The Kampala City Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago backed his executive wants all individuals collecting illegal fees from market vendors prosecuted and the dues immediately stopped.
The committee also wants the government to withdrawal military personnel deployed in the markets and replace them with KCCA law enforcement officers backed by the Uganda Police.
Lukwago has written to the Commandant of Metropolitan Police demanding the prosecution of resident KCCA Staff and interim market leaders in public markets for illegally collecting market dues contrary to the Presidential directive of September 2020.
He says the City Executive Committee, which sat in September made the recommendations to Council that passed them into resolutions on November 2nd, 2021.
“…I hereby do, forward the aforesaid matters to your office to cause the necessary investigation and prosecution of whoever is involved in the nefarious practice of extorting money from vendors under the guise of market dues of fees not sanctioned by the Authority and or the law,” wrote Lukwago.
Last year, President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni directed KCCA to repossess all public markets and abattoirs in Kampala and suspend the parallel leadership in the affected areas. The President also directed that vendors elect new leaders.
He also directed KCCA to drop the multiple charges in the public markets and levy affordable charges. Consequently, KCCA took over St. Balikuddembe commonly known as Owino, Nakasero, Wandegeya, and Kisekka Market, and installed interim leaders amidst protest from the former leadership.
But as the new team took over leadership amidst resistance, the government deployed the Military around Owino and Nakasero Markets. KCCA and the Residence City Commissioner-RCC, Hussein Hud said the army and police were there to ensure security in the markets.
But soon, the security officers were accused of beating vendors who attempted to speak against the acts of the new leadership, including the collection of fees suspended by the president. At that time, leaders like Susan Kushaba from Owino Market said they collected little money to clear bills not met by KCCA.
The Chairperson of KCCA Gender and Community Services Standing Committee, Mosh Ssendi Afrikan, says that they received complaints from vendors in different markets and when they investigated them, they found that some of the new market leaders were indeed making illegal collections backed by some government officials.
Joseph Mudasi, the Chairperson of Nakawa Market told URN that several charges in the market are levied and collected by KCCA officials. He said they collect market dues and loading fees, but to his dismay offer little service to the vendors. The vendors sometimes had to make contributions to get a garbage truck to collect their waste to promote sanitation in the City.
Mosh Ssendi says that the best way to end quarrels in markets is to operationalize the Market ordinance, which was recently presented to the council for the first reading.
The Market ordinance was first passed in 2019 and forwarded to the Attorney General’s office for perusal. More than a year later, it was returned with one major comment that KCCA can only regulate public markets since according to the Market Act, markets can only be established by local authorities.
Last year, the council couldn’t conclude the matter and it ended up in this year during a new leadership. The New Speaker ruled that all ordinances that were in the making were to be retabled for consideration by the current Council. The current ordinance regulates only Public markets in Kampala.
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