Taxi operators in Mbarara have Tuesday morning stormed the RDC’s office demanding accountability for their savings in Mbarara United Taxi Operators’ Cooperative Union Ltd (MUTOCU).
The complainants accused the Union Chairperson, Robert Beyagira (also Director of Global Buses), his Vice Chairperson, Sunday Bukenya and another member identified as Aaron Kanyikirize for failing to conduct a single meeting for the last four years the Union has been in existence.
Mususu Swabdul says that for the last four years, the Union has not received any accountability for their funds.
“The issue at hand is about poor leadership of the taxi park which has caused us to come here. I have been carrying out tax driving since 1996 and the leaders I found are the ones still in power that has even never drove any tax on the road,” Swabdul.
MUTOCU was formed in 2016 after merging of Mbarara United Tax Operators and Drivers Association (MUTODA) with Mbarara United Taxi Drivers, Conductors, and Owners Cooperative Society Limited (MUTOCOS).
Swabdul revealed that since then the union has been collecting Shs 8,000 from the drivers as part of the savings for the prosperous growth of the association.
“There is money we collect every day. Each driver pays Shs 8,000 but for the last four years, we have never received accountability of those collections,” he said.
He asked the RDC to block the meeting called on by the municipality Principal Commercial Officer, James Agaba which was set to take place at Rwizi Arch Hotel.
The taxi operators and a total of about Shs 11.5m is missing as part of the union collections since 2016.
The meeting was among others meant to elect the top management as the union is elevated into a SACCO as per the president’s advice.
“We want the RDC to block the meeting so that they can first give us accountability for the money we have been depositing. If we find that they have served us well, we shall reappoint them. If not, we elect a new leadership,” said Swabdul.
The Deputy RDC of Mbarara, Emmy Kateera Turyabagyenyi, confirmed that the taxi operators petitioned the RDC’s office to have the said meeting blocked.
“Members of the Mbarara municipality tax association have this morning petitioned the office of the RDC against the pending general meeting that was slated to take place today. They protest the manner in which it was organized and the lack of accountability by the present leadership before a meeting could be held,” explained Turyabagyenyi.
He has directed that the meeting be halted until the two parties have agreed on the way forward.
“It is alleged that the leaders of the Union who are being accused of mismanagement of union funds have not yet given accountability and yet they are the ones trying to usurp the leadership of the SACCO”.
He asked the taxi operators to resume work and also scheduled a general meeting with the Union managers to resolve the issue in contention.
“I have directed the municipal commercial officer to halt the meeting to first sort out who qualifies to be a member of the SACCO and who qualifies to be a member of the union. After we have sorted out and agreed on some positions of those issues we shall then call a general meeting which will look for the new leadership of the union and the leadership of a SACCO,” said Turyabagyenyi.
When SoftPower News visited the taxi park, people could be seen stranded.
However, shortly the taxis arrived and normal business resumed.
Mbarara Taxi park accommodates over 300 taxis operating on Lyantonde, Ibanda, Masaka, Ntungamo, Bushenyi, Kasese and Kabale.