Shops down town open to business amidst “togikwatako” tension

Streets in Kampala’s central business district (CBD) are bustling with activities despite public anxiety and heavy deployment over the upcoming presidential age limit debate in parliament.

With the deployment of police and the military in several strategic locations, speculation was rife that people would keep off the Central Business District in anticipation of demonstrations over the proposed move to remove Article 102(b) of the Constitution.

The motion for the amendment of the Article, which caps the presidential age at 75, is expected today after a failed attempt last Thursday. Amid the anxiety, various political groups and civil society organizations are mobilizing supporters to come out and challenge the planned amendment.

Last week, when the matter was expected in parliament, police engaged demonstrators in running battles, paralyzing business in several areas. But shops in Kampala are all open with business going on normally. Taxis and other motorists are also operating normally.

Jacob Okoku, a resident of Kireka, says he had feared to go to the city centre but is surprised with the calmness.

The Constitution Square in the centre of Kampala has been declared out of bounds for unauthorized personnel. The Square, usually a target for demonstrators, is closed to the public with tapes blocking all entrances.

While the police and military are stationed in the middle of the Square, crime preventers are manning the entrances, turning away people. Armored vehicles and fire engines are on the ready, in anticipation of any riotous developments.

Noah Bukenya, a boda-boda cyclist at the Square, told URN that the crime preventers started their operations in the wee hours of the morning.

Anti-riot police is also deployed at the Democratic Party (DP) headquarters at City House. A police patrol pickup full with heavily armed policemen is parked at the entrance to the DP offices as other police men are positioned around the building.

DP coined the anti-age limit removal campaign slogan, Kogikwatako, which has since caught on with different ethnicities coining their own versions.

Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson, Emilian Kayima, says the deployment is in response to, as he put it, “what’s going on in the country”.

City House also houses the offices of the youth wing of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC).



KCCA Councillors move motion to name a city road after late Sebaana

By Robert Segawa
The KCCA council has passed a motion to have Nakivubo place road named after former mayor John Ssebaana Kizito.
During an extra ordinary  sitting to commemorate his life, the KCCA council led by the Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago resolved that the road be named after him for his services to the city.
The council highlighted his efforts that led to the construction of Nakivubo channel where the road partly passes.
The road runs from Entebbe road roundabout (near Usafi Market) via Container village and stop at the junction to Namirembe road.
Ssebaana died of stroke in Monday and will be laid to rest on Saturday.

KCCA impounds public passenger vehicles over tax defaulting

By Robert Ssegawa
Kampala Capital City Authority enforcement team has impounded 30 commercial salon vehicles in a morning crackdown on tax defaulters.
Simon Kabanda the head operations KCCA said today’s operation in the City Center,  Wandegeya and  in Kamwokya saw 14  taxis and 16 special hire cars impounded for lack of o KCCA stickers to confirm that they had paid the authority dues.
He says some drivers managed to clear dues using Pay way and   salvaged their vehicles. The impounded vehicles have been  taken to KCCA parking lot..

Police intervenes in the Park yard traders’ demonstration

By Robert Segawa

Businesses has today morning been paralysed after park yard traders demonstrated , dismissing Kampala minister’s directive to have them out of  their area of operation with in 30days.

Police intervened  arresting some of the traders who are thought to be ring leaders of the demonstration.  The demonstration got violent as traders had began pelting stones at police officers, injuring some of them.

Early this week minister Betty Kamya passed a 30 days ultimatum asking the traders to leave the space for developer  Ham so he can build standard structures .

Many shops along  Nakivubo Mews, Channel street, Nakivubo road  and all roads around  park yard remain closed.

Makerere runs out graduation gowns forcing Wandegeya tailors to double prices

Makerere University has run out of customized graduation gowns ahead of the 67th graduation ceremony that starts tomorrow.

