By Spy Uganda
Kampala: Kampala metropolitan area is yet to experience the new mode of public transport from commuter taxis to bigger carrier buses as per the presidential directive last week which saw the banning of importation of buses.
‘Tondeka’ buses literally meaning ‘don’t leave me behind’ will be the new face of public transport in Kampala and the neighbouring districts and is expected to reduce on the traffic jam and congestion with scheduled routes and specific passenger stages in the city.
Tondeka’s Chief Executive Dennis Kibukamusoke welcomed the directive of the President saying it is not new because he had already directed Tondeka to only import the initial 980 buses and work out a mechanism to work with local manufacturers in the subsequent batches as the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area needs more than 3000 buses.
Kibukamusoke, however, argued government to support and finance the nascent manufacturing industry to be able to meet international standards, adding that the outbreak of Covid-19 had caused some delays, but the funding for the initial 980 buses had already been privately sourced without government liability.
In regard to the necessary bus infrastructure and organisation on the ground, Kibukamusoke revealed that a contractor had been identified and plans are underway to start on the construction of the six terminals in Gayaza, Mukono, Maya, Kakiri, Buyala, Matugga and Entebbe.
Kibukamusoke added that the bus supplier had also agreed to set up a fully-fledged maintenance workshop to ensure that the buses operate optimally.
On the bus ticketing system, Kibukamusoke said Tondeka system has already been validated by local banks and all stakeholders like the Ministry of Works, KCCA, Wakiso and Mukono local authorities are already in line adding that they are in discussions with recruitment firms that will help select and interview the over 12,000 staff expected to be directly employed by Tondeka.
These come after the 58th independence day celebrations Presidential speech where Museveni banned the importation of buses and ordered all government officials to implement his directive on local purchase of buses.
“I have already written to the government, I do not want to hear any more of imported buses, they will be bought from here, we also have the capacity to assemble our own, so, I do not want to also hear about importing assembled buses,” Museveni said, adding that the government will increase funding for science and innovation.
Meanwhile, the development may see Kiira Motors pulling tail in the market since even a couple of government agencies had instituted Probe against it for duping president and earn billions from him.
It should be remembered that previously a whistleblower petitioned Parliament, Col.Nakalema Edith and President Museveni that Kiira was importing buses from abroad yet the government had given them billions of taxpayers money to manufacture the buses here in Uganda as they had promised.
The whistleblower revealed that the Kayora Bus was not manufactured or even assembled in Uganda as Kiira Corporation previously purported, but instead, it was purchased from China and shipped to Kampala.