Vendors abandon new Tororo Central Market

The newly constructed Shs28b Tororo Central  Market. PHOTO/ FILE

What you need to know:

  • Vendors claim they hardly make money as the stalls and lock-up shops are not accessible.
  • On November 28, 2020, President Museveni   commissioned  the Tororo Central Market.
  •  The facility is one of the 12 markets that have been constructed under the Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Programme (MATIP-2) at Shs 28b.

A section of vendors who were allocated stalls and lockups in the newly constructed Shs28b Tororo Central  Market have been abandoned the facility citing low sales.
Last year, the municipal officials allocated space to the vendors following the completion and commissioning of the market by President Museveni in November 2020
The market with a capacity to accommodate 1,500 vendors was constructed by the government under the Market and Agricultural Trade Improvement Programme (MATIP-2) with funding from the African Development Bank (ADB).

However, some traders have since abandoned the facility and relocated to the streets claiming that most of the stalls and lockups are isolated and cannot easily be accessed by their customers.
On Tuesday, the vendors protested a move by Tororo municipal council authorities to force them back to the market.

Ms Christine Adikini, a tomato seller, said she abandoned her stall because she was hardly making any money.
“My customers had been cut off because the stall is hidden and many cannot easily access it,” Ms Adikini said.
Ms Adikini said the market arrangement was disorganised from the onset as many people were erroneously considered and offered stalls and lockups.
The new Tororo Central Market  has stalls, lockups, stores, banking halls, a police post, a daycare centre, solar and lighting system.

It also has fire extinguishers, fire outbreak detectors, refrigeration and storage facilities, a warehouse and water reservoir, among others.
Mr Wekomba Mafabi, another vendor, said for the two months he operated in the market, he was only able to make sales of about Shs10,000 on daily basis. “But on the street, I make sales of about Shs50,000 per day. This is enough to take care of my family and also pay rent,” he said.
Mr John Okello, also a vendor, claimed the municipal officials denied genuine vendors stalls and lockups in strategic positions.

“The genuine vendors were allocated space in the hidden corridors where you rarely see a customer and those who bribed them, were given a space in strategic areas. This is unfortunate and should be condemned,” he said.
Ms Jane Akello, a trader, said: “We opted to withdraw from operating in the market so that we make some sales to be able to pay borrowed loans.” 
The market master, Mr Ronald Okaka, dismissed claims that most stalls and lockups are inaccessible.
“We will continue to force the vendors back to the market because we receive numerous complaints from registered vendors that those selling on the streets divert all the customers,” he said.

Mr Okaka said some of the vendors protesting have wrong motives which will not be tolerated by the council.
The town clerk, Mr Paul Omoko, said council has passed a resolution to evict vendors from the streets.
“Council is a planning authority and it will stick to its position. Those who cannot adhere are free to quit business or relocate to any other place outside the central business district,” he said.
 He added that the essence of constructing the facility was to bring order in the town.

The Tororo municipal Council mayor, Mr Kennedy Orono Nyapidi, said some of vendors are being used by former political opponents to frustrate his leadership. “They are being used by my opponents but as council we will not succumb to any pressure. Some of them have gone ahead to the office of the Inspector of Government calling for nullification of the entire process of allocation of stalls and lockups in the market,” he said.