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#AddisTaxiStrike 2016: Taxi-Drivers today strikes for similar reasons as in 1998! Ethiopian Gov. Acts like business as usual.

Addis Taxi Strike 2016

Here is quick look into the new Taxi-Strike in Addis Ababa; that is escalating today into more towns in Ethiopia. That is interesting as the country has massive history. When it comes to strikes and had a giant demonstration that has toppled governments in the past. This might just be about a law, but this law comes from Federal Transport Authority. Seems like the Taxi Drivers is not interested in a new regulations and that opens the possibility of taking their licenses away.

I will bring some historic Taxi Strikes from Addis Ababa. The ones I will mention is the one in 1998 seemed to be for the same reasons actually. The other I will mention is in 1974 we’re because of the high oil-prices and also directly against the government. From the strikes of the past there are certainly things we can learn from and at the same time; see the similarities between 2016 and 1998. Just take a brief look.

The Taxi Strike of 1974:

“The second conjuncture was the steep rise in oil prices following OPEC embargo of 1973, which hit the Ethiopian economy hard. The inevitable result was galloping inflation that left a large hole in the pockets of urban wage-earners. Taxi drivers came out on strike over pump prices in February 1974 and teachers followed suit” (Nugent, 2012).”The Taxi drivers were going to go on strike as of 18 February, of Teachers’ Association decided to join them and bring the country’s educational system to a standstill on the same day” (…)”The Students, who since the late 1960s, had deliberately abandoned pursuing corporatist interests in favor of advocating a fundamental change through class boycotts, demonstrations and the distribution of anti-government leaflets, found in the taxi drivers and teachers long sought-after allies and, on 18 February, poured out onto the streets of Addis Ababa chanting revolutionary slogans and agitating resistance against the government” (Andargachew, 2009).

Lesser known Taxi Strike in 1998:

“Addis Ababa — Taxi drivers in Addis Ababa went on strike on Wednesday, July 8, 1998 in protest against new traffic regulations put into operation by the Transport and Communications Bureau of the Addis Ababa Administration as of the same date” (…)”The regulations identify several categories of traffic offences, matching them with their respective fines. The offences and their respective penalties are as follows (“Addis Zemen”, Sene 27, 1990 E.C.)”(AllAfrica.com, 1998).

More on the strike in 1998:
“Stiff new traffic safety regulations introduced: Stringent new traffic regulations have been introduced in Addis Ababa to stem a rising trend of traffic accidents in the city. According to officials, Addis Ababa currently suffers the highest rate of traffic accidents in the world with a total of 9,714 incidents recorded in the past 12 months with 300 deaths, 2,340 injuries, and a loss of property worth 11.6 million birr (approx. U.S. $1.7 million). The death toll represented a 17 per cent increase from the previous year. Announcing the move on July 3, the Transport and Communications Bureau announced the regulations put traffic offences into six categories entailing penalties raging from 40 to 140 birr, with the most serious resulting in court proceedings and the disqualification of drivers. Taxi owners, who described the new rules as “punitive rather than preventive”, held a one day strike on July 8 to protest the regulations. (The monitor, July 4-5)” (UNDP, 1998).

Taxi Strike Addis 2016 P1

This Year’s Strike:

On the 29th February different parts of the City the strike started. Quickly reached all part of the city and the taxis was not to be seen. The Areas with no taxi services was verified early at Saris, Megenegna, Kassanchis, Abnet, Shiro,Meda and Jemmo. The reports early were also that workers and students from the Southern parts of Addis Ababa could not get to town. The Addis Standard told earlier in the day that buses took people from Asko, Plassa, Arat Killo and Mercato R areas. Government tried to get people to take buses as the taxis was already striking. People were stranded at Sandafa, Laga Tafo and Burayu. There was even some taxis trying to avoid being a apart of the strike, instead they ended with violent reactions as they countered the solidarity between the drivers. The strike also led to the ordinary commuters to and owners of cars taking them to gas stations and long ques at the gas stations. After some hours even Bajaj drivers joined the taxi drivers in their strike in Holota. Special Eyewitness statement during the day was one: “Taxi strike Addis and Oromia Special Zone are in a mess situation as there was strikes by public transport providers. All taxes, minibus, higers and lonchins were in strike. In response this serious transportation problem there was conflict between police and public at Burayu (Keta district) around 8.00 am”.

On the 30th February the strike continued in Addis Ababa and there were no signs of them in the streets. The government had by this time deployed 380 public buses to get people moving in the city. There outcome is longer ques and traffic jams than normally.

