President Yoweri Museveni has said that ownership and authority over markets in Kampala should be under Kampala Capital City Authority and not left to vendors.
He says the idea of leaving markets to be run by vendors is not sustainable.
"If you give markets to sitting tenants, how about those who will come later? Markets should stay in the hands of KCCA so when vendors leave, others come so that vendors continue to pay rent and leave developing and management to government and KCCA," he said.
He made these remarks while commissioning the new Wandegeya market, in that city suburb that hardly goes to sleep. Local Government Minister Adolf Mwesige said Shs 21 billion had been spent to develop the market. Government borrowed $70 million to develop markets. Museveni will also commission markets in Fort Portal, Hoima, Jinja, Mbale, Lira and Gulu.
Mwesige said government needed another $21 million to develop markets in Busia, Tororo, Soroti, Moroto, Kitgum, Arua, Kasese, Mbarara, Lugazi, Ntinda, Kansanga, Nakulabye and Kasubi. The new market will not only change Wandegeya town's skyline but also redefine the way business is conducted. The market, which will accommodate more than 1,200 vendors, will house food stalls, restaurants, banks, salons, fruit and vegetable stands, butcheries and a day care centre.
For starters, customers are assured of better sanitation and hygiene. Two years ago, the market was sitting in filth and garbage. Floors were muddy and whether it rained or not, the market was always dirty with pools of water and mud blocking walkways. Flies filled the market and food stalls as vendors dumped their garbage wherever they wanted.
But now, the whole market is cemented with drainage, toilets and clear dumping sites for plastics, foodstuffs and medical waste. The management and maintenance of the market has also been left under KCCA to ensure sanitation and orderliness. The market has also been organized in such a way that vendors dealing in the same item will be sitting on the same floor.
For example in the South wing, butcheries, fish stands, foods stands for fresh food like matooke, potatoes, yams will sit on the first floor. The second floor will be occupied mainly by traders dealing in fruits and vegetables. The third floor is for lockup shops dealing in dry foodstuffs like beans, millet, rice, posho while the last floor houses a day care centre.
In the North wing, the first floor is the main kitchen for food vendors and customers will sit in restaurants on the second floor. Jennifer Musisi the Executive Director of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) told The Observer that priority to occupy will go to vendors of the old market who signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with KCCA.
"All the people who were here are coming back as long as they signed an MOU with us. We are going to sort out those who do not have MOUs but wish to rent stalls. We will rent out the stalls at a commercial rate," Musisi said.
She says completing the market has been a battle because many politicians fought its development.