Legislators on the Presidential Affairs Committee have supported the sell of the controversial Usafi Market and Usafi Taxi Park to Kampala Capital City Authority, in a move they say will safeguard the interests of the stake holders.
While inspecting the market and taxi park on Tuesday, the MPs said their assessment had revealed that vendors and taxi operators at Usafi are also in favour of KCCA taking over management of the facility.
“We have listened to the vendors and their call is that KCCA should takeover management of the market. That is their voice and we can’t deviate from that,” Col Fred Tumwesigye, the chairperson of the Committee, told journalists after the inspection.
The MPs were at the market to assess whether the land and structures erected there are worth the money demanded by the proprietor.
Asked whether the committee was agreeing with the Shs42 billion asked for by the proprietor of Usafi, Mr Umar Ssekamatte, Col Tumwesigye declined to give their position, saying it was the government chief valuer to give the actual price of the market basing on the market value.
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.
Usafi Market sits on an approximate six acres and is located in Kisenyi at Kalitunsi, a city suburb. KCCA partnered with Mr Ssekamatte in 2012 to construct the market with a view of accommodating street vendors the former had evicted from city streets.
Some vendors used the MPs’ visit to express their disillusionment with the current managers and called for KCCA takeover.
About the park
Usafi Park has become a scene of scuffles since February when a section of taxi operators who were initially operating at Cooper Complex park and Old Taxi Park were ordered to relocate to the area .
The operators initially protested their relocation claiming the place is too small to accommodate all the taxis and has no exit routes while the vendors have since 2012 been complaining of exorbitant rent fees demanded by the proprietor.