By Nakato Hellen Musoke.
Workers in public markers have appealed to government to fast – track implementation of the recently passed Markets Bill 2021.
The bill moved by Workers Member of Parliament Hon Margaret Rwabushaija Namubiru aims at reforming the law relating to establishment and control of markets in Uganda.
A survey conducted around main popular Balikuddembe, Nakasero, Wandegeya and Nakawa markets , shows that there is endless power struggle over leadership of the markets.
Elements aligned or endorsed by government have imposed themselves on market vendors against their will.
Ironically the new law aims at returning the power to manage markets to the vedors with minimal government supervision.
Hajat Amina Fauzia a long – serving vendor at Wandegeya market told the Workers Eye that they have failed to understand why authorities do not want them to democratically elect their leaders
She said: ” There seems to be an incivible hand operating from somewhere that has blocked vendors from electing their leaders.”
At least thrice a tumult has broken out among the market vendors as they tried to hold an elective assembly. On the three occasions police was called to disperse rowdy groups that could not allow elections to proceed.
In Nakasero and St Balikuddembe markets vendors, who say they contributed money and own the markets , have been denied control of their projects.
Vendors accuse new interim Chairperson at St Balikudembe Ms Susan Katushabe , who replaced Godfrey Kayongo, of usurping the vendors’ powers. Vendors claim she was imposed on them by authorities with “orders from above”.
But despite vendors contributing collossal sums of money as gurantee for a bank loan to own St Balikuddembe, they were denied the chance to run the market.
Market vendors resorted to legal proceedings to recover their money on the project despite challenges.
The same unclear developements prevail at Nakasero market where leadership and ownership wrangles continue to prevail.
Kiseeka market, like St Balikuddembe , were leased to the vendors associations. But Nakasero Market Tenants Association and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) have been in disagreement over management of facilities.
But a directive by the President to dissolve market leadership in Kampala city markets made the situation worse.
Uganda Markets and Allied Workers Union (UMAWU) Chairman Mr Bismark Ssempijja told the Workers Eye that the government ought to have left vendors to manage the markets because they pulled resources to the project.
“The vendors contributed money to a pool with an aim of owning and manging the markets” he said.
However under the new law local governments will now be required to register all markets and vendors within their area of jurisdiction, and empower the Minister responsible for local governments to oversee and make rules and regulations for effecting the Act.
Workers Member of Parliament Hon Margaret Rwabushaija Namubiru said the Markets Bill 2021 puts into account special needs for persons with disabilities, women, and cultural and religious concerns.
She said:” ” The bill sets qualifications for leaders where a person shall not be elected as chairperson or secretary of the Market Management Committee unless he or she posseses Ordinary level certificate■