By Taddeo Bwambale
KAMPALA - Traders registered to operate in the newly built Wandegeya market have declined to move into the market following a row over rent charged by the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).
The traders were expected to start moving to the market last Sunday.
However, by Thursday, none of the traders had moved to the market that will accommodate at least 1,200 traders managing stalls and shops.
It is the second time in two weeks that the traders have declined to relocate to the market, protesting the terms of operation set by KCCA.
The sh22b market was ready in October but a row over the rates and other terms of their tenancy agreement with KCCA has kept the traders from moving to the new market.
The tenancy agreement grants each of the registered traders a 10 year renewable lease to operate in the market. The traders will pay between sh40,000 and sh250,000.
KCCA spokesperson, Peter Kaujju told New Vision that the rates were developed in consultation with market leaders and would not be changed.
Hajji Mwanje Mutesasira, the chairperson of the traders’ association maintained that the traders would only relocate to the new facility after a review of the rates.
“We are ready to start operating in the new market. But this will come after a review of the rates and terms of the agreement,” he said in an interview with New Vision.
The traders want a review of the rates. PHOTO/Peter Busomoke
The traders were last year temporarily shifted to pave way for construction the new market. PHOTO/Peter Busomoke
According to Mutesasira, the traders were paying between sh5,000 and sh30,000 monthly to operate in the old market.
Last week, local Government minister, Adolf Mwesige, met the traders at a closed-door meeting also attended by KCCA officials.
The minister advised KCCA to revise the rates in consultation with the traders to make them affordable to the urban poor.
The traders were last year temporarily shifted to pave way for construction the new market, which replaced dilapidated structures that mainly had makeshift eateries, saloons and shops.
The new market is divided into the Northern Wing and Southern Wing, and has a banking hall, daycare centre, cold rooms, clinics, parking lots and fire detection systems.
Among other grievances, the traders want KCCA to allow them to use their agreements as security to obtain loans from financial institutions. The agreement bars them from using their facilities as collateral security.
The traders are also demanding unlimited tenure to operate in the market and a right to let out their spaces without notifying KCCA.