• Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

Workers want Markets Bill 2021 implemented

By  Nakato Hellen Musoke.

Workers in public markers have appealed to the government to fast–track implementation of the recently passed Markets Bill 2021.

The bill moved by Workers Member of Parliament Hon Margaret Rwabushaija Namubiru aims at reforming the law relating to the establishment and control of markets in Uganda.

A survey conducted around the main popular Balikuddembe, Nakasero, Wandegeya, and Nakawa markets, shows that there is an endless power struggle over leadership of the markets.

Elements aligned or endorsed by the government have imposed themselves on market vendors against their will.

Ironically the new law aims at returning the power to manage markets to the vendors with minimal government supervision.

Hajat Amina Fauzia a long–serving vendor at Wandegeya market told the Workers Eye that they have failed to understand why authorities do not want them to democratically elect their leaders

She said: ” There seems to be an invisible hand operating from somewhere that has blocked vendors from electing their leaders.”

At least thrice a tumult has broken out among the market vendors as they tried to hold an elective assembly. On the three occasions, police were called to disperse rowdy groups that could not allow elections to proceed.

In Nakasero and St Balikuddembe markets vendors, who say they contributed money and own the markets, have been denied control of their projects.

Vendors accuse the new interim Chairperson at St Balikudembe Ms. Susan Katushabe, who replaced Godfrey Kayongo, of usurping the vendors’ powers. Vendors claim she was imposed on them by authorities with “orders from above”.

But despite vendors contributing colossal sums of money as a guarantee for a bank loan to own St Balikuddembe, they were denied the chance to run the market.

Market vendors resorted to legal proceedings to recover their money on the project despite challenges.

The same unclear developments prevail in the Nakasero market where leadership and ownership wrangles continue to prevail.

Kiseeka markets, like St Balikuddembe, were leased to the vendor’s associations. But Nakasero  Market Tenants Association and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) have been in disagreement over the management of facilities.

But a directive by the President to dissolve market leadership in Kampala city markets made the situation worse.

Uganda Markets and Allied Workers Union (UMAWU) Chairman  Mr. Bismark Ssempijja told the Workers Eye that the government ought to have left vendors to manage the markets because they pulled resources to the project.

“The vendors contributed money to a pool with an aim of owning and managing the markets,” he said.

However, under the new law, local governments will now be required to register all markets and vendors within their area of jurisdiction, and empower the Minister responsible for local governments to oversee and make rules and regulations for effecting the Act.

Workers Member of Parliament Hon Margaret Rwabushaija Namubiru said the Markets Bill 2021 puts into account special needs for persons with disabilities, women, and cultural and religious concerns.

She  said:” ” The bill sets qualifications for leaders where a person shall not be elected as chairperson or secretary of the Market Management Committee unless he or she possesses Ordinary level certificate■ 

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