The dispute over the lease of Nakasero and St. Balikuddembe markets to City Businessman Hassan Basajabalaba has taken a new twist.
The Local Government Minister, Major General Kahinda Otafiire, has directed Kampala City Council to rectify the procedural anomalies which were made during the lease award to Sheila Investments, the Company managing Nakasero Market.
Appearing before the Local Government Committee of Parliament two weeks ago, Otafiire was put to task to explain why his ministry has failed to sort out the dispute between the Nakasero market vendors and Sheila investments Limited.
KCC leased 70% of the market to city businessman Hassan Basajabalaba and awarded the remaining 30% to the vendors.
According to the lease agreement signed between Basajabalaba's company, Sheila Investments and KCC, Sheila investments will construct a large shopping center at the market. It is estimated that 27,000 out of the 30,000 vendors at the market will be displaced by the development.
The agreement however states that only traders who have had a tenancy agreement with KCC since the inauguration of the market in 1927 will remain at Nakasero.
But in his letter to KCC, Otafiire accuses Kampala City Council of not providing him with sufficient information in relation to the lease. The Minister has directed that the vendors be given the ground floor by the developer who plans to take over the market.
The Director of Sheila Investments Herbert Bashasha says they have written KCC to clarify the matter.
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Some vendors led by Ali Kayanja, insist that Sheila Investments must leave Nakasero Market since their lease was terminated. The group has threatened to forcefully evict officials of Sheila Investments if they do not leave voluntarily.
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A wave of uncertainty looms over the Nakasero and Owino markets where just two days ago a man was shot dead by security guards hired by Basajabalaba's Victoria Investments to guard the market.
The man was shot during a scuffle between the vendors and a group of people purportedly from KCC Central Division who were collecting market dues.
Security at the Sheila Investments Offices in Nakasero has been beefed up amid fears of a repeat of Wednesday's incident. Armed guards from Delta Force, a private security firm have been deployed at the Company's premises.