UGANDA, Nakasero | Real Muloodi News | The Civil Division of the High Court in Kampala dealt a blow to the vendors in the Nakasero market. The court dismissed the application raised by Nakasero Market Sitting Vendors and Traders Limited, to throw out the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) from managing the market.
In 2020, the vendors’ organisation went to court seeking to overturn a decision by the KCCA to take over management issues of the market. They wanted the court to pronounce itself on the matter and order the KCCA to return management of the market to the vendors’ organisation.
In November 2020, KCCA reacquired the market after President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni in September of the same year asked them to manage all markets and abattoirs because the private entities were not doing a good job.
In turn, the KCCA carried out the order and created a new team to run the market.
This move agitated the vendors who later applied to the court, asserting their ownership of the market and its management. The vendors further told the court that, in December 2009, they acquired a sub-lease of the property on Plot 48 and 7B Market Street, Nakasero Market, from the KCCA to which they paid a premium of 1.8 billion shillings plus ground rent of 45 million. Then, they agreed to collect revenue for the KCCA.
In mounting their defence, the KCCA quoted the 94 Market Act that gives them the powers to manage and control markets in the city, and to allow private entities like Nakasero Market Sitting Vendors and Traders Limited to manage the property is a breach of that act.
In April 2010, President Museveni ordered the KCCA to take over all land for common use facilities in the city and lease common land to the vendors.
However, KCCA said that the Cabinet reversed the policy and determined that the government should repossess all public common user facilities. Further still, in 2019, the Cabinet decided that the KCCA should refund the premium and ground rent paid by the vendors and do so with interest, and then take over possession of the property for proper management.
KCCA then said they were acting under the direction of the President. They also declined to refund the 1.845 billion to the vendors who had a lease on the market, saying the markets belong to the government.
Justice Musa Ssekaana dismissed the vendor’s application and said, “it is not a case for judicial review basing on the facts and circumstances of the case.”
He further noted that the transactions entered into by the KCCA and vendors were purely contractual and based on private law rights that were derived from the said agreements.
He continued to say, “Contractual obligations should not be enforced by judicial review. Unless the question is whether the contracting authority has exceeded its power. Judicial review should be a remedy of last resort and it is inappropriate where there is another field of law governing the situation.”
Justice Ssekaana dismissed the case with no costs; he did not decide on the 1.845 billion the vendors claimed to have paid to the KCCA.
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