Tension as KCCA, tycoons fight over Old Taxi Park

Wednesday August 04 2021

People pictured walking in the Old Taxi Park following the one-year rehabilitation works which started in May 2020. PHOTO / COURTESY

By Andrew Bagala

The deadlock between Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and owners of the Old Taxi Park plots has continued as taxi operators threaten to occupy the place.
On Monday, taxi operators attempted to occupy the park, but the police blocked them.
Police spokesman Fred Enanga said the park’s refurbishment isn’t yet ready and they wouldn’t allow taxi operators to occupy it.
Currently, neither the city authorities nor the developers occupy the park due to legal and political stalemate.
The developers have court orders that give them powers to redevelop their plots, but KCCA, which sub-leased the plots, too was given powers to determine the type of developments to be constructed in the area.  
The city authority entered a memorandum of understanding with the business people, who own sublease in the Old Taxi Park that their plots would be handed over after the refurbishment, which the developers say the city authorities have turned back on.
Mr Daniel NuweAbine, the KCCA spokesperson, said they are looking at two alternatives, but all must ensure that the taxi park remains operational in the area.
“We are looking at compulsory acquisition of the land or following the memorandum of understanding with the developers that they must construct structures that leave the taxi park at the ground and first floor and use other upper floors,” Mr NuweAbine said yesterday.
Abamwe Transporters Ltd owns plots 21-23 measuring 0.067 hectares on Burton Street while Kabale Distributors Ltd possesses plots 27-29 measuring 0.55 hectares on Ben Kiwanuka Street.
Other companies claiming ownership of plots in the Old Taxi Park are: Contractors & Transport Services Ltd, D.K.S Uganda Ltd, Key & Ham Investments Ltd, Aponye Uganda Limited, Lukyamuzi Investments Limited, City Oil (U) Limited, Shumuk Industries Limited and The Giant Eagle Mobile Phones & Accessories Ltd.
Eight of those 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.
The companies got a 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 the suit properties on the periphery in accordance with the designs approved by the defendant.
Taxi operators’ view
Taxi operators insist that President Museveni ordered that they use the land for taxi operations. A representative of the developers, Mr Ronnie Rwigyema, said the memorandum they have with KCCA is to hand over their plots after the refurbishment of the park. “The refurbishment is done. We want our plots,” Mr Rwigyema sai, adding: “We aren’t against compensation, they must follow the principle of ‘willing buyer, willing seller’. They haven’t talked to us yet about the offer.”
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