Mbarara, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Minister of Local Government has directed the Mbarara City Clerk Asse Babireeba to interdict two officials, citing dubious allocations of Central Market Lockups.
The officials who the minister wants interdicted are; James Agaba, the Principal City Commercial Officer, his assistant Donati Mutahi. The Minister says the two should starting on April 11th stay out of the office as investigations are carried out.
The Minister Raphael Magyezi has also directed the Mbarara Central Market Vendors Association leadership chaired by Muhammed Nyombi to stop its operations and also halted the process of verifying lists until investigations are complete.
The Minister says he is investigating the alleged victimization, conflict of interest and corruption by the city officials, the verification committee, and the Association leadership.
Magyezi says the verification committee failed its mandate by accepting fake documents, allowing non-vendors to occupy stalls, charging a lot of money, and Association leadership sharing many stalls among themselves among other issues.
The Interdiction follows complaints raised by a section of vendors accusing them of bribery and poor allocation of lockups.
Jimmy Muhumuza, a vendor says he had two shops before the reconstruction of the market but during the allocation, he was dropped from the list and not given any lockup.
Emilly Musiime another vendor says her stall number 12 was given to another person because she refused to pay the 100,000 shillings she was asked to pay. Musiime says the select committee failed their responsibilities and played filthy with the vendors.
Lydia Karungi, the senior Programme officer Ministry of Local Government who is the chairperson of the verification committee says they zoned the market depending on the MATTIP guidelines noting that the complaining vendors’ are objecting to the way the market was zoned. She says they are doing a re-allocation.
She says the other group of vendors complaining are those that have been in the market in the last five years and are renting lockups and stalls but have no memorandum of understanding between them and the ministry.
She says they managed to allocate over 717 vendors and are still data validating to fully allocate all the vendors.
Muhammed Nyombi, the chairperson of the Vendors Association says he is fine with the investigations and his leaderships’ suspension from operations. He says vendors have a right to a free and fair process in the allocation after almost five years of suffering at Independence park.
The 21 Billion shillings market that sits on an acre of land, was constructed by the government under the Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Programme (MATIP) with support from the African Development Bank (ADB) and is expected to accommodate over 1000 vendors.