Managers of two major markets in Lukaya Town Council in Kalungu District have clashed after refused to operate from the new market.
The disagreement between Mr Joseph Wasswa Ssekitto, the proprietor of Lukaya Road Toll Market, and Mr Rashid Kibidde, the chairperson of the new Lukaya Market emerged after the latter accused the former of blocking vendors from occupying stalls in the new market.
The Shs1.8b new market, which the government constructed in the area, has been operational since May but has only attracted three vendors despite the three-month rent-free period.
Mr Kibidde claims that Mr Ssekitto convinced vendors not to take up stalls at the public market for his selfish interests.
“At the time of registering the vendors, the proprietor of Lukaya Road Toll Market advised the vendors to apply for stalls in the new market with a hidden agenda. After them registering, the same person stopped the vendors from joining the market,” he told Daily Monitor on Tuesday.
But Mr Ssekitto insists that vendors are shunning the new market because it was poorly constructed.
“That market lacks enough parking space for customers and there are also other challenges which stop vendors from joining it,” he said.
Mr Ssekitto said vendors at his private market are free to join the new market on the condition that they don’t retain stalls in the old market.
“There are more than 100 street vendors operating in different areas in Lukaya Town. Those are the people who should occupy the new market, when starting Lukaya Road Toll market, we started with only four vendors and we spent 10 years with less than 50 vendors, but today it is full,” he said.
The old market is occupied by over 700 vendors with each paying Shs15,000 per month.
Lukaya, located a few metres from Lwera swamp along Kampala-Masaka highway, is a one stop centre for skewers of roasted meat, chicken thighs, liver, gizzards, and gonja.
Lukaya Town Council Chairperson, Mr Charles Tamale said they have given one month to all vendors who applied for stalls in the new market to occupy them, or else they will be allocated to other people.
“It doesn’t make sense to have an empty market when the government spent billions of money on the project,” he said.
The government spent Shs1.8 billion on the new market project.