Two decades has gone past the years when Uganda entirely depend on Omnibus transport industry.To say the least all past years has seen Kamunye -a model of Japan made Taxi vehicle,in the monopoly of road transport. The rail and water transport administered by the central governments has gone out of play for the low income earners for many years.Travelers have persevered over the time the unskilled loquacious drivers, taxis in mechanically dangerous conditions and transport fares that change now and then, the speed and unreliability of the taxi industry in addition to the indiscipline of the drivers and their fare collectors-commonly known as Conductors or compatriots.
I am not writing to examine the vices of the taxi industry but to feel with the Ugandans travelers that pain they go through as they live their homes for work or for leisure.I will tackle, in it’s entirety,the obstacles of the taxi industry in Uganda when I get time and the sentence building blocks you call words or when I am reminded to do so.Travelers do not have any say on the way they are driven to their destinations but always ply their journeys at the mass of their God,others simply foot long distances whenever they find them selves minus the taxi fares.Those who escape the pains meted on those who usually use a one transport system Uganda has in disguise also a story to tell.
One afternoon,I was leaving Kampala,on my way to Jinja town- Jinja town was once an industrial hub and the second largest town of Uganda.What I do not know is whether it is still holding the status-the reasons that the industries it was famous and proud of had shifted to Kampala- the Capital city of Uganda,and Jinja is now presumed to be a dead town.
I boarded a Coaster Japan made taxi vehicle at the Diamond Trust building in Kampala.While inside the vehicle I enjoyed seeing people of both sex- young and old entering the vehicle,some could greet others not! An old woman of about 65 years entered the vehicle and sat at the left hand side of the vehicle on the same seat I was. She looked very happy and lively because she greeted every one who dared to listen.
At last our taxi was full.The fare collector announced 5000 shillings as charge for the journey and no passenger in the vehicle protested the announcement- a sign that signified to the driver that it was his time to take charge behind the steering wheel.You remember the old woman I told you earlier in the passage? Fine.Having gone about six kilometers- we had gone through Nakawa,Banda, Bweyogerere and Kireka suburbs,begged the taxi driver to find a place along side the road for her to release herself because her bladder had announced that it wanted to pass out the unwanted stuff from her body.Surprisingly the driver continued with his job without giving a hint to the old woman’s request.The old woman once again pleaded loudly to the man behind the steering wheel to stop so that she passes out urine that had became unbearable to her.
Instead the taxi driver doing exactly what the old woman wanted he barked profusely at her asking why she did not actually use 200 shillings while she was still in Kampala where there are many public conveniences to answer the Adam’s call instead of wasting his time and that of the passengers,and he continued to drive.
Wow! the old woman rose up,carried her suit above her waist and began to urinate inside the vehicle and wet the packs of other passengers who were inside the vehicle.At this stage the passengers joined the fly and bitterly abused the taxi driver who arrogantly ignored the ethos of the land and also disrespected the old woman.However, the old woman added salt to injury when she warned the taxi driver that he should learn to listen to the people who uses his vehicle because he actually do not know the types of diseases that affects them.” today it has been urine, the other time it could be faeces” she affirmed.
Uganda government has plans to break the monopoly taxi owners are enjoying by importing Buses in the country soon.The only obstacles it has to bear is the narrow and poor roads and the increasing prices of petroleum.The Uganda parliament has embarked on the debate on how best it can care for the elderly through a drifted bill which is soon expected to become law.Let us all hope that soon or later the Buses will start to pry the country, roads will be improved too and the indiscipline drivers shaped by the pending competition as time goes by.That was the woman in the taxi!