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KCCA councilors protest presidential directives on markets

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Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Councilors in Kampala have protested against Presidential directives on markets which they say undermine their efforts to legislate on management of markets and other matters in the city.

The protest was staged during a council sitting called by the authority speaker Zahara Luyirika at City Hall on Friday. In attendance were Lord and division councilors.

Two issues had been lined-up for discussion, the presidential directive on management of City markets and the proposal to accommodate street vendors at the Nakivubo Settlement Primary School for the month of December and January.

Last month, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni directed that Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA takes over management of government markets in the city and replace all current market leadership. The directive saw KCCA repossess St. Balikuddembe (Owino) Market, Wandegeya and Nakasero market and others amidst complaints from the then interim market management committees.

The second item on the agenda was the proposal to host street vendors at Nakivubo Settlement Primary School for the two months that children are in holidays. The proposal was made to the President by the Kampala Central Mayor Salim Uhuru during one of the meetings the President had with officials from KCCA. The proposal has met a lot of criticism with a section of the public interpreting that as a move to remove the school and change its land use.

The Council had resolved that street vendors should not be taken to Nakivubo Settlement Primary School but rather be left to operate on Ssebaana Kizito, Allen, and Kafumbe Mukasa roads as had earlier been passed by council. They also condemned the presidential directive saying that the president should let them make ordinances and policies to guide the operations of the City.

The Council meeting proceeded well until Makindye Woman Councilor Solome Nakiridde Sebina stood to questioning why council resolutions are not respected. Other councilors joined in, protesting against presidential directives that undermine their mandate.

The councilors who held placards condemning the presidential directives and other issues said that the president should appreciate that there are leaders in the City who are mandated to formulate bills and policies to guide on the management of the city affairs.

The speaker, Zahara Luyirika accuses president Museveni of causing all the mess in Kampala through his endless presidential directives. It should be noted that before the recent directive on markets, in 2020, Museveni also directed that KCCA reposes City markets and preside over the installation of new leaders accusing their predecessors of oppressing vendors. His latest directive, erased the earlier one, chasing away the vendors committees and ordering KCCA to take over the administration of the markets. Luyirika says that the president ought to respect the leadership of KCCA and let them legislate on city issues.

The lord mayor Erias Lukwago holds a similar view to that of the speaker. He says that it is government causing the confusion on the city, chasing away vendors from the streets before planning of them and also ignoring legislation to implement presidential directives. It should be noted that KCCA had earlier passed the Market Ordinance but the process was halted when parliament also passed a Market Bill which the president has declined to sign because of sections he disagrees with.

The bill provides for Public Private Partnership and also the involvement of vendors in the management of City markets, something the president disagrees with. Lukwago says the law is sufficient and should not be sent back to Parliament.

Although the proposal to take vendors Nakivubo Settlement has been trashed by Council, it remains to be seen if this shall be respected.

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