Mbarara, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Vendors in Mbarara city have abandoned the temporary market at Independence Park.
In 2018, the government contracted Roko Construction Company Limited to construct a 21 billion shillings market in Mbarara. The Construction that started in February 2018 was expected to be completed in two years (January 2020). However, this has been extended three times, with the last extension ending January 2021.
About 900 Vendors that used to operate from the central Market located along Buremba Road were relocated to Independence Park along the Kabale Road on July 1, 2017, to pave way for construction.
However many traders have abandoned the market. When URN reporter visited the market, most kiosks were closed and stalls empty.
Muhammad Nyombi, Chairperson Mbarara central Market Traders Association says that some of the vendors left the market due to a lack of customers. He adds that the vendors have resorted to weekly markets and hawking.
He says out of the 900 vendors, almost 200 have abandoned the temporary market and are waiting for the completion of the new market.
Caroline Nyangoma, a vendor says that the area was unsuitable for business because it’s open surrounding and distance from the business centre. She adds that when it rains, their merchandise is damaged.
Jamilah Namugayi, a vendor says that hawkers have frustrated their businesses. She says that most people prefer buying from street vendors instead of wasting their time to enter the market.
Richard Mugisha, Deputy Clerk Mbarara city, accused the contractor of delaying to complete the market. He says because the conditions at the independence park are not all that conducive they suspended the daily taxing of the vendors.
Last month Raphael Magyezi, Minister Local Government, acknowledged the delay in completion of the market noting that they are aware of the financial challenges facing the contractor.