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Vendors want repossession of markets expedited

Nakasero Market on Good Friday

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  A section of market vendors has written to Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA Executive Director Dorothy Kisaka to expedite the repossession of markets by the government.  

Last month, President Museveni directed that KCCA repossess all government markets, dissolve all conflicting leaderships and organize fresh elections. The markets are Kisekka, Wandegeya, Bugoloobi and Nakasero among others.

The President argued that the existing leaders are subjecting vendors to double taxation and extortion.

This directive was opposed by a section of leaders in the market saying they were legally voted into the office while some for instance from St. Balikuddembe and Nakasero say they had acquired the lease on the land and sought compensation.

Suzan Kushaba, who heads a faction in St. Balikuddembe Market, says KCCA needs to move fast because there is suspense on the next step yet those opposed to the directive are threatening vendors in a bid to block implementation of the Presidential directive. 

In November 2019, the KCCA Council resolved to take over management of Wandegeya Market after several petitions from vendors accusing their leadership of oppression. The technical wing, however, did not enforce the council decision. 

KCCA waited for their Market Ordinance to be approved by the Attorney General before elections are conducted but in vain.

KCCA has now set Monday 26th October as a tentative date to conduct elections in the markets following the directive. 

However, Geoffrey Kaita, from Kisekka Market says KCCA needs to reconcile the issue of membership and compile a uniform register. Already, there are allegations some factions are bringing new people in the market to manipulate elections.

Like Owino, Wandegeya and Nakasero, Kisekka market has also been entangled in power wrangles with the Kaita led group accusing that of Robert Kasolo of staying in power beyond three years stipulated in their constitution. 

Kaita says a well-organized election shall potentially end years of tensions in the two camps.

Farida Kimuli from Nakasero Market says they need new leaders without dictatorial tendencies. She says, due to foul play by the current leadership, some vendors have unjustly lost their stalls to new entrants.

She adds that they still pay 1,000 Shillings for garbage collection daily, a service that was free during the KCCA regime. 

However, in an earlier interview with URN, the Chairman of Nakasero Market said vendors acquired a lease from KCCA to run the market and many bought shares in the vendors’ company they established before taking over the market. 

He adds that if the government were to repossess the market, it would have to compensate them since they have a 5-year initial contract running till 2022.

At St. Balikuddembe, since they acquired a lease on the land, they also said they would seek compensation. 

Daniel NuweAbine, the KCCA Spokesperson, says the Inter-Ministerial Committee led by the Minister for Kampala is still discussing the take-over. 

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