Govt Moves to Regulate Digital Transport Networks



Some of the online transport networks currently operating on the Ugandan market include Safe Boda, bold previously known as Taxify, Uber, Friendship Taxi, Quick Taxi and Mondo Ride.

The travel options came with the advancement in technology, giving members of the public an opportunity and convenience to request for rides in the comfort of their different locations, through the use of mobile phones. But they took the country by storm, yet drastically changed the face of the transport industry.

Now the government is proposing that any person who wishes to provide an online digital platform for provision of public service transport to passengers or goods, must apply to the Department of Transport Regulation and Safety.

This is contained in the new Traffic and Road Safety (Amendment) Bill, 2019 which was tabled before parliament last week by Works and Transport Minister Eng. Monica Azuba Ntege. The bill seeks to regulate the evolution of digital public transport services and to strengthen road transport regulation and road safety management in Uganda.

According to the principles of the Bill, the government wants to take into account new and emerging trends and dynamics of road transport and road safety management, the increased number of road users, including motorcycles, increased accidents and the need to conform to the regional and international agreements Uganda is a signatory to.

It is suggested that the Department of Transport Regulation and Safety may, require that the drivers to be hosted on the digital platform are accredited and issued with badges and require the applicant to submit a tax clearance from Uganda Revenue Authority. The government will also conduct background checks before granting licenses to the applicants.

Companies will also be expected to submit periodic reports and information to the Department of Transport Regulation and Safety.

Bulamogi County MP Kenneth Lubogo says that licensing of digital transport providers is important to ensure that gaps in the transport sector are closed and to encourage smooth operations.

Kasese Municipality MP Robert Centenary has equally welcomed the development saying that this should be one of the avenues to guarantee the safety of passengers.


Two Sentenced to 30 Years for Murdering Student



Justice Flavia Anglin Ssenoga has sentenced two men to 30-years in jail for murdering Andrew Gatare, a Rwandan National and former student of Columbia College in Canada. Justice Ssenoga found Ronald Mutebi and Geoffrey Lubwama alias Jeff guilty of murder and aggravated robbery.

Gatare met his death around 1:30am on January, 1st, 2015 along Nile Avenue on his way home after watching fireworks at Serena Hotel. The assailants stole the deceased’s black berry phone valued at more than one million Shillings and sold it off at Shillings 100,000 but only received Shillings 40,000 in cash.

Delivering her sentence this morning, Justice Ssenoga said the victim was targeted by the convicts as part of their meditated plan. She noted that although their charges are grave in nature, the death sentence is no longer mandatory and therefore handed them a 30-year jail term. “Such unlawful conduct has to be condemned to send out a message that crime cannot be tolerated, " said Ssenoga.

The judge added that the sentence is also meant to deter other would be offenders from committing similar crimes. "Over the weekend I saw in the news someone saying even if you take me my people will bail me out. We want to send a message that you cannot commit a crime and get away with it,” Ssenoga said.

The Assistant Director of Public Prosecution, Florence Akello had asked court to hand the convicts a deterrent sentence, arguing that they planned to end Gatare's life. She noted that Gatare was just 19 year old who life was ended abruptly yet he had a very bright future ahead of him.

But the convicts through their lawyers, Fredrick Mbazira and Faizal Murangira asked court to give them a lenient sentence arguing that they are first time offenders and of middle age. The convicts are in their mid-thirties. Mbazira asked court to hand Mutebi a 15 year sentence while Murangira asked that Lubwama be handed 10 years for each counts, saying they will reform.

"My Lord we send our sincere condolences to the family that lost its beloved one but our journey to reform has just started", said Murangira. He further told court that Lubwama lost one of his children while in Luzira and thus needed to return home to resume his parental responsibilities.

Mbazira also said Mutebi has school going children including a four-year-old he has never seen because he was arrested when the mother was expecting. The deceased’s relatives welcomed the judgment, saying they hope Gatare will now rest in peace.



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