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Wandegeya market moves to register vendors, reallocate dormant lockups

Wandegeya Market in Kampala

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT  |  The interim leadership of Wandegeya Market in Kampala has embarked on the registration of all vendors in a bid to reorganize the market.  This is also expected to streamline the allocation of working space to the vendors. The new leaders were elected earlier this year after President Museveni directed the government to repossess city markets.  

The president also suspended what he called exorbitant market dues charged by the then conflicting leadership in the markets.  As a result, Kampala Capital City Authority -KCCA took over the markets and presided over elections for interim leaders. At Wandegeya market the leaders say that they are struggling to operate since they didn’t receive any handover report from their predecessors whom they accuse of mismanaging the affairs of the market. 

Mayi Nabukenya, the new Wandegeya market Chairperson says there is no record of the vendors, location of their business and how much they have been paying and where. She says a number of people were given working space without registering with the market office. She also points to the problem of multiple allocations of space and extortion through exorbitant fees.

Nabukenya says the absence of a clear register hinders proper planning and accountability by both the market managers and KCCA.  She says they have now embarked on the process of registering all people working the market, what they do and how they operate. 

Nabukenya says the registration shall help them to re-organise allocation of free or dormant space.  She says the 1200 capacity market has over 50 lockups that are closed and the owners unknown or seen for years. She says several lockups have been turned into stores while others allocated to ghost individuals who they have learnt are former Market administrators or persons known to them.     

Nabukenya says they cannot have working spaces locked when there are people in need of them. 

Another issue the leadership is working on is eliminating “Landlords”. When the market opened in 2014, speculators took up space, which they now rent out to vendors at a higher fee, sometimes more than double the charge set by KCCA. According to KCCA annual rates, vendors on the ground floor are meant to pay Shillings 15,000 and Shillings 175,000 for Saloon lock-ups.

Occupants of lockups on the first floor are supposed to pay between Shillings 70,000 and 175,000 depending on the size of the lock-up. Vendors renting from speculators pay between Shillings 100,000 to Shillings 300,000.  Job Agaba is one of the vendors who make their payment to an unknown landlord. He has been running an office in a Lockup on the South Wing for more than five years now and makes payments to the landlord via mobile money.  

Even when the government suspended payments in markets, Agaba says the caretaker reminds him to pay.  

Alex Ntambala, the Vice Chairman of Nakasero Market says they are ensuring that the presidential directives are respected. “No collections are being made except contributions to garbage collection fees,” he said. Ntambala says they are waiting for the government to guide them on how to proceed especially with charges on market dues. 

The KCCA Spokesperson, Daniel NuweAbine, says the Authority is working with the leadership in different markets to implement the presidential directive and streamline activities in the market.

He says they are planning to conduct elections in all Markets six months after the interim Committee has served in this transition period. KCCA is also working on law, the Market Ordinance of 2019 to guide the Authority on effective and efficient management of city Markets.

The Ordinance was presented before the Authority Council earlier this month with comments which if addressed could see the law being passed by the Attorney General and finally effected.



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