Owino Vendors Reject Elections

The recent fire that gutted Owino market destroyed property worth billions
The recent fire that gutted Owino market destroyed property worth billions

On Thursday, angry vendors blocked an attempt by the market leaders to conduct elections of three representatives to a nine man committee to reconstruct the market using the 1 billion shillings donated by President Yoweri Museveni.

The botched elections were organized by the market leaders led by Hamza Kalema, the chairperson Park Yard market on the directives of Defense minister Dr Crispus Kiyonga. However, the vendors said they would only accept to participate in the polls if they are allowed to elect five representatives to the nine man committee.

After failing to convince the vendors to vote, Kalema called off the elections saying he needed time to consult the Resident City Commissioner Mpimbaza Hashaka on the way forward. He told reporters that the vendors wanted to elect five representatives in accordance with the five divisions in the market.

Before dismissing the gathering at Nakivubo settlement, rowdy vendors accused their leaders of conniving with Rose Kirabira, the Assistant Resident City Commissioner to appoint people to represent them on the committee. The appointees who were rejected by the vendors on grounds that they  do not own stalls in the market are Hamza Kalema, John Bosco Kalema and Abdallah Kaweesi.

Rosette Tusubira, a vendor in the market, said they were tired of fires in the market yet the people appointed on the market reconstruction committee lost anything in the market. She accused this group of being behind the fires, in which they lost their merchandise.

While some vendors want to elect only five representatives, others want to re-elect the entire market leadership. Stephen Segawa said they are tired of confusion and need to elect a proper leadership.

He was supported by Rashid Sesanga, who accused the market leaders of betrayal saying that when Museveni donated one billion shillings to them following the first fire, the officials introduced high interest rates and stringent conditions for vendors to access the money.

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