UGANDA, Mbarara | Real Muloodi News | The Minister of Local Government, Raphael Magyezi, has directed Mbarara City clerk, Asse Babireeba, to interdict and investigate two Mbarara City officials; James Agaba, the Principal City Commercial officer and his assistant, Donati Mutahi.
The Minister directed that the two should stay out of office during investigations, with effect from 11th April 2022.
The need for investigations has risen from alleged dubious allocations of Mbarara Central Market lockups, following complaints raised by a section of vendors accusing them of bribery and improper allocation of the market stalls.
The Minister further directed the Mbarara Central Market Vendors’ Association leaders, chaired by Muhammed Nyombi to stop its operations. He also halted the process of list verification until investigations are complete.
According to the Minister, he is investigating alleged conflict of interest and corruption by the city officials, the verification committee, and Association leadership.
He says that the verification committee failed its mandate by accepting false documents, allowing non-vendors to occupy stalls, charging a lot of money, and Association leaders sharing many stalls among themselves, alongside other issues.
One of the vendors, Jimmy Muhumuza, says that he had two shops before the reconstruction of the market, however he has been dropped from the list entirely and not given any lock-up in the new market.
Emilly Musiime, another vendor, says that her stall was given to another person because she refused to pay USh100,000. She adds that the selection committee failed in their responsibilities and treated the vendors unfairly.
Lydia Karungi, the Senior Programme Officer of the Ministry of Local Government who is also the chairperson of the verification committee says that they zoned the market according to the Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Programme (MATIP) guidelines. She adds that the complaining vendors object to the way the market was zoned. She however adds that they are doing a re-allocation.
She also adds that the other group of vendors complaining are those that have been in the market for the last five years but have no memorandum of understanding with the Ministry.
They have managed to allocate over 717 vendors and are still validating the data to fully settle all of the vendors.
The chairperson of the Vendors Association, Muhammed Nyombi, says that it is okay for the leaders to be investigated and suspended from operations because vendors have a right to a free and fair allocation process, having suffered at Independence park for almost five years.
The USh21 billion market from which the issues arose sits on an acre of land and was constructed by the government under the MATIP with support from the African Development Bank and is expected to accommodate over 1000 vendors.
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