KABALE: The central Division chairman in Kabale municipality Sam Arineitwe wants government to compensate vendors who lost their lock ups and stalls in Kabale Central market
The new facility was constructed at a cost of 23 billion shillings by the Chinese Chong Chuing International Construction Company under the World Bank-funded Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Program III (MATIP III).
Speaking to our reporter in Kabale town, Arinaitwe said that that the government started from Kampala markets compensating the vendors before it could fully own it.
He added that in 2019 before the demolition of the old market, Kabale Municipality signed memorandum of understanding where it assured the vendors of owning back the stalls and lockups.
Arinaitwe said that taking the lockups and stalls without compensation means extortion.
On 12th November, 2022 the former occupants of the Kabale Central Market protested against the sets of procedures issued to guide their resettlement in the newly constructed market facility.
When construction started in December 2019, traders were relocated to the Kabale Police Barracks playground in Kigongi’s central division and others to the Mwanjari Business Center in the southern division.
This was after the Kabale Municipal Council authorities made a memorandum of understanding with the lock-up owners, assuring them that the lock-ups would be given back in the new market so that the owners would resume business in line with the 49-year occupational permits they had been given.
However, a section of traders protested against the new guidelines, which deny them re-possession of the lock-ups. According to the resettlement guidelines, the Kabale Municipal Council is the landlord in the new market, and unlike the previous arrangement, everyone else will be a tenant.
One of the former lock-up owners, Owen Kasimba, argued that the government was supposed to compensate them for the remaining time on their occupational permits if the lock-ups were to be fully owned by the Kabale Municipal Council. Kasimba said they had obtained bank loans to buy the lock-ups, which cost them between $48 and $70 million, while others built new structures in the old market.
Benjamin Mayanja protested the guideline allocating only one lockup for each vendor, saying that some of them owned five or six lockups in the old market
The relocation of vendors to the newly built Kabale Central market kicked off in January 2023 amidst disputes between a section of lock-up owners and Kabale municipal authorities. The exercise was conducted amidst heavy police and Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) deployment
CICO handed over the market to the government in early December 2022. However, a section of lockup owners are protesting the occupation of the market without the authorities handing over the ownership of the lockups.
They accuse authorities of turning against and declaring that Kabale municipality is the overall owner of the lockups without considering that there are those who were owning lockups before the old market was demolished.
By Ambrose Kweronda
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