By Brian Mayanja
KAMPALA - Ten directors of the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) have failed to convince councillors that there is an urgent need to buy Usafi Market at sh37b.
In a meeting convened by Frank Tumwebaze, the minister in charge of the city, councillors insisted that it was unwise for KCCA to inject money into an unproductive project.
“We advised them to use the money to construct modern markets in Kitintale and Bukoto. All the nine chairpersons of the committees refused to endorse the deal,” said Apollo Mugume, the chairperson of Nakawa Division.
Mugume, the chairperson of the audit committee, said they asked the executive director, Jennifer Musisi, to explain why they wanted to buy the market.
“Their explanations were vague. How could they say KCCA’s ownership of the market would reduce street vending? It is good the minister has asked Musisi to write a report.”
Mugume said Tumwebaze had written to Musisi and the Attorney General, questioning how they arrived at the sh37b.
The ministerial policy statement for 2014/2015 shows that the Government valuer put the value of the market at sh33.8b.
The market has up to 5,000 stalls
But highly-placed sources revealed that KCCA planned to pay sh37.9b for it. Peter Kaujju, the authority’s spokesperson, recently told Saturday Vision that KCCA had followed the procurement rules.
The market, which was opened on March 1, 2013 at Kalitunsi in Mengo- Kisenyi, comprises 5,000 stalls.
According to KCCA, it can accommodate 7,000 vendors directly and 10,000 indirectly, which would reduce the number of street vendors.
KCCA also noted that the number of vendors in the market had risen from 958 in 2013, to 2,415 to date.
A committee chairperson, who preferred anonymity, revealed that Tumwebaze convened the meeting so that they could discuss the KCCA budget, before it was presented to Parliament for approval.
Mugume said councillors endorsed most of the issues in the budget, apart from the Usafi Market deal.
Embattled Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago recently petitioned Parliament to reject KCCA’s budget.
He said the political wing of the authority, which is made up of councillors and himself as the head, had not participated in its drafting.
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