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KCCA resolves to stop subleasing city markets

FILE PHOTO: Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA has resolved to stop subleasing markets such that they can be controlled by the authority.

The resolution was passed in the council meeting chaired by the City Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago on Wednesday.

The motion to stop issuance of subleases was moved by the Ag. KCCA Executive Director Eng. Andrew Kitaka. He explained that subleases are issued to people with a lot of influence in allocation of work areas in markets.

He explained that this has brought about over stay in the market and hence created a monopoly.

According to Kitaka, markets should be breeding grounds for young people to do business and not old people who have continued to occupy them for years.

He argued that when markets are managed fully by government, chances are that they will be cheaper compared to when they are private hands.

In 2014, president, Yoweri Museveni directed that the management of all markets across the country be issued to vendor’s Associations. In Kampala, market like St. Balikuddembe, Nakasero and Kisekka market were leased, which triggered conflicts.

According to the KCCA council, people who are not vendors have ended up taking these leases. This, according to the lord mayor has escalated the mismanagement of markets and caused chaos that has seen some vendors being evicted.

Lukwago says council will now move to implement the resolution through relevant offices. He adds that it is high time government invested in all City markets, developed them and managed them property for the benefit of the city residents.

The decision comes at a time when there are several conflicts over city markets.

There is contention over Bugoloobi market.  A group named Middle East Vendors Association sought a sublease over the market amidst protests from Benghazi group.

The latter petitioned the office of the Lord mayor to halt the process of the sublease until both groups and other vendors get a clear understanding of how the sublease would affect them.

Benghazi group and other vendors expressed fear of the motive behind the sublease sought by the Middle East group, which they accuse of being selfish.

In Nakawa, the situation is not calm either. A group of people attacked KCCA officials at the market on Wednesday morning demanding that they stop any activity at the market.

The LC 5 Woman councilor of Kawempe Zamini Masunge, also the chairperson of the standing committee on Gender, Community Service and Production, says the challenge with subleases is that the vendors lose a sense of ownership of the market and are left at the mercy of lease holders who sometimes exploit them since they are profit oriented.

She adds that when the market is left in the direct control of KCCA, it shall protect the interests of the vendors.

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