MBARARA- Sanity is returning in Mbarara Town after 15 months of fighting between rival taxi bodies over the management of the taxi park.
Members and supporters of Mbarara Taxi Owners Cooperative Society (MTOCS) and Mbarara United Taxi Owners, Conductors and Drivers Cooperative Society (MUTOCDCS) had been fighting for control of the park, putting the public on tension.
The Inspector General of Government (IGG) twice halted the process of awarding taxi park management contract following petitions by the two rival groups.
There is now a sigh of relief after Mbarara United Taxi Owners, Conductors and Drivers Cooperative Society (MUTOCDCS) was finally awarded the tender and began operations three weeks ago.
“After the IGG concluded investigations, they allowed us to go on with the tendering process which we concluded and the tender was awarded,” said Mr Johnson Baryantuma Namono, Mbarara Town clerk.
“So far, there is no chaos, order has been created and those that were awarded the tender are paying well. We are still monitoring the progress. But so far there is no problem,” he added.
Mr Rashid Mukasa, the chairman of Kakoba Division, where the taxi park is located, said their revenues would improve after the award of the park tender.
Police said they would remain alert despite the calm situation.
“Anxiety over taxi park management and constant fighting between these two taxi bodies have caused insecurity in the town. But since the award of this tender, security has been normal,’’ said Ms Polly Namaye, the Rwizi Region Police spokesperson.
She said police had severally quelled clashes between the rival taxi bodies.
The losing MTOCS alleged foul play. “We finally gave up because we knew the whole process was being manipulated by some politicians in the municipality, district and highly-connected people in government. We are watching to see the progress of their management,” said Mr Robert Beyagira, MTOCS chairperson.
Mr Sande Bukenya, the chairperson of the successful MUTOCDCS, dismissed their rival’s claims of influence peddling in the tender process.