A normal day for a traveller through the central business area of Kampala will have that person entering through any of the major junctions.
These junctions which include Busega, Kibuye, Kalerwe, Nakawa, Bugolobi and others all have one common element and that is the open traders’ markets especially for local produce like fruits and foodstuffs.
For the person cruising past those markets, it might be hard to notice the circumstances under which the traders operate or the nature of that market. The congestion in these markets is alarming which is normal for any market if that translates into doing business. The disorganisation inside and around these markets chases away the majority of high earners and leaves only those who can part with less than 10 dollars in a single buying. When it rains, only people who would make the market ground a kraal can salvage a day’s earning. The mess brought by the rains cultivates a stench next to none.
The enormous challenges around these markets which send away many customers seem to be normal for traders because it’s business as usual from January to December.
Traders who operate stalls in these markets are of all walks of life representational of Uganda’s current demographic. In most cases, 50 dollars will buy off all items on a given stall and still one walks away saving change.
But to a kin eye, there is something interesting around the city. There are roadside stalls more or less operating like markets and it’s sometimes hard to clear that stall with 200 dollars because of the quality and price of fruits and foodstuffs available for sale.
Surprisingly most of the people if not all who operate these stalls seem to come from one region if not Rwanda. Drive to Naalya and find relatively a fully-fledged market with almost all stalls occupied by foreigners or Rwandese. This market has all the convenience a customer looks for, leave alone the quality items available for sale. The ample paved parking and the cleanliness attract the upscale customer who can even pay in dollars. The design of this market enables the customer to see what he or she needs to buy without moving away from the main road.
Go to Kisaasi and take a closer look at the two markets before and Gaz. The vibrant one with quality items is occupied by people from Western Uganda and the miserable with cheap stalls is occupied by other Ugandans.
This leaves one wondering who designed the Naalya market that couldn’t advise on the design of the Wandegeya market. In Wandegeya market there is totally no display for the would-be buyers. It’s only the word market on the building that would tell a passerby that a market occupies that space.
Go to Bugolobi and the case is the same. It would be hard for a non-resident to identify that market because it’s covered by buildings.
Walk to Owino and find a small-sized entrance where everyone has to squeeze through.
Go to Kireka market in Wakiso district with all its sole state and someone will tell you it’s not supposed to be there but every December passes when it’s still existing.
The noise-making speakers raised on poles cannot be found in the Naalya market.
One wonders who the real owners of these expensive roadside stalls with quality items are because fruits are delicate and a no go business for your usual old Joe to deal in with over 300 dollars investment.
Who funds the market vendors operating these stalls?