The customised graduation gowns were unveiled last month and were being sold at Basement Store of Makerere University Senate Building. The university had set the price at shillings 75,000 but tailors in Wandegeya, a city suburb, who counterfeited it had set their price at 65,000 to attract buyers.

However, today morning the university store ran out of gowns, prompting Wandegeya tailors to double the price to make a fortune out of the crisis. At stalls where the gowns are being sold, the prices range from between 120,000 and 150,000 shillings.

By 4:00pm, students were also stilling crowded at the Senate Basement Building store waiting for the university authorities to bring in new stock.

The university will graduate 14,895 students in various disciplines and varying academic ranging from diplomas to degrees, masters and PhD, in the four-day event. Of these, 3,275 will get their first degrees in various disciplines, 268 will walk home with diplomas, 1,277 students will be graduating with Masters Degrees while 75 students will be graduating with PhDs.

Tomorrow, the first graduation day, students from four colleges are set to graduate. These are; College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT), College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), and College of Education and External Studies (CEES).

“The university knew the number of students who are graduating and they had time to stock enough gowns; why didn’t they do that? They are causing this entire crisis,” Lukyamuzi David, a bachelor of education (Arts) student who will be graduating tomorrow said as he waited for new stock.

Keishe Agaba, a student population studies said; “I cannot buy a gown at 150,000 shillings. I will come without a gown, sit in the freedom square with others because no one will chase me.”

Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, the deputy vice chancellor in charge of finance and administration, said they expected the shortage because the contractor did not make enough gowns. He explained that the contractor was given a go ahead late and students had been informed that they could still buy gowns from outside as it has been the practice in previous years.

Prof Nawangwe said the contractor made about 7,000 gowns which is less than half of the number of students graduating.

“This is the first time that the university is making customised gowns. Next year he will start earlier to ensure that enough gowns are made. We want students to buy from one person because we want to control the quality of gowns,” Prof Nawangwe said.

The Makerere University Council, the university’s highest decision-making body approved the introduction of customised graduation gowns for Undergraduate and Graduate programmes (excluding PhDs) with effect from the 67th Graduation Ceremony.

The customised University Gown is intended to provide uniformity of the academic dress for graduands.




NSSF ,KCCA organize a run for a cause to renovate 2 Kampala schools

By Wasswa Deo

The National Social security Fund and Kampala Capital City Authority have launched the second edition of NSSF Hash Seven Hills Run aimed at raising 200 million to renovate Makerere University primary school and Summit Vienna Army primary school in Kampala to create better learning environment.

The run will take place on March 12th and will cover 22 kilometers while traversing seven historical hills in Kampala and these are Kibuli, Old Kampala, Namirembe, Ribaga, Lubiri, Nsambya and Nakasero.

Speaking at the launch, the executive director KCCA has noted that, they still need a lot of funds to effectively improve the infrastructure of the 79 public schools  in Kampala

Musisi says by the time was appointed the executive director, infrastructure in Kampala public schools was even worse to an extent that one toilet was serving 100 pupils.  “With efforts put in place the situation has changed and one toilet is now serving 50 pupils’’ she added.

Richard Byarugaba, the executive director, NSSF Richard Byarugaba says, this campaign will go far to support education of the underprivileged in the society.

A total of 65 million shillings was collected in the first edition of the run and went to the renovation of Nakivubo settlement primary schools and construction of a water facility at St. Ponsiano Kyamula primary school.

Packyard Vendors vow not to leave their work stations

Vendors at the Parkyard in Nakivubo, Kampala have vowed to resist eviction stating that they cannot vacate a place they have worked in for 30 years.

The vendors state that they will pitch camp in markets in-case the government tries to evict them.

The reaction by the vendors follow a letter addressed by the the Minister for Kampala,Betti Kamya to the Executive Direct Kampala Capital City Authority Jennifer Musisi on 10th February seeking for a brief on the status of Parkyard Market and Nakivubo war memorial stadium.

