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Presidential directives generate mixed reactions among interim market leaders

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | City market leaders in Kampala have expressed mixed reactions to the new directives by the president on markets. While meeting some market leaders, Kampala Capital City Authority officials and those from the Ministry of Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs on Tuesday last week, President Yoweri Museveni gave five directives.

These are; KCCA manages all public markets, market revenue collection should be regulated under the KCCA market ordinance, and that the interim market leadership serve no later than February 2022. He also directed that all street vendors be evicted and that KCCA must provide market masters to oversee utilities and administrative concerns in the markets.

The presidential directives come at a time where Hajjat Minsa Kabanda, the minister for Kampala and metropolitan affairs is accusing the interim city market leaders of collecting dues, which the president suspended. They also come at a time when she is demanding accountability from KCCA for the money disbursed by the government to run the markets. This triggered tension between the Minister, KCCA and the interim market leaders, which prompted the meeting with the president.

In 2020, Museveni suspended the then market leaders and directed KCCA to institute interim leaders for six months and organize fresh elections. However, KCCA delayed the polls pending the approval of the market ordinance that will regulate the entire market business. The presidential directives especially the suspension of the collection of dues and that requiring the interim leaders to vacate office within ninety days has drawn mixed reactions from the affected.

Suzan Kushaba, the chairperson of St Balikuddembe market commonly known as Owino and the leader of the joint association which brings together all interim leaders in different public markets in the city, welcomed the presidential directives.

“I have no other comments about the topic since the president has already decided,” Kushaba told URN. However, her vice Siraje Bwanika is concerned about the suspension of the collections.

Three Nakasero market leaders including the chairperson declined to comment on the directives and locked themselves in their offices. However, Alex Ntambala, the market vice-chairperson said, “We are still in office until we receive a letter from the president making a pronouncement on our leadership.”

Mohamed Ssegwanyi, the interim spokesperson of Usafi market also welcomed the presidential directive, saying that they are ready to go back to the elections come February after the approval of the market ordinance.

He blamed the confusion in markets on the delayed passing of the ordinance.

The market vendors interviewed by our reporter were not aware of the new developments.

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