KAMPALA – As President Yoweri Museveni’s directive on the management of markets in the capital city conveyed fresh confusion; civil leaders in Kampala Capital City Authority – KCCA are elevating their status in order to remain in power.
Earlier this month, the president ordered KCCA to take over the management of all markets in the city in a repossession exercise.
KCCA’s technical wing has since ousted the interim committees they installed following an earlier presidential directive in 2020. KCCA Executive Director, Dorothy Kisaka noted that the presidential directive overrides all other efforts in place.
However, as this plays out, political leaders in the city insist that the new plans side-lined them and their powers to initiate and formulate policies to improve service delivery.
On Monday, the Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago convened a meeting involving the KCCA Speaker, division Mayors, Councillors, and vendors among others. Lukwago says that political leaders need to stand up and guide the process of managing city markets and the installation of committees exercise.
In 2019, the KCCA under the leadership of the Lord Mayor passed the Market Ordinance, which provided for the management of markets – forwarding the same to the Attorney General-AG for perusal. However, the AG 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But as KCCA worked on the ordinance, parliament approved the Market Bill 2022, which effectively repealed the 1942 Market Act and set new guidelines to manage the markets.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 Monday meeting 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 believes 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 II councillor also says that President Museveni is deliberate in the sideling of political leaders of the City in running 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 only praised the president, saying since the directive doesn’t offer details on implementation; it was time the divisions enjoyed their powers to plan for the people within their respective areas. Kampala has 86 markets – but only 16 spread across the five divisions of Kampala belong to the government.
Uhuru says that divisions should now make suggestions on how to run the city markets under the presidential directive as the guideline.
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 co-exist. 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 but technocrats won’t buy into such an idea.
Original report by URN