St Balikudembe Vendors Clash over Lease Fee Payment

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Vendors in St Balikudembe market are split on how to raise money for leasing the market.

The vendors have split into two factions under Godfrey Nkajja Kayongo and John Baptist Kivumbi.

Kayongo is the chairman of St. Balikudembe Market Stalls and Lock-up Association Limited while Kivumbi is the chairman of St. Balikudembe market produce traders and vendors cooperative society limited.

Kivumbi wants all people who work in the market including owners of stalls, lock-ups and open spaces to contribute money for the lease.

But Kayongo insists only people with stalls and lockups should contribute shillings 1 million each, to raise 4 billion shillings required for the lease.

There are about 8000 people with stalls and lockups in St Balikudembe.

Tensions rose yesterday in St Balikudembe market when traders loyal to Kivumbi accused Kayongo of hiring muscle men to beat up vendors opposed to his plans.

The same mean looking men were accused of beating Hajji Muhammad Bukenya into pulp on Wednesday.

Bukenya is nursing injuries at Mulago Hospital he sustained in the attack.

A group of vendors have told URN that they want to contribute money to pay for the lease, since the market was given to them by President Yoweri Museveni.

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Joseph Ssali a vendor of second hand clothes says that they can't allow the stall owners and lockups to contribute the lease fee because this will exclude other members of the public from its ownership.

Ssali says all people should be registered so that the 4billion is shared equally including people with capital as little as 10,000.

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Ahmed Gizamba commonly known as Make says that if all people are registered every vendor would raise about 200,000 shillings which is affordable.

Other vendors claim that some business people who don't operate in St Balikudembe market have paid as much as shillings 6 million although URN couldn't independently verify the claim.

Some vendors are claiming to have already paid some money to Kayongo despite the fact that he insists only owners of stalls and lockup should contribute for the lease.

Judith Namyalo, a vendor of women under ware says that she has already contributed shillings 400,000 for the lease.

Namyalo whose entire stock is shillings 300,000 says that she has been contributing paying the money in installments of 50,000 shillings each months.

She is now worried that she might loose her money since she only has five months to clear the balance of shillings 600,000.