Beti Kamya, the Minister for Kampala has confirmed receipt of a report on the study into the ongoing conflicts at St.Balikuddembe (Owino) market, pledging to act on it.
By our Reporter,
According to sources, On July 9, Kamya sent text to mission undertaker Deo Walusimbi- reading, “I received it [report], I will read it and get back to you,”
A one-man study stemmed from an anonymous brief to Minister Kamya that there was an ongoing unrest at St. Balikuddembe being orchestrated by Godfrey Nkajja Kayongo, the leader of St. Balikuddembe Market Stalls, Space, and Lock-up Shop Owners Association Limited (SSLOA).
The researcher interviewed dozens of market vendors including Godfrey Nkajja Kayongo, the leader of SSLOA, JB. Kivumbi and Joseph Lwanga) both leaders of St. Balikuddembe (Owino) Market Produce, Traders and Vendors Cooperative Society Ltd, which is the parallel company they formed to counter Kayongo’s.
Causes of the dispute
In the report seen by www.muwado.com, the study established that two of the prime causes of the protracted disputes at St.Balikuddembe are the vendors’ inability to change leadership of the market for the last couple of decades and ambiguity on the facility’s ownership.
Facts in the report reveal that Godfrey Kayongo has been the only leader since 1971 to date despite his feud with a section of vendors in the market.
“Despite stiff opposition against his leadership, Kayongo gripped onto the mantle in the late 1990s after the president ordered that vendors should directly manage their markets, an issue that exacerbated the situation.”
On learning of the president’s directive, Kayongo formed St. Balikuddembe Market Stalls, Space, and Lock-up Shop Owners Association Limited (SSLOA), a private company that would be used to procure a lease and re-construct the market for the vendors to a required standard even without conducting a due diligence to ascertain whether the presidential directive regarding empowering vendors to re-develop their markets gave the latter a green light to form a private company.
The study observed that Godfrey Kayongo, the current Managing Director/Executive project coordinator of SSLOA just changes goal posts from one organization to another as and when he wishes without the vendors’ consent in most cases.
The study’s findings show that Kayongo’s formation of a private company fuelled the conflict further after some vendors led by John Baptist Kivumbi and Joseph Lwanga formed a parallel company St. Balikuddembe (Owino) Market Produce, Traders and Vendors Cooperative Society Ltd in 2007 to directly confront Kayongo’s SSLOA which had been formed in 2006.
Forceful collection of dues
Though the researcher was unable to verify the method SSLOA applies, the study found out that Kayongo was collecting these dues from vendors despite a 2012 moratorium on the exercise by Kampala Capital City Authority’s Executive Director Musisi pending clearance of Shs Shs 1.2bn that he had not remitted to KCCA for a long period.
“Vendors pay their dues willingly.” Kayongo told the researcher.
The report pointed out that “wrangles at St.Balikuddembe also correlate on its ownership with vendors allied to JB Kivumbi’s sect asserting that it’s owned by KCCA for and on behalf of government whereas Godfrey Kayongo calling it his personal property.”
- Leaders of the two main sects in St.Balukuddembe market i.e. JB Kivumbi, Joseph Lwanga, and Godfrey Kayongo should be;
- Refrained from engaging in actions which are divisive in nature
- Investigated by the relevant authorities especially on matters rotating on revenue collections
- Godfrey Kayongo and SSLOA should be further investigated by competent arms of the state on allegations of;
- Hiring members of the horrific kifeesi gang to molest, and confiscate vendors’ properties
- ‘Murdering’ some of the vendors opposed to his leadership
- Defying a directive by KCCA executive director in respect to collection of dues from the vendors even without clearing the KCCA by 2012
- KCCA should urgently intervene in this matter to;
- Ensure that the Management of St.Balikuddembe market is placed in the relevant authorities, KCCA in this case as per market act of 1942.
In any case, this study reveals that all other markets in Kampala including those that belong to Mengo government, are being run by KCCA.
- or come out to explicitly pronounce itself on the ownership of St.Balikuddembe market or the president can resound his directive regarding vendors’ rights to manage markets with clear guidelines
- Government can choose to procure a lease offer on behalf of vendors being a fact that it has got the capacity to even re-construct the market for these poor vendors
- Leaders of the two main sects featuring in the squabbles should be indefinitely banned from holding any single leadership position at St.Balikuddembe
- Organize elections to enable vendors to get leadership of their choice
- All leaders in Kampala irrespective of their levels should make themselves available to the vendors in St.Balikuddembe to restore confidence in the frustrated vendors