Optimism as vendors enter new Mbarara market

An aerial view of Mbarara Central Market, which was completed in March and handed over to local authoritie. PHOTO/SHEILLAR MUTETSI

What you need to know:

  • Mbarara City Council agreed to levy Shs100, 000-200, 000 per year for vendors that have entered the new central market.

Excitement rang through Mbarara as vendors started entering the city’s new central market, ending a four-year wait.

“I am very happy to have come to the market and I commend the new leaders for fighting so hard to see that we enter our market,” vendor Mrs Jolly Muhumuza.

In 2018, government contracted Roko Construction Limited to reconstruct the market in the Heart of Mbarara City within two years but the the project was delayed until 2022.

Opened March 16 by Local Government Minister Rapheal Magyezi, the Shs21billion facility along Buremba Road only opened to vending in June 2022 with the first 592 commodity sellers now allowed to operate.

Minister Mr Magyezi attributed the delay to chaos occasioned by selling kiosks and stalls which prompted an investigation leading to the interdiction of the City Commercial Officer Mr James Agaba and his assistant Donati Mutahi.

Early this week, a chicken vendor at the market said allocation of stalls was transparent since then.

“The raffles came straight from the ministry of local government and were equivalent to the number of vendors in the market,” chicken vendor Mr Baker Katsigazi said.

People buy commodities from vendors at the newly constructed Mbarara Central Market on June 20, 2022. PHOTO/SHEILLAR MUTETSI

Mbarara Central Market vendors Chairperson Mr Emmanuel Muhumuza pledged cooperation with city authorities to the benefit of his association.

“We have so far covered eight categories of vendors and we have not faced any hardships because I can confirm to you that every vendor you see in here is legible and was verified by the council,” he disclosed.

According to Mr Muhumuza, “the market has a 1,095 vendor capacity.”

Mbarara City Resident Commissioner Mr James Mwesigye said once resettlement of the remaining more than 500 vendors is done, a special complaints committee will be activated.

“…to those that will miss on the lists, an appeal’s committee shall be installed after this first phase and their issues will be settled,” he noted.

However, City Speaker Mr Bonny Tashobya Karutsya said: “Council has built for them a market but I know there are some kiosks that shall remain at the independence park. All those vendors shall be put in the other markets within the city in case they miss out on this.”

According to Mr Tashobya, Council agreed to levy Shs100, 000-200, 000 per year for vendors that have entered the new central market.

Further, the independence park where vendors have been operating is an open space that needs to be beautified so that it can be a resting place for people within the city, he observed.


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