A wrangle originating in St. Balikudembe Market over who is the rightful party to collect market dues has attracted the attention of the Office of the Prime Minister.
Matters in the market came to a head on Tuesday when rival factions violently clashed prompting police to intervene. Police had to fire teargas and live bullets to bring the clashes to an end.
The two factions are wrangling over who should collect market dues from the traders who operate within the market originally called Owino market.
The factions are Godfrey Nkajja Kayongo’s SLOA and John Baptist Kivumbi’s Cooperative Society Limited. Both factions claim they are the rightful owners to a tender to collect the market dues.
On Tuesday, the Kayongo faction tried enforce market dues. They attacked Bernard Semuwemba, a produce dealer, beat him up and undressed him. Semuwemba is still admitted in Mulago hospital.
Armed with sticks, pangas, and hoes, the Kayongo faction tried unsuccessfully to collect the market dues. However, infuriated traders retaliated by stoning the enforcers and forcing them to seek shelter and protection from the police.
Police had to fight off the traders who wanted to lynch the Kayongo faction enforcers who had sought refuge in Kayongo’s office (White House).
But Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) spokesperson Peter Kaujju insisted no party was mandated to collect dues from the traders.
Kaujju maintained that KCCA had abolished market dues at the height of in-fighting between Godfrey Nkajja Kayongo’s SLOA and John Baptist Kivumbi’s Cooperative Society Limited as to who was the rightful owner of the tender to run the market.
He said the market was now being handled by the Minister for Economic Monitoring Henry Banyenzaki.
Today when our reporter visited St. Balikudembe market, traders were still in fighting mood vowing not to pay the dues. The traders said they would not budge until KCCA Executive Director Jennifer Musisi pronounced herself on the matter.
The traders also named their tormentors as Kigundu, Kayiwa, Segawa and one Ssozi.
They demanded for the relocation of the police because the police had failed to intervene when Kayongo faction enforcers were trying to collect the dues.
John Baptist Kivumbi said that they had reported the matter to KCCA and were waiting for a response from City Hall.