Moses Mulondo & Moses Lemisa
KAMPALA - The Saturday night fire incident at Kalerwe market in the outskirts of Kampala has been wound around suspicion by traders and insiders.
Many are pointing fingers at market leadership wrangles as the likely cause of the monstrous blaze that swept through the market and left a bonfire of destruction in its wake.
Merchandize worth millions was not spared as emotional traders were left to massage their losses.
One of them told of how he had withdrawn all the money he had on his account and had invested it in his market business just a few days to the harsh fire.
“Everything that I owned is gone,” he mourned. “I am left with close to nothing. I am left with no more than sh25,000 in my life now.”
His plight was shared with several others whose businesses at the market was their sole means of survival.
While one female trader whose stuff was not spared either wailed her fate out at the scene, another stood motionless and blankly as he seemed to ponder his next move. All his merchandize had been reduced to ashes and skeletons.
Reports from eye-witnesses indicated that the fire broke out at about midnight, local time (EAT) starting from the store where the traders’ merchandize are kept.
Jackson Mukisa, one of the traders, was there when the inferno started. He suspects the fire was deliberately ignited as he had smelt petrol around.
“It is possible that one of them [suspects] who carry the luggages connived with someone who brought in petrol and started the fire,” he said.
Police was swiftly alerted of the incident and fire-fighters came in to battle the fire.
It remains unclear what the actual cause of the fire was but many connect it to the leadership squabbles within the market.
Police investigations to establish the cause of the blaze are underway.
Mukisa said that during battling of the fire, some people came in under the disguise of trying to help and instead went on to loot some of the merchandize.
Steven Buyondo, one of the security leaders in Dobbi zone said they saw a short man wearing a white shirt rushing away from the scene of fire when it had just started.