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Scramble For Power: KCCA Leaders Squeeze Self Into Market Clutter

As the President’s directive on the management of City markets stirs a new wave of chaos, leaders in Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA have also raised up to claim their powers to guide the affairs of the City. Earlier this month, President Yoweri Museveni directed KCCA to repossess all city markets and take over management.

The technical wing has since ousted the interim committees they installed following an earlier presidential directive in 2020. The KCCA Executive Director, Dorothy Kisaka said that the presidential directive overrides the other efforts in place. However, as this plays out, political leaders in the city say they have been sidelined and their powers to initiate and formulate policies to improve service delivery usurped.

On Monday, the City Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago convened a meeting involving the KCCA Speaker, division Mayors, Councilors, and vendors among others. Lukwago says that political leaders need to stand up and guide the process of managing City markets and installation of committees.

In 2019, the KCCA under the leadership of the Lord Mayor passed the Market Ordinance, which provided for the management of Markets and forwarded the same to the Attorney General’s office for perusal. The Attorney General returned the ordinance in 2021 with a comment that while it sought to regulate both Public and Private Markets, the 1942 Market Act only provided for the establishment of markets by government authorities.

But as KCCA worked on the ordinance, parliament approved the Market Bill 2022, which effectively repealed the 1942 Market Act and set new guidelines to manage the markets. The Market Bill 2022 was passed in February 2022 and sent to the President for assent.  However, in a meeting with KCCA officials and ministers for Kampala during, which Museveni issued the current directives, the president indicated that he would return the Bill to Parliament because it had two clauses he disagreed with.

The first clause provided for Public-Private Partnerships and the other, the involvement of vendors in the management of markets. Lukwago told the meeting Monday that KCCA halted processing the Market Ordinance counting on the Bill, which included provisions they believed would guide in the proper management of the Markets.

But with how things are playing out, Lukwago says that Councils at all the five divisions of Kampala and at City Hall should agree on how to get involved in the process. He says as they wait for the Market Bill to be concluded, the councils should determine how management Committees in the Market are constituted as KCCA takes over these markets.

KCCA Speaker Zahara Luyirika says that the biggest challenge they face in guiding operations of the City is the failure of the technocrats to implement Council resolutions. She referred to two past resolutions; one on opening the Busega market and the other on suspending errant leaders in the markets, which were never implemented.

She says the technical wing is racing to implement the presidential directive on matters Council already guided upon. Luyirika thinks that the domination of the opposition in the political arena of the City explains the reluctance of the Central government and KCCA to implement Council resolutions.

Moses Kataabu, the Kampala Central 2 councilor also says that President Museveni is deliberately sideling the political leadership of the City to run the affairs of Kampala. He referred to the processes of the Ordinance and the Market bill, which the president has ignored and instead issued directives that are also being implemented without the involvement of City leaders with the powers to formulate and pass policies in line with the KCCA act.

Salim Uhuru, the Kampala Central Mayor has only praises for the president, saying that since the president’s directive doesn’t give details on implementation, it’s high time the divisions enjoyed their powers to plan for their areas. Kampala has 86 markets, and only 16 of these spread across the five divisions of Kampala belong to the government.

Uhuru says that divisions should now make suggestions on the running of the City Markets using the presidential directive as their guidance.

Meanwhile, as political leaders demand their space in guiding the management of City markets, they are also debating how to help street vendors and markets. The president ordered KCCA to find a temporary place to host them but the same is yet to be realized.

There is still disagreement between the political leaders and technocrats. The political leaders want some streets designated for street vending, something the technocrats are yet to buy.

-URN

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