The High Court advised both parties to consider an out of court consensus to pave way for the project’s success
Controversy rocked a meeting that was convened by Kabale Municipality authorities to resolve the ongoing standoff between traders and municipal authorities over the proposed upgrade of the Kabale Central Market after both sides failed to reach a consensus.
The meeting convened by Joseph Monday the Kabale Municipality town clerk was aimed at ending a disagreement that has been ongoing between traders and municipal authorities concerning the proposed upgrade.
In December 2018, members of Kabale Central Market Traders' Association filed a case at the Kabale High Court seeking an interim order to stop municipal officials and agents from conducting and registering vendors and traders in preparation for the market reconstruction.
The traders led by their chairperson, Simon Mashemererwa, through their lawyers Twikirize & Company Advocates, claimed the registration process was fraudulent.
The High Court advised both parties to consider an out of court consensus to pave way for the project's success.
The redevelopment of the facility is funded by African Development Bank under Market and Agriculture Trade Improvement Programme (MATIP2), and will cost sh23b.
On Monday, stakeholders in the forthcoming project held a meeting at Kabale Secondary School to have issues resolved.
Eng. Emmanuel Mwebaze an infrastructural engineer from MATIP said that the market upgrade is aimed at improving the standard of business in the area.
"We want to have a market that will be desirable by everyone. Apart from having standard stalls for products, it shall also have a daycare facility where mothers with young children can put them as they do business," said Mwebaze.
Mwebaze said that they have so far received all the necessary documentation but they are yet to award the construction contract.
Mashemererwa said the traders' association's main interest is not to halt the market development but they want to have a few issues sorted before the project commences.
"We want the council to transfer ownership of the lockup shops from the original owners to the new ones that bought from them. We also want the municipal council to respect and uphold all the occupational permits issued to the lockup owners in the early 1990s because our 49-year leases are running out," said Mashemererwa.
Timothy Twikyirize the traders' lawyer said that the traders also demand that the council discloses and avail them the relocation plan before the construction of the new market begins.
In addition, they want designs of the new market availed to them and also be given 90 days to prepare to leave the premises.
Twikyirize added that Kabale Municipal Council should pay them sh25m being costs they have incurred in the court and mediation process. They also need a joint verification team to ensure that all the traders' issues and interests are well handled and catered for.
Drama ensued when the Monday said that they followed clear guidelines in registering owners of lock-up shops and thus there is no need to conduct fresh registration.
He also explained that the municipality will not pay the sh25m as demanded by traders since they did not force them to go to court. Traders then vowed not to withdraw their case until their grievances are addressed.
"We cannot consent to the requirements of any memorandum of understanding in regard to this market upgrade unless our issues are considered viable," said Mashemererwa.
Sentaro Byamugisha the mayor said they will continue the market construction against all odds.
While closing the meeting, Gad Rugaju, the Kabale Deputy Resident District Commissioner asked all the parties involved to resolve their disagreements to pave way for the development.
"When such a venture comes, we should all embrace it instead of wasting time fighting over simple things. Trust me, we cannot let this just pass," he said.