The Kampala Resident District Commissioner, Ms Aisha Kabanda, has asked the Usafi Market proprietor, Mr Umar Ssekamatte, to compensate all vendors who subscribed for stalls in the market and never got any.
“My office has registered several complaints of numerous people who did not get stalls in the Usafi Market, yet allegedly they paid their money for stalls,” said Ms Kabanda in a recent interview.
However, Mr Ssekamatte said all the 40,000 people who subscribed for stalls in the market got them.
“Whoever has evidence that she or he never got a stall should avail it and we shall give them stalls because there are many empty stalls in the market,” Mr Ssekamatte said.
Usafi market, which seats on approximately four acres of land is located in Kisenyi at Kalitunsi, a city suburb. The market was constructed in by Kampala Capital City Authority in partnership with city businessman Ssekamatte with the objective of accommodating street vendors KCCA had banned from operating on the streets of the Central Business District.
“The challenge was the change of the market plan, which was supposed to be a two wing market -southern and northern- but the partners agreed to turn the other side of the market (northern) into a park and as a result many people could have missed getting stalls,” explained Ms Kabanda.
Vendors, through their association – the Usafi Vendors Association, allege that they paid Shs120, 000 as initial subscription fees for a stall.
According to the RCC, Mr Ssekamatte and vendors also entered into an agreement where the latter were to persuade colleagues to join the market and would later be given a commission, but Mr Ssekamatte reportedly failed to meet his obligations.
On Tuesday, legislators on the Presidential Affairs Committee supported the sale of the Usafi Market and Usafi Taxi Park to Kampala Capital City Authority.
The MPs were at the market to assess whether the land and structures erected there are worth the money demanded by the proprietor.
The market is currently shrouded in controversy following reports that the developer wants to sell it to KCCA at Shs42b against Shs33.8b quoted by the government chief valuer, which critics say is also too high.