July 2, 2013

Jinja Drivers call off strike

Drivers in Jinja have called off their strike and resumed normal services following the intervention of Richard Gulume, the Jinja Resident district commissioner. On Monday, drivers under Jinja Taxi Operators Association – JITOA staged a strike to protest the revised express penalty scheme, which paralyzed transport to Mbale, Kamuli, Soroti and Luka districts amongst others. Under the revised express penalty scheme drivers found guilty of over loading and failure to use a seat belt are liable to a fine of 200,000 and 80,000 shillings respectively.

Epaphalus Kabugudhu, the Executive Director JITOA says the fines are exorbitant. Kabugudhu however says they have resolved to call off their strike following a meeting with the Resident District Commissioner.  Kabugudhu says they have given government a two week’s ultimatum to revise the penalties saying that they instituted illegally because they were neither approved by parliament nor were drivers sensitized before they were enforced.

David Migereko, the Butembe Member of Parliament has backed the drivers saying the revised express penalty scheme was not channeled through parliament adding that they need to be revisited. Brian Bogere, a driver at Bugembe stage says they had a meeting with Richard Gulume, the Jinja RDC, David Migereko, their area MP and police on Monday evening and agreed to call off the strike.

According to Bogere, Migereko told them that the strike would disrupt he business in Busoga region and lead to chaos as a result of the clashes between police and drivers. Bogere wants parliament to scrutinize the revised express venality scheme within two weeks or else they resume their protest.
Samson Lubega, the Busoga Regional police spokesperson says the situation has normalized. He explains that police has been escorting buses though Iganga, where some drivers were still rioting. Lubega says that 50 suspects who were picked up on Monday in connection to the strike have been released.

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