Police Surrounds Maria Flo Hotel to Stop Protests by Drivers

1954 Views Masaka, Uganda

In short
Yasin Masiimbi, the manager Villa Stage accuses George Kiberu, the Sacco Chairperson and Sseruyima Kikoma treasurer of conniving to embezzle their savings.

Police has sealed off Maria Flo Hotel in Masaka town to stop protests by Taxi drivers against the leadership of Masaka United Taxi Drivers and Owners Cooperative Society- MUTDOCS for alleged financial impropriety. It all started after dozens of taxi drivers, operators and conductors stormed out of their annual general meeting held at the Hotel and demanded the arrest of George Kiberu, the Chairperson MUTDOCS and his executive for alleged fraud. 

The drivers were enraged after Sseruyima Kikoma, the treasure Masaka United Taxi Drivers and Owners Cooperative Society failed to account for 20 million shillings collected over the last 6 months. The angry driver started shouting on top of their voices calling for the resignation of the entire SACCO executive. As a result, the embattled SACCO officials called for the eviction of the drivers from the hotel for rebelling against their leadership. However, the angry drivers and conductors wouldn’t have any of this leading to scuffle, which forced Henry Kavuma, the Masaka district police commander to intervene.

The confusion also attracted Brigadier Joseph Ssemwanga, the Masaka brigade Commander. Yasin Masiimbi, the manager Villa Stage accuses George Kiberu, the Sacco Chairperson and Sseruyima Kikoma treasurer of conniving to embezzle their savings. He dismissed the financial report presented by the executive saying it doesn’t show how much money is collected each month. Masiimbi explains that they have been remitting 50000shillings each to the Sacco, which totals to 700,000shillings from all the stages each week, but executive has failed to show how the money was utilized.

He insists the executive has to refund their money or else they are handed over to police. Sam Ssekyondwa, another angry driver says they contributed towards buying two taxis which ply Kampala –Masaka Highway. He says they expected the executive to show them how much money they get from both taxis in vain. Henry Kavuma, the Masaka District Police commander forced back some of the disgruntled drivers and conductors into the meeting hall. However, this sparked off more tensions forcing the heavy deployment of anti riot police to prevent violence from breaking out.

George Kiberu, the Chairperson Masaka United Taxi Drivers and Owners Cooperative Society- MUTDOCS has promised to address a press conference, where he will present the accountability. He says those accusing him of embezzlement are not members. Hajji Haruna Numba, a member on the executive has condemned the unrest caused by the drivers. He claims that some of the drivers who tried to stage the protest are fighting to assume the leadership of the SACCO.
 

 

About the author

Edward Bindhe
Bindhe prides himself on being a part of the society he writes about. He believes there is no way a journalist can understand his society unless it considers him a part of it. This is why he is dedicated to investigating the challenges of the "little person."

Bindhe says, "My work reflects the Uganda Radio Network unique approach to news." Not many Ugandan journalists would consider or even notice the re-emergence of Water Hyacinth on a lake. Bindhe does.

Truant children will attract Bindhe's attention until he gets to the bottom of their truancy: poverty and the need to work to earn bread for their families. These are the kinds of stories Bindhe is often after.

Edward Bindhe is the Masaka URN bureau chief. Rakai, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Kalangala, Mpigi, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts fall under his docket. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.

A Mass Communication graduate from Uganda Christian University, Bindhe started practising journalism in 2008 as a reporter for Radio Buddu in Masaka district.