EXCLUSIVE: Govt Moves to Resolve Kisekka Market Row

Government has begun investigations into the wrangle surrounding the leadership of Kisekka market, whose redevelopment has stalled, this website has learnt.

Old lockups at the market were demolished in December 2014 to pave way for the redevelopment.

However, this has not happened following court battles between two factions that are claiming leadership of the market. As a result, traders have remained stranded, wondering when construction works would be completed.

However, this website has seen a January 3, 2018 letter from Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, inviting ministers Beti Kamya (Kampala), Jeje Odong (Internal Affairs), Tom Butime (Local Government) and Attorney General William Byaruhanga to a meeting to resolve the matter.

“…I invite you for a meeting to consider, among other things, how the wrangles in Kisekka market may be resolved and clear leadership of the vendors restored,â€� reads in part the letter that is also copied to Mr Robert Kasoro and Geoffrey Kayita, the leaders of the warring factions in the market.

The prime minister’s intervention comes after Mr Kayita’s petition indicated that the leadership wrangles in the market have continued despite court directing they should hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) to resolve the wrangles.

Mr Kayita said they hope the Prime Minister will find a lasting solution to the controversy surrounding the redevelopment of the facility.

“It’s true the Prime Minister has invited us and we are ready to explain to him all the issues as they are. There has been court rulings but our colleagues have defied them, making us irrelevant yet the land on which the market sits was donated by the President for the low income traders,� he said.

His counterpart, Mr Kasoro couldn’t be reached but sources close to him said that he would attend the high level meeting.

The Registrar General of Uganda Registration Services Bureau has also been invited to explain the circumstances under which the traders’ Association got divided over management.

According to sources, the Prime Minister is supposed to compile a report after his investigation and send it to the President. When contacted, Ms Kamya said she would attend the meeting.

Origin of conflict

For about 10 years, there have been disagreements over the nature of redevelopment of the market, which have disintegrated into violent clashes on more than one occasion.

One group of vendors has been supporting the redevelopment of the market in phases while another wanted the exercise to be done in one-go.

In 2008, President Museveni directed KCCA to compensate the developer of Kisekka market, Rhino Investments, whom he said was only intended to chase the poor vendors out of the market.

In 2009, the President directed KCCA to cancel the lease for the 3.7 acres of land it had granted to Col John Mugyenyi, the proprietor of Rhino Investments. The directive followed a violent demonstration by vendors who protested the sale of the land they were operating on.

Mr Museveni ordered that Col Mugyenyi be compensated with Shs14.9b to surrender the lease title back to KCC and he accepted.

The vendors, based on the advice of the President, formed Nakivubo Road Old Kampala (Kisekka) Market Vendors Limited with 1,888 members, which they registered as a company limited by guarantee.

The registered members were representing the more than 2,000 vendors and on October 25, 2011, KCCA gave them a five-year initial sub-lease up to August 20, 2016.

One of the conditions which KCCA gave the vendors was to construct new structures within five years and fulfill all the construction requirements so their lease could be extended to 49 years.

On December 22, 2014, Mr Robert Kasoro, the market chairperson at the time, demolished it against the court order which vendors had obtained to block the demolition.

They had requested that the market be demolished in phases because they did not have another place to relocate but their plea was allegedly rejected by Mr Kasoro.

However, upon expiry of their initial sub-lease in August, they pleaded with KCCA for an extension of five years to complete the construction of the market.

On 2016, KCCA renewed their lease until April 30, 2021 when a renewable 49 year lease will be given.

However, a faction of the market vendors led by Mr Geoffrey Kayita broke away from Mr Kasoro’s management. They accused him of alleged incompetence and mismanagement of the company funds.

They later held an annual general meeting on February 7 2015 and unanimously voted out Mr Kasoro from managing the affairs of Kisekka market. The meeting elected Mr Kayita as the new chairperson of the market.

Mr Kayita, who leads the faction comprised of low income traders accuses Mr Kasoro of allegedly selling out the shops yet President Museveni had directed that every trader should get one shop.

However, in a recent interview, Mr Kasoro said that he was giving out the shops to people who have money so that the construction works could be completed.

This website has learnt that a 10-squaremile shop on the new market, whose construction is still underway, goes for $14,000 (Shs50m) a fee which majority of the vendors has protested as ‘exorbitant’.

But Mr Kasoro revealed that there are other sizes of shops at affordable prices.

 

 

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read more here: ChimpReports. This post is syndicated.

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