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KCCA Council Questions Election of New Leaders in City Markets as Power Struggles Continue

Nyanjura, told council mid this week that KCCA officials changed market leadership over weekends without engaging many vendors while in some cases, engaged a few vendors and appointed them to positions of leadership without following democratic procedures like an election.
Some of the vendors at the land where part of demolished Kisekka Market was

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The installation of new leaders in government markets in Kampala was marred by deceit and irregularities leaving the markets in endless power struggles, months after the government take over.

This is contained in a report by Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA Executive that the Deputy Lord Mayor, Doreen Nyanjura tabled before the council in her capacity as the head of government business in Council. Late last year, president, Yoweri Museveni directed that government repossess all its markets and abattoirs that had been placed in private hands.

The President said the power struggles in the markets had taken a huge toll on vendors and directed that new leaders be elected. The president, who also accused the various factions in the markets of subjecting vendors to exorbitant fees, suspended all fees collections.  In line with the directive, KCCA took over St. Balikuddembe market is commonly known as Owino, Nakasero Market, Bugoloobi Market and Wandegeya Market where they changed leadership with the hope of ending the long-standing power struggles.

However, Nyanjura, told the council mid this week that KCCA officials changed market leadership over weekends without engaging many vendors while in some cases, engaged a few vendors and appointed them to positions of leadership without following democratic procedures like an election.

She quotes some vendors from Wandegeya Market saying the election for the interim committee wasn't free and fair, was chaotic and many didn’t vote. As for Owino Market, she says vendors accuse KCCA officials of appointing a seven member Committee without their consent.

Nyanjura says vendors from other markets like Usafi, Nateete, Bukoto, Kamwokya and Bugoloobi rise similar issues and demand for fresh free and fair elections.


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The struggles have escalated tension in Owino and Nakasero markets prompting security deployment. The vendors also claim that they are being forced to pay market dues is disregard of the presidential directive halting fees collection.      

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Nakawa 1 Councilor, Moses Okwera says in Bugoloobi market free and fair elections were conducted but losers have failed to move on. He, however, noted that KCCA market employees, who have been running the markets alongside the old leaders have continued to work with the old leadership that is attempting to grab power.  

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Mayi Nabukenya, the elected chairperson of Wandegeya Market says those opposing the new leadership lost the election and are being supported by KCCA Market officials against the elected leadership.


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KCCA doesn’t have a law under, which to conduct elections for substantive leadership with specific terms. The authority passed the KCCA Market Ordinance but the attorney general sent it back suggesting amendments that are yet to be considered by KCCA.  

As for ownership, some vendors in Nakasero and Owino market say they acquired leases over the land and are hence opposed to the government take over and the new leadership. Although these vendors demanded compensation, the government, amidst security, deployment took over both Markets and said they could not compensate them for the government property (public markets).

Umar Buyinza a vendor in Owino Market says they cannot recognise the interim leadership, which was imposed on them on their land. Buyinza, a member of the St. Balikuddembe (formerly known as Owino) Market: Stalls, Space and Lockup Shops Owners Association (SSLOA), a group that had attained a lease agreement on the land, fault the manner in which, the government took over the market and put in place, new leaders.

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The council has resolved that the executive committee of KCCA and the technical leadership of the Authority engage the conflicting groups in markets to find a middle ground and heightened security be withdrawn from the markets.

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