Residents in Lower Nava Village in Njeru municipality near Nile Discovery – the home of the annual Nyege Nyege festival – have clashed with municipal council authorities over parking, ahead of the carnival. The four-day annual event is expected to start today.
Most revelers come with their vehicles, and residents near the venue turn their compounds into parking yards. The revelers then pay the locals for keeping their cars. However, residents say the municipality has declared this year, that the locals will have to pay a 70 per cent ‘tax’ on each car parked in their compound.
Mr Emmanuel Keem said on average he gets 50 cars per day, with each paying between Shs10,000 and Shs50,000 per day depending on the car. He is however not happy with the municipality’s proclamation.
“Organisers of the festival want people to benefit from the parking but the municipality is trying to levy 70 per cent on each car that is parked. These plots are ours and this is the only way we can benefit from Nyege Nyege.
Ms Rosette Namatovu, also a resident of Lower Nava, said they have been earning a lot from private parking but this time council wants to interfere which they are not willing to accept.
“It is an event that lasts for only three days in 12 months; why then does council want to interfere with it? We are not going to pay the 70 per cent tax which is unknown to us,” she said.
Mr John Bisiku, the Njeru municipality environment officer, who spoke on behalf of the council, declined to comment on the 70 per cent tax, but said they are not going to allow any private parking.
“All those who will need to park their cars will park them in the municipality compound which is big enough to accommodate over 800 cars.
“Last year, parking was a challenge, so we have decided to provide council gardens from between Shs10,000 to Shs40,000, depending on the car. I have not heard about a 70 per cent tax,” he said.