Kampala has been hit by a wave of bus and taxi crime that has seen many passengers robbed while others murdered by goons. This new wave of crime has not been restricted to Kampala but also neighboring districts.
The Uganda Police has regretted the violent incidents and unveiled stringent measures it hopes will deal with the rampant transport crime that has gained momentum in the city.
These measures were contained in a press statement issued by the Inspector General of Police General Kale Kayihura on Wednesday. Red Pepper Online has gained access to the statement that pointed to among hire of taxis by criminally minded persons, mushrooming of illegal stages for taxis in Kampala and other areas and Taxis with tinted glasses used to conceal attacks on innocent passengers among the causes of the crime.
The IGP convened a meeting with stakeholders in the transport sector to devise ways of bringing the deadly habit to an end. Among those who attended were; the Traffic Police, the CID, Kampala Metropolitan Police and representatives of taxi operators, including UTODA.
To To cub the crime, the IGP together with the stakeholders came up with tough resolutions aimed at ridding the city of the growing crime. All taxis with tinted glasses will be impounded and drivers prosecuted, garages involved in dismantling vehicles will be identified and searched to recover number plates and prosecute garage owners and the Police will closely work with other stakeholders especially the taxi operators/drivers associations, and KCCA to profile drivers and conductors and use the database to monitor their conduct/misconduct.
Be Below is the full statement from the Inspector General of Police:
As has been reported in the media, a number of incidents of violent crime, including murders and robberies have recently hit taxi and bus transport.We deeply regret these incidents, and pay condolences to the families who lost loved ones.
As we hunt down the criminal elements/gangs behind this wave of crime, Police action is focused on initiating measures aimed at preventing attacks on the travelling public. Indeed, following the latest reports of such incidents, I convened a meeting of key stakeholders, in particular, the Traffic Police, the CID, Kampala Metropolitan Police and representatives of taxi operators, including UTODA to review the situation and work out concrete measures to counter this crime wave.
The meeting identified the causes of increasing crime in the taxi transport, mainly, as the following:
· Lack of effective control of the taxi transport, especially with the weakening of the UTODA, and apparent anarchy in the industry. Supervision of drivers and conductors has weakened substantially.
· Hire of taxis by criminally minded persons who, then misrepresent themselves to the innocent travelling public as genuine taxi operators, and end up robbing, and even killing passengers.
· Mushrooming of illegal stages for taxis in Kampala and other areas.
· Mushrooming garages that dismantle old vehicles and sell number plates to criminal elements.
· Taxis with tinted glasses used to conceal attacks on innocent passengers.
To counter the above and similar malpractices, Police in partnership with other stakeholders, is taking the following immediate actions:
· All taxis with tinted glasses will be impounded and drivers prosecuted.
· All taxis must have their registration numbers clearly marked on all sides in a conspicuous manner besidesdisplaying the usual registration plate.
· All crime hot spots within Kampala, and along the highways and major roads in the country will be identified and dominated to insulate them against criminals.
· All garages involved in dismantling vehicles will be identified and searched to recover number plates and prosecute garage owners.
· The Police will closely work with other stakeholders especially the taxi operators/drivers associations, and KCCA to profile drivers and conductors and use the database to monitor their conduct/misconduct
In addition, we are requesting KCCA to ban all illegal taxi stages; compel drivers to display their photographs in a conspicuous manner in the vehicle; and taxis to be allocated designated routes.
We plan to convene a bigger meeting involving other stakeholders, e.g. the Ministry of Works and Transport and KCCA to build on the above immediate measures and strengthen the public transport system, and ensure the safety and security of the travelling public.
As for bus transport, when similar problems first occurred, particularly on major highways, we instituted a system of deploying traffic/armed police in the buses as marshalls, especially at night, in addition to increasing patrols along the highways, and the situation has greatly improved in terms of incidents of criminal attacks as well as incidents of traffic accidents.
Let me take the opportunity to reassure the country that the Police supported by the other security agencies is working to decisively wipe out this new crime wave as we have done with similar crime situations before. However, we cannot do it alone. We need your vigilance and cooperation. Lookout for suspicious characters/taxis and call the Police on toll free line 0800199099 or inform the nearest police station/post or security official or LC official.
We thank you for your usual cooperation and support.
Gen. Kale Kayihura
Inspector General of Police