Govt orders fresh registration of traders in Kampala markets

Vendors in Nakasero Market attend to customers. PHOTO/ERIC DOMINIC BUKENYA

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Trader speak
Ms Nuriat Ssaka, a spare parts dealer in Kisekka Market, says the takeover process is long overdue. “ gives us hope because we were chased from Kisekka Market yet we are the genuine traders. The shops are now being given to the rich who weren’t part of the project,” she says.

Government has ordered for fresh registration of all traders operating in the city public markets.
The exercise, which will be carried out by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), is part of the bigger plan by government to take over all public markets from private investors.

The updated traders’ register will also be used as a basis upon which market executive committees will be elected.
Cabinet recently directed KCCA to take over all public markets to eliminate middlemen who have fraudulently acquired multiple shops, leaving out the ordinary traders.
KCCA head of public and corporate affairs Daniel Nuwabiine confirmed to Daily Monitor yesterday that they have started implementing the President’s directive.

He said the takeover will, among others, restore orderliness in the markets and end fraudulent giveaway of shops and other working spaces to non-traders.
“We are starting with the markets in which government has a stake. Each market shall be handled according to its dynamics but the ultimate goal is to have a vendor based leadership and stop the multiple fees in the markets as well as exploitation,” Mr Nuwabiine said.

He noted that all traders and the current leadership of the markets have been informed about the plan.
Whereas government had earlier leased the markets to private investors, there has been an outcry from traders, who accuse leaders of these markets of unfair treatment. This has led to the emergency of many factions. The contentious markets include St Balikuddembe   (Owino), Nakasero and Kisekka.

For instance last year, High Court Judge Lydia Mugambe ruled that traders who were alienated from Kisekka market’s construction project should be recalled and redevelop the remaining part of the land so that they too can get shops. But the current market leadership defied the ruling.
In St Balikuddembe Market, one of the factions has since blocked the redevelopment of the facility because the current leadership allegedly sidestepped majority of traders in the operations of the facility.
Kampala deputy Lord Mayor Doreen Nyanjura said while Cabinet’s directive to takeover city public markets is good, the timing is bad.

“It has always been our demand to have all city public markets reverted to KCCA in vain. We even passed a markets ordinance as an authority to streamline the operations of these facilities, but the Attorney General hasn’t given us feedback almost two years later, yet it would guide the whole exercise of takeover. When the elections are done, the whole process is likely to stop because that’s how Mr Museveni has been doing the same thing,” she said.