mayambala and Mr. Williams Katumba, the leaders of taxi operators in Kampala, however told hundreds of taxi drivers and conductors who gathered to show gratitude, not to thank her, but ‘their friend’, His Excellency the President of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
Flanked by Kampala Central Mayor Uhuru Salim Nsubuga and her Personal Assistant Eng. Muzamiru Katumba commonly known as ‘Panadol’, Hon. Minister Minsa Kabanda revealed to Taxi operators that, “Please don’t thank me, I am here on behalf of your friend, our beloved president Yoweri Museveni who rescued Old Taxi Park land sold off by opposition leader John Ssebaana Kizito, then Kampala Capital City Mayor.”
“President Museveni is paying for the sins committed by opposition politicians. Now you know who truly loves you, who wants your job protected.” Said Hajjat Minsa Kabanda amidst chants from taxi operators who were heard thanking her for being approachable and a minister who listens and understands the common man in Kampala.
Minsa Kabanda said, reopening of the Old taxi park was delayed by tycoons who went to court on grounds that then KCC led by Democratic Party President Ssebaana Kizito sold them plots on the land where this park sits.
For starters, since the completion of the old taxi park refurbishment, there has been a deadlock between Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and owners of the plots as taxi operators demanded to re-occupy the place.
For long, neither the city authorities nor the developers have been occupying the park due to legal gymnastics and political stalemate.
The developers had court orders giving them powers to redevelop their plots.
WHO ARE THESE TYCOONS/COMPANIES CLAIMING OWNERSHIP OF PLOTS
■ Abamwe Transporters Ltd who owns plots 21-23 measuring 0.067 hectares on Burton Street
■ Kabale Distributors Ltd possesses plots 27-29 measuring 0.55 hectares on Ben Kiwanuka Street.
■ Contractors & Transport Services Lt
■ D.K.S Uganda Ltd
■ Key & Ham Investments Ltd
■ Aponye Uganda Limited, Lukyamuzi Investments Limited
■ City Oil (U) Limited
■ Shumuk Industries Limited
■ The Giant Eagle Mobile Phones & Accessories Ltd.
Reports show, eight of these companies own 0.501 hectares (1.24 acres) of the Old Taxi Park, which covers 3.53 acres.
Before some of the plots were redeveloped, the Old Taxi Park measured 4.398 acres.
These companies got sub-leases from Kampala City Council (now Kampala Capital City Authority) in 2006.
However, they were unable to take over the land after taxi operators refused to vacate the park claiming ownership.
In the same year, the companies sued KCCA and later reached a consent judgement in January 2017.
Court ruled that both KCCA and plaintiffs will develop the park and suit properties on the periphery in accordance with the designs approved by the defendant.
Taxi operators however insisted that President Museveni ordered that they use the land for taxi operations.
Court however put an injunction blocking KCCA from reopening the park for taxi operations.
HOW THE TAXI PARK HAS REOPENED
Minister Minsa Kabanda today told taxi operators that, “On the directives of the President to reopen the park, we engaged those who own plots in taxi park and here we are, the injunction was removed. Continue supporting pro-people leaders, President Museveni proves that he is one.”
Kabanda who reached Taxi Park at 3:10 pm said, President Museveni directed the park to be functional by the time schools reopen to ease transport.
The ministry of education has already confirmed, schools will reopen on Monday January 10, 2022.
Hajjat Minsa Kabanda said, the Memorundum of understanding between Government and developers of the old taxi park is that, they must construct structures that leave the taxi park at the ground and first floor and use other upper floors.
Minister who was taken around the taxi park recommended taxi operators for the observance of SOPs and urged them to go for Covid-19 vaccination.
She has also asked leaders to maintain peace and unity among taxi drivers saying, she doesnt want to hear about fights amongst drivers or conductors.
Minister directed that there should be order in the park, sanitation and that vendors shouldn’t be allowed in the taxi park due to Covid-19 SOPs observance.
Hajjat Minsa Kabanda also directed that all taxis operating on the roadsides must be evicted because space in the three gazetted parks which include Namayiba, Old taxi park and the new taxi park is enough.
She wants all guides in the park to have uniforms for easy identification and reminded drivers that they will pay some small revenue to KCCA who manages the city.
Mayor Uhuru who also thanked the President for responding positively to the appeal of leaders and taxi operators to reopen the old park, said political opportunists who have been spreading false information how the Park will never be returned to taxi operators, it’s time for them to eat their words.
He saluted Kampala minister Hajjat Kabanda, Works and Transport Minister Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala, State minister for Kampala Kabuye Kyoofatogabye, RCC Hood Hussein, KCCA Executive Director, leaders of Taxi operators and every body whose efforts have led to the reopening of this park.
After inspection of the taxi park, Minister Kabanda held a meeting with the leadership of Taxi operators at their office found on Nalubwama Arcade.
She talked about deploying NRM cadres to handle cleanliness/sweeping of the park an assignment which will be handled by councilor Kaigo.
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