“I have received a letter from the board of trustees of Nakivubo war memorial stadium asking me to extend my instructions for vendors to vacate illegal stations which I issued to Parkyard vendors, in order to give way to their own development plans,” the letter reads.

Kamya says the conflict between the vendors and the board of Nakivubo ended in a court when it ruled in favor of the board of trustees.

Now the vendors say they will not accept to vacate the place where most of them have known their entire life.

The General secretary of the Parkyard vendors, Muhammad Musisi said they have suffered losses in terms of fire in the markets but the move to eject them shows that the government does not care.He says the government should give them the opportunity to develop the place.

Mbadi Sempala says they are the actual occupants of the area and bringing in an investor is depriving them their rights as citizens.He said they will wait for the decision by the government, but they will need an explanation why it came up after 30 years to evict them.

Joseph Ssali says since an investor might go for a loan to develop the place, they should also be given the opportunity to get a loan and develop the place.He says legally they are the rightful owners of the place.

Rashid Nadduli states that they will camp at the market if Government is to evict them.He says Government has not worked out any plan for them but is insisting on evicting them before even hearing from them.

Another vendor says the government should come up with a policy that incorporates ordinary persons, he says that as it stands, Government only cares about investors.

The KCCA council on Wednesday resolved to stay the eviction of the vendors pending  a committee assessment.The council chaired by the deputy mayor for Kampala also resolved to have Musisi’s response before the council before it can be sent to the Minister.

Last year Betti Kamya issued a trade order directing all street vendors to vacate.




Taxi drivers decry KCCA ‘s authorization of taxi stages outside the park

By Daudi Zirimala
The drivers operating in Nateete Taxi Park have stormed the office of the minister in Charge of Kampala Beti Kamya protesting the move by KCCA officials authorizing taxi stages outside the gazetted Taxi park.
Angry drivers informed the minister that they are paying tax dues to operate inside the parks but are now competing for passengers with taxis that operate outside  the park.
Minister Beti Kamya promised to address the matter with KCCA to ensure that illegal stages are terminated.

Minister Betty Kamya not aware of bus relocation plan

Government has suspended its decision to compel all bus companies to operate from gazetted terminals.

Recently, Transport Licensing Board-TBL ordered buses plying the Northern, West Nile to relocate from Arua Park to Namayiba Bus Terminal.

It also ordered those plying the western and Southern routes to load and offload from Kisenyi Bus Terminal while those heading to the Eastern region were ordered to operate from Qualicel Bus Terminal.

On Wednesday, legislators from West Nile brought up the matter on the floor of parliament, wondering why bus operators were never consulted before the decision was reached.

Bernard Atiku, the Ayivu County MP noted that there is need to agree on specifics before the decision can be implemented.

Felix Okot Ogong, who owns Felister coaches,  accused the Transport Licensing Board of being intolerant to the views of bus companies and making rush decisions without consulting them.

Betty Kamya, the Minister in Charge of Kampala, said she wasn’t aware of the proposed relocation of the buses yet it is the responsibility of Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA to gazette terminals and inspect them.

After discussing the matter for over 20 minutes, the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, directed the State Minister for Transport, Aggrey Bagiire to suspend the directive. Bagiire pleaded for time to consult with the ministry before pronouncing himself on the matter, which was granted.

He later announced a three-week grace period for buses plying the mid-western, Northern, west Nile and interstate routes.

Parliament tasked him to convene a stakeholder’s meeting to discuss the changes in January.




Finance minister to meet mayors over vendor’s space

By Alice Lubwama
The State Minister for Micro finance Haruna Kyeyune Kasolo is planning to meet Municipality mayors from the five divisions of Kampala to ensure that they allocate Street Vendors to places to operate their businesses.
 Speaking at the launch of Kampala Urban Women Poverty eradication SACCO   in Old Taxi Park, Kasolo noted that despite a presidential directive to gazette these areas, the mayors have not complied .