Vendors operating in and around Mpanga Main market in Fort Portal, Kabarole district, have petitioned the office of the inspector General of Government (IGG) protesting the poor sanitation and mismanagement of the market.
The venders, while meeting officials from the inspectorate of government and Auditor general’s office, said they operate in poor sanitary conditions. They accused the municipal authority of failing to collect and remove garbage.
The inspection team comprised officials from the Office of the Auditor General, Inspectorate of Government - IGG, Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority and the Police, among others.
The officials interviewed James Sabiiti, the chairperson of the traders; Thomas Okwiri, the Assistant Town Clerk and the traders on how the market is managed.
During the tour of the sh11.4b market, the officials found that the water system and the sewage system had broken down.
“Half of the stalls in the market have not been occupied because traders have disagreed with the municipal council authorities over the management of the market,” Sabiiti said.
The officials were also told that politicians were inciting the traders against paying the market revenue.
Alice Kwizira, a vegetable vender, accused the law enforcement team of the municipal council of harassing traders in the market and charging them a lot of money, which is not receipted.
“The law enforcement officers of Fort Portal harass venders a lot. Recently, they took away our property and they also beat up some youth who do their business around the market,” Kwizira lamented.
The market venders also want the Municipal Council to move the garbage-collecting centre from their area of operation to another place.
Katusiime Gladys, a food vendor, said she used to receive more than 60 customers a day but she is receiving less than 10 because the poor sanitation has chased away her customers.
Okwir, the assistant town Clerk Fort Portal municipality, said the problem stems from the fact that the traders have failed to corporate with the municipal council.
Maxwell Okecho, a director in the Auditor General’s office, said they decided to conduct the on-spot check on the market to get first hand information on service delivery challenges and how the market is managed in terms of revenue collection, stall allocation and waste disposal.
“We have found out that the market is facing a lot of challenges that need our immediate intervention. It is being mismanaged,” Okecho said.
Mpanga market is one of the seven markets countrywide that were constructed under the Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Programme (MATIP-1) – a multi-million dollar project supported by the Government and the African Development Bank.
Last year, during the tour of the market, the Executive Director of the African Development Bank-ADB, Dr. Caleb Nyamajeje, called for proper management of municipal markets.
Nyamajeje said it is the responsibility of the municipal and district leaders to address the challenges. This was after Rev. Willy Kintu Muhanga, the Mayor Fort Portal Municipality, said that the municipality was facing challenges in managing the market facility.