ETV Taxi Strike 01.03.2016

During the 1st March while still the strike was going on. On the ETV the newscaster had the balls to call the taxi-strikers was calling them “terrorist”. Surely the walking is going to his head as he need to walk it seems.

On the 2nd March the strike continues and at some taxi stations around towns there are more donkey carts than ever and still no taxis. As the Taxi Drivers really means business when it comes to this law and matter!

Government Should Cancel the new traffic regulation – Taxi Drivers: 

Another news report after an hour after the start of the strike said this:

“As we have reported an hour ago, #addistaxistrike has continued. They are protesting a new Ethiopian law that has ignored them” (…)”BREAKING: Taxis in Addis Ababa go on strike against a new driving rule” (SiTube, 29.02.2016).

Background:

“Following the announcement of a new decree to execute Regulation Number 208/2010 that the Federal Transport Authority is said to implement on drivers, taxi drivers in the city of Addis Ababa have called for and started a strike that will last for two days. As the news of strike started circulating, Transport Authority announced its plan to postpone the implementation of the decree for three months to ‘create awareness’ in advance” (…)”Fana Broadcasting Corporate, on its news feed, has interviewed people from the Associations of Taxi Owners where they claimed the strike was called without their consent and urged the drivers to end their strike and start serving the public immediately” (Zone 9, 29.02.2016).

“Taxis stopped operating on Monday morning, leaving the Addis Ababa city short of taxis. Long queues were observed throughout the city as passengers lined up for taxis this morning” (…)”Meanwhile, the Federal Transport Authority said it is putting on hold of the traffic bill for three months. The Authority will “postpone consideration of the bill until there is wider agreement on a solution,” it said in a written statement to the state owned radio” (Fantahun, 29.02.2016).

Addis Taxi Strike 2016. Gas Quejpg

The Law that the Taxi Drivers strike about:

“Taxi drivers in Addis Abeba and its surroundings are striking as of this morning against a new traffic regulation which started to be implemented as of Monday 22 February” (…)”In 2009 the Addis Abeba City Council favorably voted to ratify the new traffic regulation, Road Transport and Traffic Control Regulation. Following the 2009 ratification of the amended regulation, the Addis Abeba Transport Bureau (AATB) claims to have had discussions with taxi and city mid-bus owners’ associations as well as the society at large before reaching at the recent decision to implement to regulation, seen by many as too strict and unpractical” (…)”The Regulation stipulates a six month suspension of driving licenses and additional driving lessons for drivers who lost 14 -16 points due to previous offenses. A driver who has 17 -19 points deducted from his/her records will get his/her driving license suspended for a year; and any driver who gets 20 and above points deducted will have his/her driving license permanently revoked and can only re-apply for a fresh driving lessons after a gap of two years” (…)”AATB estimates that Addis Abeba is home to close to more than 4, 000 white minibuses, 8,000 blue minibuses and more than 500 mid-buses (known as Higer buses), all providing the much needed transport within the city and its environs. It is estimated that the blue and white minibuses together provide transport services to about 1.1 million commuters every day, while the 500 mid-buses transport no less than 700, 000 commuters. The Addis Abeba city bus enterprise operates more than 800 city busses that transport an estimated 1.2 – 1.3 million passengers per day” (Mahlet, 2016).

Some reasons why the strike happens:

“The latest strikes by taxi drivers is one among a growing opposition by Ethiopians against an oppressive minority government that’s facing resistance from all corners of the country. Regime’s forces on Monday reportedly detained several students who were showing their solidarity with the taxi drivers. The students were staging a protest in the sub divisions of the city called Ayer Tena and Awtobis Tera. Their whereabouts is not yet know” (ECADF Ethiopian News, 01.03.2016).

Addis Taxi Strike 02.03. 2016

More strikes not only Addis:

“Taxis and other vehicles of public transportation in several towns in the Oromia region surrounding the capital Addis Ababa went on a strike on Tuesday. Holeta, Burayu, Ginchi, Ambo, Woliso, Asela, Bale and Robe were some of the towns hit by a massive transportation crisis. Some of the towns began the strike on Monday, on the first day of strike by taxi drivers in the capital Addis Ababa that brought the city to a halt. Even the scooters, the widely used form of transport in the smaller towns, locally known as “bajaj” were not to be seen in the streets” (…)”The government announced that the new regulations has been suspended for three months but the drivers want it scrapped altogether” (ESTA News, 01.03.2016).

