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Vendors give gov’t ultimatum to repossess Kampala markets

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Vendors in the four markets of Kisekka, Wandegeya, St. Balikudembe alias Owino and Nakasero have threatened to hold demonstrations to oust leadership from those markets and forcefully hand them over to KCCA administration if the Ministry of Kampala and KCCA don’t do the same in five days.

The vendors held a media briefing in Kampala on Saturday where they issued the ultimatum saying that President Museveni issued a directive last month ordering the Ministry of Kampala to effect the repossession of these markets from the companies that vendors say are milking them.

In a letter seen by URN dated 2020 September 25, President Museveni directed the Minister of Kampala to with immediate effect remove from the government markets the “Association leaders” and supervise the sellers to elect new leaders.

Museveni stated that many of the current leaders in the markets registered themselves as the proprietors of the markets instead of the Association of sellers or vendors.

He also ordered that all association leaders should stand aside so that the issue of compensating them which he said was being messed up by the colluders, could be understood better.

Susan Kushaba, the chairperson of Owino Market Women Vendors’ Association also heading a pressure group known as Team Through YKM in Business Community said that the ministers of Kampala and that of Lands are conniving with the current leadership in markets to operate markets like mafias.

She added that they also want President Museveni to remove the Minister of Kampala Betty Amongi and her deputy Benny Namugwanya from all matters concerning markets and hand them to KCCA executive director Dorothy Kisaka.

Joseph Lwanga who represented Nakasero Market read the statement issuing the ultimatum to KCCA and the Ministry, but also noted that they want the military to conduct the repossession operation because Uganda Police is in bed with the current market leadership.

However, in an audio recording shared by the vendors, Minister Amongi responded to their appeals in one of their WhatsApp chats as vendors saying that her ministry together with the ministry of finance are still working on the issue of compensation before repossessing the markets.

She said that it will be quick and easy for government to repossess markets sitting on land owned by government, but the issue of markets like Owino and Kisekka whose land is owned by traders’ companies, is not as easy as they wish.

Amongi explained that for Owino market, in 2006, president Museveni wrote to the then local government minister Adolf Mwesigye directing that vendors should form a company to run the market and also ordered that the ministry transfers the land title into the name of that company.

She noted that while there is a new presidential directive ordering KCCA to repossess markets, the creation of companies like Space and Lock-ups Shop Owners Association (SSLOA) which have been running these markets was also as a result of a presidential directive and if the ministry is to handle the matter, it has to be handled under the company law.

She further says in February this year, court ruled that the land belongs to SSLOA and in the registration of companies act and the land act, anybody who owns the land, has to run the market, KCCA only regulates them.

Kushaba refutes and trashes Amongi’s arguments saying that it would be inappropriate to focus on compensating SSLOA and Kayongo whom they allege has been collecting money from Owino market for the past 10 years at 6 billion shillings a year, totaling to 60 billion shillings.

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URN

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