April 17, 2013

Taxi Drivers Want Their Operational Fees Refunded

Mustapha Mayambala Addressing Journalists
Mustapha Mayambala Addressing Journalists

Taxi operators under Drivers and Central Conductors Association-DACCA have resolved to appeal the recent high court ruling that stopped Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA from charging them 120,000 shillings each month, in operational fees. Early this year, the drivers led by Mustapha Mayambala, the chairperson of DACCA filed a petition before high court challenging the legality of the shillings 120,000 operational fees. In their petition, the drivers argued that the money was illegal since it was not approved by the authority led by the Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago.

They also claimed that they were never consulted before the fee was imposed on them.They asked court to declare the fee illegal and order the authority to refund all the money that was collected from them. In his ruling delivered on April 10th, Justice Benjamin Kabiito concurred with the drivers saying the fee was illegal because it was not sanctioned by the authority.   He therefore ordered KCCA to stop collecting the money and release all the vehicles that were impounded over non payment of the illegal fees.

Justice however, didn’t order KCCA to refund the money that was collected from the taxi operators saying it would cause a financial crisis at the authority. This has not gone down well with the taxi operators. Through their lawyers of Matovu company advocates, the operators have applied to High court for the record of the proceedings and ruling to formulate the ground for the appeal. In their 15th April letter, seen by URN the driver say they are dissatisfied with the court ruling and are ready to appeal. Mustapha Mayambala, the chairperson DACCA says they want to appeal on the failure by court to order KCCA to compensate them for the money they paid to the authority.

He says that they will seek an order for KCCA to compensate all the drivers whose vehicles were impounded and damaged under KCCA custody. Charles Henry Ssentongo, a driver playing the Ntinda-Bukoto route claims that after the court ruling he went to check on his vehicle which was impounded a year ago and parked at Ssezibwa house, he found the battery and tyres missing. Ssentongo says that he tried to get an explanation from the KCCA enforcement officers as to the where about of the battery and tyres of his vehicles in vain.

On Tuesday, Redpepper Online counted at least 30 taxis at the Ssezibwa house. Efforts by our Reporter to get a comment from the law enforcement officers deployed to guard the vehicles were futile, as they claimed they were not authorized to speak to the media. But earlier on Jennifer Musisi, the KCCA executive director had challenged the drivers to produce evidence showing that their vehicles were vandalized while in KCCA custody.

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