Ripple effect:

“Though many taxi drivers that talked to the Voice of America (VOA) Amharic Service correspondent Eskinder Frew were skeptical that the government would scrap the directive, they said they were obeying the orders passed by their union leaders” (…)”The EPRDF government, which is facing a stiff opposition in Oromia region, is facing numerous challenges, including violent clashes in Gonder, as well as in eastern and southeastern regions such as in Gambella. When news broke that the taxis were boycotting in Addis, many mistook as the last straw that broke the camel’s back” (VOA, 02.03.2016).

Taxi Strike Addis 2016 P2

This Taxi Strike is about a certain regulation and law that will make it harder for the Taxi driver and also more expensive. Also make a system where many will lose the license quick and take away the livelihood of the Taxi Drivers. This here proves that there is discontent between the professional drivers and the authorities; seems also to be based on old grudges as I am impressed to see the similarities between the 1998 strikes and the ones now. Not the ones in 1974 even if they are more “famous” and had a greater historical impact on Ethiopia. This one here is regulation and monetary matters, as it also was in 1974 when the oil-prices was high because of OPEC blockade; the issue know may also be because of high oil-prices in Ethiopia, but also because of the new law, and that was the same in 1998. There is not harmony between the government/authorities and the Taxi Drivers, as the strike seem to continue, it has been on the third day and I wonder how long they will continue. Especially since it now is also happening in other towns than in Addis Ababa. The interesting thing is to see how little international response it has gotten or in media in general on the outside of Ethiopia. Don’t you think?

Hope that was interesting, because it was for me! Peace.

Reference:

AllAfrica – ‘Ethiopia: New Traffic Regulations Trigger Taxi Drivers’ Strike’ (10.07.1998) link: http://allafrica.com/stories/199807100058.html

Andargachew, Tiruneh – ‘The Ethiopian Revolution 1974-1987: A Tranformation from an Aristocratic to a Totalitarian Autocracy” – (03.12.2009) Cambridge University Press

ESTA News – ‘Taxi strike in Oromia towns following a two day strike in the capital, cabs in Addis resume work Tuesday afternoon’ (01.03.2016) link: http://ethsat.com/taxi-strike-in-oromia-towns-following-a-two-day-strike-in-the-capital-cabs-in-addis-resume-work-tuesday-afternoon/

Fantahun, Arefayne – ‘Taxi drivers go on strike protesting traffic bill’ (29.02.2016) link: http://www.ethiopiaobserver.com/2016/02/taxi-drivers-go-on-strike-protesting-traffic-bill/

Mahlet, Fasil – ‘NEWS: ADDIS ABEBA AND ITS SURROUNDINGS HIT BY MASSIVE TAXI DRIVERS’ STRIKE’ (29.02.2016) link: http://addisstandard.com/news-addis-abeba-and-its-surroundings-hit-by-massive-taxi-drivers-strike/

Nugent, Paul – ‘Africa Since Independence’ (13.06.2012) – Palgrave Macmillan; 2nd edition edition

UNDP Emergency Unit for Ethiopia – ‘Monthly Situation Report for Ethiopia – July 1998’ (11.08.1998) link: http://reliefweb.int/report/eritrea/monthly-situation-report-ethiopia-july-1998

VOA/EthioMedia – ‘Taxis in Addis end strike after directive’s implementation postponed’ (02.03.2016) link: http://www.ethiomedia.com/1010ideas/5093.html

Zone 9 –‘Taxi Drivers of Addis Ababa on Strike’ (29.02.2016).

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NRM Bus Company Ltd – “Ferrying crowds for the benefit of Party NRM-O”; In Service since 3. November 2015!

NRM Bus Company Limited

The National Resistance Movement Bus Company Limited started its operation on the Presidential Nominations Rally on the 3rd November 2015. The buses was used from the districts and picking up ‘Crime Preventers’ to the Campaign venue. As the successful launch was not without defects as the Company stranded the people in Kampala instead of ferrying them home.

The NRM Bus Company has verified the actual value of their “car-park” as they have 168 buses. Which is being used to serve the company and make sure they deliver people to the campaign venues; the people themselves don’t want to show up without being payed and getting a free ride there. The people who usually doesn’t attend the rallies as the villages and small towns to get to the main venues to see Bebe Cool, Jose Chameleone and the Executive Director of the NRM Bus Company Honorable Yoweri K. Museveni. The one man who has used some of his funds to start the company!  

Kayunga Buses 08.02.2016

In the November 2015 alone the Bus Company used UGX 140m on the expenses on the company side (Alliance for Campaign, 2015).

