Traders go Illegal, Abandon Newly Commissioned Market

Despite the presence of traffic officers at Kasubi junction, illegal activities on the road reserve are gradually worsening traffic congestion on Hoima Road, particularly during rush hours.
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Traders operate by the roadside after abandoning the newly-constructed Kasubi market, yesterday. PHOTO | STEPHEN OTAGE

Just six months after the new Kasubi market opened to the public in Kampala, Uganda, some traders have abandoned it and returned to working by the roadside.

Despite the presence of traffic officers at Kasubi junction, illegal activities on the road reserve are gradually worsening traffic congestion on Hoima Road, particularly during rush hours.

Mr Ronald Zibu, the Kasubi market chairperson, said in a phone interview on Sunday that some traders had purposefully deserted the new market.

Mr Zibu expressed concern that if authorities do not crack down on criminals, the vice would stifle development.

He did not, however, include a clear figure on how many traders had left the market.

“Some traders are running away from the market to operate by the roadside. However, the law enforcement officers aren’t doing much to undo this illegal activity and their presence on the road is blocking traffic yet this is the same thing we wanted to avoid by constructing the market,” Mr Zibu said.

He went on to say that there is a group of people battling his executive in the new market facility, and that traders are rallying to leave it as a form of protest against his leadership. This assertion could not be independently verified by THE GAZETTE.

Motorists have vowed to stage a protest if the roadside vendors are not evicted.

Mr Isaack Sserwadda, a taxi driver, said:
“We thought the traffic on this stretch would be no more but traders have returned on the same road reserve to inconvenience us and this definitely affects our operations. We will act if at all KCCA doesn’t take any action”.

The Shs1.6 billion facility includes a parking lot, office building, perimeter wall, water, toilets, and a day care center, among other amenities.

Traders used to operate on the side of the road before the new facility was built, rendering the Kasubi-Namungoona stretch a nightmare for most motorists.

According to some traders who spoke to this newspaper last Friday, the new facility lacks sufficient working space to accommodate the growing number of vendors.

Mr Seyyid Muwonge, a trader, said;

“There is a problem of double allocation of stalls. That’s why some traders have been running away from the market because you find one stall is claimed by more than two people. That’s how most of us have found ourselves back on the road reserve. There are issues of mismanagement which must be ironed out lest all traders move out,”.

Those who feel cheated, however, should file formal complaints with Mr Zibu's office, he said. He went on to say that they may have been duped by people posing as management.

President Museveni said the market's construction was a fulfillment of the government's promises to the citizens of Kampala regarding the modernization of markets, highways, and drainage channels when he opened it last year.

“There should never be food vending on the roadside. We want vehicles to be on the road and the pedestrians on the walkways,” he said.

Daniel Nuwabiine, the KCCA's manager of public and corporate relations, said that some traders had been fooled into abandoning the facility by the wrong elements.

Mr Nuwabiine stated that the authority has begun impromptu enforcement to apprehend anyone found operating from the road reserve.

“We are yet to bring a contractor on board so that they can start construction of the stretch from Kasubi to Lubigi and we hope that when the works commence, those traders will be chased away from the road reserve. But for now our enforcement team is aware and has started operations,” he said.