Mbarara, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Mbarara city authorities have started relocating vendors to the new modern market constructed under the second phase of the Market and Agricultural Trade Improvement Program- MATIP-2.
The relocation of more than 1,000 vendors started on Thursday after months of disagreements between city authorities and market vendors. The disagreement started after reports that more than 300 vendors were missing from the market list.
Vendors accused city leaders of double allocation of stalls and also alleged that the city principal commercial officer James Agaba and his assistant took bribes to allow non-vendors into the market. The two officials were later interdicted by the Local Government Minister Raphael Magyezi.
Several vendors complained that the allocations were based on relations with the technical people and the majority refused to take up lockups allocated to them by the city authorities.
Joweria Sebugerere, one of the vendors expressed excitement when she received her stall.
She said that the delays to occupy the market have affected them financially since the place they were operating from was far and could not attract customers.
She says many vendors had abandoned their stalls and kiosks due to lack of customers.
Musa Ntaazi, another vendor commended the 25-man verification committee that was appointed by the Minister.
Emmanuel Muhumuza, the Chairperson of the Vendors Association says that the relocation will be conducted gradually and has given priority to vendors dealing in fruits, vegetables, chicken, fish, and meat.
He says they have set up an eight-man appeals committee to receive any complaints that will arise from the relocation exercise.
Mbarara central market was constructed at a cost of 21 Billion Shillings and sits on one acre piece of land.