Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Motorists jammed the offices of Uganda Driver Licensing Systems near the Railway grounds in Kampala on Tuesday to get their permits. The motorists formed more than four queues stretching from the company gate to Nkrumah road.
They stood close to each other in total disregard of physical distancing as one of the COVID-19 containment measures. Many of the motorists did not have facemasks. Although the government gave drivers a month to renew their permits because of the 42 days nationwide lockdown, many say traffic police officers keep intercepting them and extort money from them.
Eklas Musoke, one of the motorists who turned up to renew his permit expressed frustration because of the long queues. He told URN that he showed up on Monday to pick his permit but found the system down.
Musoke explained that he decided to return early on Tuesday and arrived at the offices by 6 am but had spent over three hours outside the gate when URN spoke to him.
Janat Muwebwa, another driver said that she turned up to pick her permit on Monday but was informed that there was a technical problem that needed to be solved before they could be served. She decided to return on Tuesday but unfortunately, found long queues, which she said also exposed them to COVID-19 infection.
Some of the motorists asked the government to improve the system, saying the services they are getting are inferior compared to those previously offered by Face technology.
The Spokesperson of the Ministry of Works and Transport, Susan Kataike apologized for the inconvenience and attributed the delay to a technical problem in the system, which affected operations on Monday. She explained that although the glitch was resolved later on Monday, it caused a huge backlog, which affected operations on Tuesday.
Kataike says they are working on introducing coupons, such that people who are not served present the coupons when they return the next day. She also revealed that the company issuing the permits had insufficient equipment like printers but they have since acquired more, which they hope will expedite work moving forward.
In addition, she says that they are working on getting vans that can provide mobile services to clients and open up more offices to ensure further decentralization of the service.