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Lukwago, Kamya clash over Shs 300m Kampala markets inquiry

Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and Beti Olive Kamya, the minister in charge of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) have disagreed on setting up a commission of inquiry to probe into wrangles within markets.

Kamya told parliament’s Presidential Affairs committee today, that following several petitions received by her office from vendors on wrangles within the 72 markets in Kampala, it was imperative that an inquiry is instituted to resolve the matters.

The minister explains that she has received 30 petitions from various markets including USAFI, St. Balikuddembe (Owino), Kasubi and Wandegeya markets, to resolve the impasse that has affected management and running of the markets.

Beti Kamya and Erias Lukwago before the MPs in a recent meeting

One of the concerns is the fate of St. Balikuddembe Market land which hangs in balance after DFCU bank recently sought to auction part of the market land to recover a debt of Shs 2.8bn which the traders failed to clear. The money is a result of interest and default fees off a Shs 4bn loan that traders obtained a few years ago.

The other markets have also been facing leadership and management wrangles. Kamya estimates that the inquiry will cost about Shs 300m over a period of three months.
“In all cases the petitions are basically wrangles about ownership of the land on which the markets are allocated, mismanagement of markets affairs, leadership wrangles, factions in the market. Instead of having petition by petition, am in the process of appointing a commission of inquiry into 15 of the most contentious petitions with the intention of ultimately resolving the petitions. And if need be, propose to the authority to come up with a new market policy. This inquiry is estimated to cost about Shs 300m”, she told the MPs.
However, Lukwago faults KCCA for failing to effectively manage the markets in the city and instead opted to lease the markets out to the vendors. Lukwago says unless the authority takes back management of the markets and also resolves the challenges of vendors, a commission of inquiry will not resolve the matter.
“The minister has suggested to put a commission of inquiry. That in itself shows you that there’s a crisis. That there is a huge crisis and the budget to be spent there is a huge sum of money Shs 300m. And I hear, Hon minister, am sorry to say this that part of the budget is going to be met by KCCA. I don’t know, we shall have to look at the budget if it is there. That is for another day.

But the point is, the mere fact that there is a suggestion to put in place a comprehensive commission of inquiry to investigate the rot and the crisis in the markets, it shows you that it is not a solution to the crisis we are facing with trade order. It may not be a solution because you are trying to sort out the crisis in the markets but at the same time you are driving people from the streets to go into those markets with complaints, you will be creating more problems”, Lukwago said.

The disagreement between Lukwago and Kamya sparked fresh concern from MPs, including Jessica Ababiku, Col Fred Mwesigye and Makumbi Kamya on whether the two had failed to come to consensus on positions of the markets.
The committee tasked the minister to present findings of the inquiry.

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