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Gov’t starts compensation process for Owino, Nakasero market traders

Aerial view of Nakasero market

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  The government has started the process to compensate traders of St. Balikuddembe market – Owino and Nakawa Markets. 

In 2020, President Museveni directed the Minister of Kampala to with immediate effect remove from the government markets the Association leaders and supervise the sellers to elect new leaders.  

Museveni stated that many of the current leaders in the markets registered themselves as the proprietors of the markets instead of the Association of sellers or vendors. 

He also ordered that all association leaders should stand aside so that the issue of compensating them which he said was being messed up by the colluders could be understood better. 

Following the directive, KCCA moved to take over markets including Owino, Nakasero, Wandegeya, Bugolobi, and Nakawa among others.  However, Nakasero and Owino had been leased out to vendors who demanded compensation before they could surrender the markets.

The Resident City Commissioner Hud Hussein says they have started the process to compensate Nakasero and Owino vendors who had acquired land. He explains that they are doing so to ensure that government takes full control of the markets.

Initially, KCCA said they wouldn’t compensate vendors because that land is government property whose lease they acquired from Uganda Land Commission. 

In November 2020 Owino vendors St. Balikuddembe Market Stalks, Space and Lockups Shop Owners Association- SSLOA who possess a lease title over Owino land ran to court and attained an injunction barring KCCA from taking over the Market until they have settled with the vendors’ group.

However, KCCA went ahead to take over the market and put in place an interim leadership.

Last week, Nakasero Market vendors sued KCCA demanding 300 Billion Shillings in compensation. The applicants through their lawyer Kenneth Paul Kakande say they acquired a 49-year lease over the land at Shillings two billion and annual ground rent of 90 Million Shillings annually which they have been paying. The money was collected by individual vendors inform on shares sold by the association.

Some vendors who had contributed to the land acquisition say they had big plans to redevelop the land and that as the government takes over, they need to be compensated.

The KCCA Spokesperson Daniel NuweAbine says that the Chief government valuer is currently valuing Nakasero and Owino land that had been leased out to private developers. It is then that KCCA shall determine how much is required to compensate the landlords.

Umar Buyinza, the Spokesperson of SSLOA says the government has not engaged them on the compensation issue and wonders how they can start the process without engaging them.

“We attained a court injunction in November barring KCCA from taking over the land but they defied the order and installed another leadership as they seek to take over the land belonging to traders,” says Buyinza. 

Buyinza insists they acquired a 99-year lease over the land to develop it not to give it to another party. They are not interested in compensation, he says.

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