NRM Bus

Operational Launch of the Company:

On the initial launch of the company for the nomination rally the Company used the NRM Secretariat UGX 45m to have enough funds to get people from Lyantonde and Mubende to Kololo Independence Grounds on the 3rd November 2015. From the Area the Company had promised to send 15 buses, but only 9 showed up; so the Company did not deliver that day to expectation in the area. Buses from Kololo were also using the service of the Company from Kabale to the campaign venue.  

To the Luweero rallies the Buses was pre-occupied to get the people from the villages to the venues on the 9th November 2015. They ferried Crime Preventers that was stranded after the Kololo break-down to the rallies in Luweero.

On the 25th November the rally in Kotido town, where people from the villages had been ferried to; but the Company had also engagements in other parts to secure attendance for the party that owns the Company, though the delivery was sub-par in Kotido as the people we’re stranded as the Company was not prepared to facilitate people home on that occasion.

The Operation on 12th December the Company had a successful business as they used 30 buses from Mbale to Bududa. The ones that took the opportunity that day in Mbale got UGX 5k and free yellow t-shirt.

The Company suffered a big set-back in Mbale at 12th December as the truck-drivers was not fairly compensated or the former pledges of the NRM Company was not being kept. Even when a Government Official in the Region District Commander (RDC) was going to negotiate with the Company men, they still refused.

On the 18th December the Company had a sufficient delivery as the Campaign in Tororo was filled to the brim with no locals and that people from all corners was payed to attend the rallies that day. The people came the day before and Company surely did get people to the event on the 19th of December.

Yellow Buses Luweero 081115 NRM

On the 4th January in Kabale towards the main rally at the Kabale Stadium, from all around the villages in the district buses was travelling and giving money to attend the campaign rally. The amount of cost for this rally was expected to cost the company UGX 500m.

They had operations at the 6th January in 2016 to get people from Ntungamo to Rukungiri to make sure that the people arrived safely to the Rukungiri campaign venue. The worst part of the delivery was the village people who had joined and taken part of the services on the 6th January in Kihihi, was stranded at the Kihihi Police Station; so the Bus Company did not live up to expectations.

On the 10th January in Isingiro the Crime Preventers was the one who was attending the Campaing Rally, while the locals walked home, successful in the way the Company got Crime Preventers to the venue, but the locals did not use the service.

In January they had a central in Mbarara while making sure the affiliations and hired extended companies like 11th January the Global Buses to ship people to the Campaign venues. As the 13th January hired another buses to make sure they got people from the districts around the area to get people to Bushenyi.    

Mbarara Buses 12.01.2016

On the 2nd February the Company fixed trucks and buses to get people to the Sembabule rally of the owning party, but did not facilitate to get people home, as they we’re stranded, the Company was off to other engagements and rallies; was also not ordered to get people back home after the rally.

On the 4th February the Company used it resources and got people as far as Kalangala to be a part of the rally at Masaka. They used rented and owned trucks from the long distance areas to make the full with people.

On the 8th February to be able to have enough people for the rallies that day, the Bus Company had operations in the Busoga Region, giving T-Shirts and UGX 20k and the ride to the campaign venues of the day. As the locals that day would not attend on the rallies there.

On the 10th of February the Company had troubles with the arrangement and buses where in the shop so the service delivery was substandard and therefore the amount of people at rallies in Entebbe as the mechanical problems destroyed the result of the company that day.

On the 11th February the Company had hired Global to be successful again getting people from Mbarara to Kampala to attend the venue graced by the company.

Kampala NRM 12.02.2016

Today (12.02.2016)  in Kampala the NRM Bus Company have been busy with offering ferrying services from Central Parts of city to Kawempe main rally, as the operations drops UGX 5k as the Bus Service was in operations in Kampala.

Basic Part of the Operation of the NRM Bus Company Limited: 

As we see the operations since the beginning has not been perfect, but that is to blame for the mobilisers who has not address the central organizations as Mike Ssebalu as the NRM Campaign Task Manger or Gen. Tukumunde “the money man” who hasn’t fixed the money from the owning party. As the NRM Bus Company is not yet a fully functional enterprise or limited company as it will be after the 19th February. Then the NRM Bus Company Limited will both dissolve and sell the buses, so they can be customized for those who want the buses that have tested the worst roads of the country while driving from village to village. Our main spokesman in Ofwono Opondo who will delegate the issues that you have through the Uganda Media Centre, while Jim Muhwezi and his men in the Ministry of Information and National Guidance, as they take the questions you may have on the NRM.ug as that is in their working title. So the Press if they have issues should either address Hon. Opondo or Hon. Muhwezi. The Executive will just address the bus-matter if the participation is fully in his hand and not set standards by anybody else. If you have issues with procurement or allocations as the party sometimes as owner delivers the payments slow, be assured the Dr. Ruhakana Ruganda will come with the necessary facilitation to make sure the venue and people have the money that they deserve for being a part of the Bus Company, A customer and also a citizen at the same time. Peace.

