Kampala — HUNDREDS of passengers were stranded in Mbarara town yesterday as taxi drivers went on strike, protesting "harsh rules and heavy fines".
The conflict stemmed from a disagreement between the drivers and Bekaka Mbarara Transporters, the firm managing Mapema Park.
The New Vision, however, could not get a comment from the company's officials, who were in a meeting with the Police.
The drivers accuse the company of blocking them from loading passengers outside the park and fining culprits sh5,000.
The chaos began at around 8:00am when drivers burnt a kiosk in the park.
This prompted an anti-riot Police team, headed by the district commander, Ivan Nkwasiibwe and the traffic chief, Daniel Chemonges, to swing into action.
They fired teargas, prompting many drivers to park their taxis. Business was paralysed as passengers walked to and from town.
Aaron Kayikirire, the drivers' chairman, said the aim of the strike was to send a message to the municipality authorities and park managers. "This is the time to openly show Mbarara municipal council our concerns.
"They have imposed harsh rules, which inconvenience our work."
He said four drivers Jude Mwesigye, Akim Byaguta, Siragi Sansa and Brasio Mwesigwa, were on March 31 beaten by the managers of the park for no reason.
Kayikirire said the drivers were admitted at Mbarara Hospital, adding that the regional taxi drivers association, MTODA, had ignored their plight.
Chemonges said the situation had been brought under control by press time.