Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA has for the third time in a row failed to beat its own target to complete the works in the old Taxi Park.
When the construction started in May 2020, KCCA said Sterling Construction Company and Kiru Technical Services limited would complete the works within three months in vain. By mid-August, the contractors were still laying the pavement layer and drainage system.
In October 2020, the KCCA Executive Director, Dorothy Kisaka visited the park and set a deadline of four weeks within, which to complete the works. Still, it didn’t happen. In December 2020, KCCA told URN that it would give the people of Kampala a Christmas gift with the reopening of the park. This too never materialized. In February 2020, the Minister for Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs, Betty Amongi visited the Park and set another completion date of March 4th, 2021. At the time, the contractors were completing construction of the pavement layer and drainage system inside the park.
However, up-to-now, the park is incomplete. The contractors are laying the pavement layer on the piece of land behind the commercial buildings in the park along Burton Street, complete the drainage system inside and outside the park and install pedestrian shades. They also have to renovate the buildings in the park and construct a toilet block and the periphery of the park. URN couldn’t establish the cause for the delay since the KCCA Engineer in Charge of Constructions and tKCCA Spokesperson, Daniel NuweAbine were not reachable.
However, previously KCCA has blamed the delay on the heavy rains that delayed excavation works and the much sand soil which needed to be excavated in large amounts before putting the rock fill. They also said the curfew instituted because of the COVID 19 affected their manpower.
Business people operating within and around the Park say the temporary closure of the park has had a big impact on their businesses. Christine Nalukwago, a food vendor in the old tax Park, says when the Park was active, she prepared and sold a whole bag of Matooke and at least 10 Kilograms of meat daily. But now, Nalukwago reports selling only three bunches of Matooke and five Kilograms of meat. Most of her customers are taxi operators and passengers, she says. Now her employees have to go to the streets and call customers to the eatery.
Lusembo Sseguya, who sells shoes at a small store on Hanifa Towers, also says business is low since there are no passengers in the park. Sseguya says while previously he received at least 10 new customers at his store, now only one comes daily.
He survives majorly on sales to his longtime customers.
King Saad, a street vendor in the park and on Luwum street also decried the low business. He runs his business mainly in the night when KCCA law enforcement officers have ended their operations against street vendors. Saad targeted passengers coming to the park and those being offloaded from taxis.
Saad says that while previously he would make sales worth Shillings 200,000 in a night, now he struggles to make Shillings 10,000.
Taxi Operators, who also operated in the old taxi park, say life on the street is hard especially when they have to pay parking fees to Multiplex. They want KCCA to expedite the works. Meanwhile as the park reopens, KCCA says only 344 taxis out of over 450 shall be allowed back. The other taxis will be required to wait outside and only access the park when due to load, a move intended to stop congestion.