Reference:

Alliance for Campaign – ‘MONITORING CAMPAIGN EXPENSES DURING THE PRE-ELECTION PERIOD’ – PROGRESS REPORT NOVEMBER – DECEMBER 2015

The Thirteen Day of Presidential Rallies in Uganda + New Pledges from the Government..

Janet M7 in Mbarara 21.11.15

Today has been a good day a Saturday with quotes and actions from the trails. There been some serious hazard of actions from the ruling party of NRM. But hat is understandable, that is the only thing they know. That’s why the others have to campaign with defiance and strength to overcome the ruling party. There is heavy campaigning. Though not reports from them all. Like the smaller candidates.

I got the most notable from the trio of Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Dr. Kizza Besigye and Amama Mbabazi. Not squat on the rest today.  

Erias Lukwago: “It’s now interesting that 95% of KCCA NRM councilors have not returned at the primaries”.

NRM vice chairperson eastern region Capt. Micheal Mukula said this recently: “Jinja town will never be granted a city status while still in the hands of the opposition”.

Ibrahim Nganda Ssemujju – “I have a feeling that if Kayihura doesn’t like you; you may not be announced winner”.

Dr. Kizza Besigye on the trail: “We spent $760m to buy 6 fighter jets. We can get $360m to buy laptop for secondary students”.

Gen. Mugisha Muntu: “I don’t understand why the most marginalized districts overwhelmingly vote for NRM”.

Olara Otunu: “Museveni has used the dived and rule policy”.

Amama Mbarara 21.11.15

In Mbarara where Go-Forward and Amama Mbabazi are having an rally later today on this Saturday. The Police wasn’t happy about that so they has jailed two hundred (200) boda-boda drives, motorcycle taxis, so that there would be less transport from town to the venue where the former PM where holding his Presidential Rally later today. Also the day before the Campaign rally of Amama Mbabazi their posters was taken down and changed for the NRM-Posters. Surely this is clean business as usual for the NRM-Regime. After the rally and little or no pay from the promised chiefs to shun the Go-Forward Rally; they have no been running and chasing the local RDC Office “demanding payment for their service”.

M7 21.11.15

While in Kakyeka at the Total there the ones who was travelling and refueling their motorcycles was paid by the NRM for fuel, but many just entered the Total with NRM-posters, but when they left the Gas-Station they just threw the NRM-Poster away.

In Bushenyi there been groups and teams who has had their duty to take down campaign material and posters of Go-Forward and Amama Mbabazi posters in the town. They have even been caught on tape explaining the plans on how to do so. And that is fair game?

In Mitooma District NRM Supporters was disrupting the event and venue for the Go-Forward and Amama Mbabazi. That was because this district was a Museveni District.

Next weeks planned Presidential Rally for the Go-Forward team at the Lira Golf Grounds. They have now been sealed down with Iron sheets. So that when the other candidates will have a venue in town they have to arrange it at smaller spots like Mayors Ground.

Bududa Manafwa KB 21.11.15

In Bududa there were 104 NRM members who deflected after the rally to the FDC camp.

Letter from Go-Forward to ICC:

ICC Amama P1ICC Amama P2

UPC Drama:

UPC leaders in Acholi have shunned the Jimmy Akena over the NRM agreement and alliance.

Bududa/Manafwa (Mwanyaala Naabi):

The health services system under FDC led Government will consider the citizen as the central focus and include a complete package: treatment, diagnosis, prevention, education, research and outreach. It must take into account the unique roles of women and the burden they shoulder in caring for the sick in our households and community. ‪#‎WesigeBesigye

Dr. Kizza Besigye Quote Outspend

Some Government letters: 

Security Requirements 201115 P1Security Requirements 201115 P2

One More:

Provision Hoes 20.11.15

A little more:

Hepatitis Ug 2015 P1Hepatitis Ug 2015 P2

Aftermath:

So there we go; another day done and the trail continue at high speed. The Police is very active still and showing its face yet again. For those who wondered if the police would be a part of this election? They are and the one interesting are the reactions to the deal between NRM and UPC. How the leaders of UPC respond. Hope you enjoyed. There will be more to follow. We have the rest of November, December, January and parts of February. There will be more and more actions from the ones involved. It is just a matter of time before the Public Order Management Act gets into action! Peace.

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