By Solomon Hamala
Over 1000 traders operating in the Iganga Main Taxi Park have defied an earlier directive instructing them to cease their operations within the premises by September 8.
Speaking to eastnews on 8th September, the deadline given to them, the traders vowed to carry on their business inside the Taxi Park until authorities at Central Division secure alternative area for them.
The Town Clerk Iganga Central Division, Ruth Mitaala had earlier written to the traders to vacate the premises by September 8 this week urging them to relocate to the Main Market.
Mitaala in a letter dated September 3 said the Taxi Park was too small to accommodate the big number of taxis besides their presence makes the town center look disorganized.
“All those who fail to comply with the order risk being arrested and prosecuted before courts of law,” the letter read.
All taxis that had been operating outside the Main Park were also instructed to start conducting business inside the Main Taxi Park.
However traders have vowed not to cease operating from the Main Taxi Park and urged Iganga Central Division to secure them an alternative area for operating their businesses.
According to one of the traders, Juma Kafuko, the Main Market they were instructing them to enter was too small to accommodate the big number of traders.
“Let them get us space elsewhere to do our businesses from instead of disturbing us all the time,” he said.
Kafuko accused their counterparts operating from the main market of being behind the move to have them enter inside.
“These people operating from inside the main market have always accused us of blocking their customers from entering in to buy things from them,” he said.
Jane Kagoya, a trader operating from the Main Taxi Park said they have always contributed money towards payment of taxes and wondered why they were being accused of operating illegally.
“Why is it that we are being accused of operating our business in this place illegally yet they have been collecting market dues from us for the past few years?” She asked.
Kagoya vowed not to vacate the area till the relevant authorities secure for them an alternative area to conduct their businesses from.
The Chairman Iganga Taxi Operators and Drivers Association (ITODA), Abdala Batambuze said the Main Taxi Park is too small to accommodate the big number of taxis and businesses.
“I highly agree with the decision taken by the Iganga Central Division to chase away the traders from the park,” he said.
Batambuze said the Taxi Park is meant to accommodate only 150 vehicles yet there are over 400 making it too congested.
The Member of Parliament Iganga Municipality, Peter Mugema Panadol however accused authorities at Iganga Central Division of trying to use the move of chasing away the traders in order to sell plots of land belonging to the Taxi Park.
“Why is it that they are doing it now yet these people have been here for all those years,” he said.
Mugema said he had already consulted his lawyers to ensure they block the move by Iganga Central Division to evict the traders operating in the Main Taxi Park.
“I will use all means possible to ensure that whatever they are doing is stopped,” he said.
He urged the leadership at Iganga Central Division to seek ways of exposing the corruption amongst officials and councilors instead of wasting time trying to evict traders who are playing a big role in contributing to the revenue base.
The Town Clerk Iganga Central Division when contacted said the traders were operating illegally in the Main Taxi Park and promised to conduct an abrupt operation to ensure all those who have failed to comply are arrested and prosecuted before courts of law.
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