The decision was arrived at during an emergency meeting attended by Soroti city authorities, MoLG officials and selected vendors at the market premises on Friday. The meeting that dragged for almost a whole day resolved to halt the allocations exercise after receiving report of an investigation conducted in the market.
The committee comprising of head of security and officials from
the Ministry of Local Government, MoLG have halted the allocation of lockups in Soroti Main Market over disagreements between the city council
authorities and market vendors.
The decision was arrived at during an emergency meeting
attended by Soroti city authorities, MoLG officials and selected vendors at the
market premises on Friday.
The meeting that dragged on for almost a whole day
resolved to halt the allocation exercise after receiving a report of an investigation
conducted in the market.
In the report, more than 400 complaints were recorded from
various stakeholders including market vendors implicating several leaders in
the allocation mess. Some of the complaints include; bribery allegations
against some city leaders in collusion with leaders of the market vendors,
double allocation and segregation among others.
Robert Adiama, the Resident City Commissioner of Soroti says
the meeting put up a committee that will handle all the complaints raised
before the allocation of lockups resumes in the market. He revealed that the
process is expected to take five days beginning on June 14th- 19th,
// cue in “Nobody is going to…
Cue out…on sight.”//
The decision by the committee is informed by the rising
tension between vendors and their leaders over misallocation, missing names,
missing space and other complaints that climaxed on May 22nd with
vendors almost beating up officials in the market.
Some vendors are accusing their leader, George William
Eriebat, the chairperson of Soroti market vendors’ association for allegedly
ignoring the genuine list of vendors in preference for the new entrants whom claim have paid money to have the lockups in the market.
Hellen Tino, one of the market vendors whose name is missing
in the list of vendors initially verified for the lockups says she owned three
lockups in the old market before it was demolished. She, however, notes that
she was shocked when her name didn’t appear in the list.
“I registered as a landlady when Soroti Municipality Council
convinced us to leave this place for the construction of a modern market. I submitted
all the required documents to that effect but to my dismay, other people have
been considered leaving me behind,” says Tino.
She says she was in the hospital in Kampala when the news of the struggle for
market space reached her. She explains that on reaching Soroti, her relatives
had instead been given space.
But Moses Otimong, the acting city town clerk in Soroti insists
that the allocations were done following the Memorandum of Understanding reached
with vendors at the commencement of work around 2010.
The Shillings 24 billion market was constructed with funding
from the African Development Bank and commissioned by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
in November last year.
It was expected to commence operations in March this year after 1,316
vendors were reported to have been vetted but the process has continued to drag