At least 100 lock-up shop owners operating at Mukono Taxi Park have a reason to smile.
Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) has announced plans to compensate the traders, who have been affected by the ongoing construction of the Mukono-Kayunga road.
Unra is currently verifying the vendors with a view to draw a genuine list of those to be compensated.
The impending relocation of lock-up shop owners will enable Unra to construct a roundabout in the heart of Mukono Town.
Mr Mark Ssali, the head of public and corporate affairs at Unra, said the chief government valuer is yet to assess how much money every affected trader will be paid.
“The contractor told us to prepare a separate report for the section in question called Mukono Junction, located just next to Mukono Taxi Park,” Mr Ssali said during an interview on Wednesday.
“We engaged them (lock-up shop owners), gave a report to the chief government valuer who visited the site two weeks ago and we hope to get the approval this week then after, we sensitise the traders and proceed with the verification before payments can be done,” he added.
Reynolds Construction Company Ltd is the company contracted to reconstruct Kayunga-Mukono road, but its works stalled last year in Mukono Town.
The company could not push on with the works because of the delay in relocating the vendors.
Lock-up shop owners protested the demolition and asked the municipality authorities to give them more time as they look for where to relocate their businesses.
Mr Ssali said by pulling down the kiosks and lock-up shops, the contractor will be able to put an extra lane to reduce the heavy traffic jam in the area.
“We have identified the area to expand and widen the road. We hope this will reduce the traffic jam in the area, especially along the Mukono – Kampala -Jinja high way,” he said.
Mukono Municipality mayor George Fred Kagimu said many of the lock-up shops are in the road reserve, including part of the taxi park and have to be razed to allow smooth expansion of the road.
“Part of the taxi park that will remain after the road project, will be turned into a green park and a parking lot for private cars ,” Mr Kagimu said.
He said the municipal council is currently looking for land where to relocate the taxi operators.
“The taxi park has been small and not enough for all the commuter taxis, so we are looking for people with big chunks of land within the municipality to negotiate with them and relocate the park there,” Mr Kagimu said.
Mr Edward Kiwanuka, the chairperson of Mukono Taxi Park Traders, said they are aware of the pending eviction and are ready to relocate once they are compensated.
“We are only waiting for compensation because the municipal council authorities said it’s Unra responsible for our pay,” Mr Kiwanuka said.
However, Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze urged traders not to rush to vacate the area until the matter is thoroughly investigated.
According to Ms Nambooze, although Unra wants to expand the junction that connects Mukono –Kayunga road to Kampala-Jinja highway, some municipal council leaders want to take advantage of the situation to grab plots of land in the taxi park.
“I have petitioned Parliament over this matter and I am yet to lead the traders and taxi operators to meet the Speaker,” Ms Nambooze said.