President Museveni has rejected the giveaway of St Balikuddembe (Owino) Market to a private investor, Daily Monitor reported.
According to the report, Museveni said the facility is currently being managed by local traders.
On on May 25, 2021, the managing director of Al-Ameri Intel Company East Africa, Dr Abdulmajeed Quasem Othman, wrote to the President inviting him to the ground-breaking ceremony of the redevelopment of the facility.
The senior presidential adviser on military affairs, Lt Gen Proscovia Nalweyiso, wrote back informing Dr Abdulmajeed on June 29, 2021, that his request had been rejected.
Gen Nalweyiso also stated that the President met with the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) executive director, Dorothy Kisaka, and senior presidential adviser on economic affairs, Jane Barekye, at State House and clarified that the market had been given to local traders.
As such the ground-breaking ceremony couldn’t take place, Nalweyiso wrote.
She added that Museveni advised the investor to buy land, build a market and rent it out to the people if he was interested in the market business.
Al-Ameri Intel Company East Africa had reportedly been contracted by St Balikuddembe Market Stalls, Space and Lock-ups Owners Association (SSLOA), a traders’ body, to whom the market land was leased on February 3, 2010.
SSLOA has since been kicked out of the management of the market following a presidential directive to have all city markets that had been leased to traders returned to the government through KCCA.
Suzan Kushaba, the market interim chairperson, told Daily Monitor that they are still waiting for the government to officially takeover the facility.
“We will not allow any company to come and disturb traders in the name of redeveloping the market because there is a presidential directive which still stands to date. I would like to assure traders to remain calm as the government handles the matter,” she said.
President Museveni in 2019 instituted a committee led by the First Deputy Prime Minister, Gen Moses Ali, to study the status of public and private markets in the city to empower vendors and report their findings to Cabinet.
On November 4, 2019, the committee submitted a report to Cabinet.
Committee members, who attended a Cabinet meeting, told Daily Monitor that they were directed to reconcile the warring factions in the city markets to facilitate its development for the benefit of all.
They said in the alternative, the Cabinet proposed compulsory takeover of the market by the government to develop and manage it in case reconciliation failed.