City taxi operators on Thursday unanimously agreed to form one association, bringing to an end the rivalry that has dogged the taxi industry for decades.
In a rare convergence of thought, the taxi operators also agreed to denounce all factions they formerly belonged to and pledged to promote peace and co-existence among themselves.
The taxi operators will now subscribe to the Uganda Taxi Operators Federation (Utofe), which will oversee operations of all taxi operators across the country.
The previous factions included Kampala Operational Taxi Stages Association (Kotsa), Uganda Transport Development Agency (utrada), Uganda Taxi Operators and Drivers Association (Utoda), and Kampala Inter-Taxi Association (Kita).
The deal to merge the warring factions was brokered by Kampala Resident City Commissioner Hussein Hood (Hudu) with support from other city honchos and security personnel.
‘’I would like to thank God that you [taxi operators] have finally agreed to form one body. You have missed out on many government programmes because you were always fighting each other, but now that you have denounced your former groups, it will be easy for government to channel development programmes to you,’’ Mr Hood (Hudu) said.
The reconciliatory meeting was also attended by Kampala Metropolitan Police (KMP) commander Stephen Tanui, traffic chief Norman Musinga, and Kampala Capital City Authority deputy executive director David Luyimbazi.
During yesterday’s meeting, Mr Rashid Ssekindi who formerly headed Kotsa, was elected Utofe’s interim chairperson, with Mr Alifan Musajja Alumbwa as first deputy chairperson, and Mr Mustafa Mayambala as second deputy.
Mr Katumba William, who formerly headed Utoda, was elected Utofe’s interim general treasurer while Utrada’s former deputy chairperson Mr Carlton Ssekyaya was appointed general secretary.
The interim committee will be in-charge of the new body for two years until government organises general elections for the body’s leadership.
Mr Ssekindi said the members have put aside their differences and are now working towards rebranding the taxi industry.
“The problem for the taxi industry wasn’t the taxi operators or government, but the leaders of former factions. We have now found a solution and would like to apologise to all those that we have wronged and request that you join us as we build rebrand,’’ he said.
The Utofe’s committee pledged to work with government to ensure development of the transport sector.
They warned their colleagues against involvement in wrangles that could undermine the body’s development agenda.
Mr Tanui said he was happy to see the various taxi factions merge because their disunity was a security threat.