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Kabale Market Saga: MPs, Local Gov't Officials Clash Over Magyezi’s Delay to Implement Directives :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Kabale Market Saga: MPs, Local Gov't Officials Clash Over Magyezi’s Delay to Implement Directives

In July 2023, Minister Magyezi ordered a fresh allocation of lockups and stalls in the new central market after meeting with dissatisfied vendors who had raised concerns about irregularities in the allocation process. The Minister also halted revenue collection by municipal council authorities and pledged to return within a month to oversee the new allocation exercise.
Part of Kabale Central Market

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Members of the parliamentary committee on Public Service and Local Government, along with Kabale district authorities, engaged in a heated exchange with officials from the Ministry of Local Government's Infrastructure Development department over Minister Raphael Magyezi's failure to promptly implement directives regarding the allocation dispute of Kabale Municipality market stalls and lockups.

Led by Ben Batom Koryong, MP for Dopoth West County, and Jimmy Lwanga, MP for Njeru Municipality, legislators joined local government Ministry officials including Emmanuel Mwebaze, the Infrastructure Engineer, and Faisal Ssali Kikulunkunyo, the Principal Development Officer, in Kabale for a fact-finding mission on Monday afternoon to assess the market's progress and address complaints from disgruntled vendors.

In July 2023, Minister Magyezi ordered a fresh allocation of lockups and stalls in the new central market after meeting with dissatisfied vendors who had raised concerns about irregularities in the allocation process. The Minister also halted revenue collection by municipal council authorities and pledged to return within a month to oversee the new allocation exercise.

Magyezi had previously, in February 2023, ordered the arrest and suspension of Fidelis Akankwasa, the Kabale Municipality Commercial Officer, following allegations from dissatisfied vendors of mismanagement in the allocation process, including the alleged sale of lockups and stalls at inflated prices. Although Akankwasa was arrested in December 2023, he was released on police bond after a week and subsequently reinstated to his position.

During the inspection, tensions flared as legislators, district leaders, and local government Ministry officials questioned the prolonged absence of Minister Magyezi to provide directives on behalf of the government. Godfrey Nyakahuma, Kabale Resident District Commissioner, expressed concerns over the security crisis arising from Magyezi's delay, as disgruntled vendors threatened to stage a major demonstration against the government.

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Nyakahuma emphasized that the delay tarnished the government's reputation and allowed some dissatisfied vendors to illegally occupy contested lockups. 

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Rev. Canon Jack Katarishangwa, a disgruntled vendor, echoed Nyakahuma's sentiments, criticizing Magyezi's delay for causing confusion and hindering their ability to conduct business effectively.

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Sam Arineitwe, Central Division Chairman, highlighted the financial implications of Magyezi's delay, as the Municipal council struggled to generate revenue, affecting essential services such as water and electricity bills. He suggested that the government should compensate the disgruntled vendors for their losses.

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During the inspection, vendors in the Matooke and Irish potato wing raised concerns about the lack of facilities such as toilets and security lights, as well as the failure of the municipal council to deploy night security personnel, leaving their stock vulnerable to theft.

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Despite inquiries from legislators and district leaders, Emmanuel Mwebaze declined to explain Magyezi's prolonged absence, stating that he was not involved in the allocation process and was present solely to provide technical information about the market's design and its benefits to the area.

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Batom indicated that the raised issues would be presented to parliament for further discussion and resolution.

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In 2019, Chong Chong International Construction (CICO), a Chinese company, was contracted to upgrade the Kabale market under the World Bank-funded Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Program (MATIP III), with a budget of 23 billion shillings. The market was handed over to the government in December 2022.

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