The Law Development Centre Court in Kampala has filed charges against Andrew Jjemba, an employee of Link Bus Company, who was recorded using his phone while operating a bus. This incident occurred on the Kampala-Fort Portal highway, and Jjemba was apprehended in Kyegegwa district after passengers voiced their concerns on social media. On Friday, Jjemba appeared before senior principal grade one magistrate Martins Kirya and was charged under Regulation 3(a) & 4 of Traffic and Road Safety (Restriction of Use of Mobile Telephone) Regulations, 2004.
The court heard that on October 31, 2023, around 10 am in Namungoona along Hoima road in Lubaga district, Jjemba was operating an Isuzu bus with registration number UBG 188P while using a mobile phone.
Prosecution, represented by Timothy Eduti, the resident state attorney at LDC Court, informed the court that investigations into the case are ongoing and requested an adjournment. Jjemba denied the charges and requested bail, citing his constitutional right to apply for it. He also mentioned that the charges are bailable by the LDC court and assured his availability for court appearances.
Jjemba provided substantial sureties, and Magistrate Kirya granted him cash bail of Shs 500,000, with each of his sureties required to execute a non-cash bond commitment of Shs 1 million, payable if Jjemba fails to appear in court. The case was adjourned to November 22, 2023.
Notably, there has been a series of accidents involving Link Buses over the past year. The most recent incident occurred in July, when a bus with registration number UAY485E collided with a stationary trailer carrying logs on the Fort Portal-Kampala highway in Mukunyu trading center, Kyenjojo district. The driver, Dauda Kawuwa, lost his life at the scene, and several passengers sustained injuries.
In February, another Link Bus accident in Mubende district at Gwanika along the Fort Portal-Kampala highway resulted in injuries to 23 people. Additionally, in 2022, a tragic accident along the Fort Portal-Kampala highway in Busoro sub-county claimed the lives of 25 people.
Following the latter incident, a joint team comprising officials from the Ministry of Works, the police, and the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) was established to investigate the cause of the accident. According to the findings, the primary cause was overspeeding. Despite the bus driver, Paul Ssempagala, having over 20 years of experience with no recorded accidents or reckless driving, the investigation noted that he was captured by police CCTV driving at a speed of 99km/hr, exceeding the prescribed limit of 80km/hr. The driver was also seen operating the bus with one hand, while the other hand appeared to be holding a suspected object, possibly a phone.