Wandegeya, Usafi Markets have Over 2000 Empty Stalls

2474 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Of these 1,720 are in Usafi Market, a facility acquired by Kampala Capital City Authority purposely to absorb vendors previously operating on city streets. The market, adjacent to the clock tower, a few minutes from the city centre, in Kampala Central division, has space for 3000 vendors.

Over 2,000 stalls and Lockups remain unoccupied in Usafi and Wandegeya Markets.

Of these 1,720 are in Usafi Market, a facility acquired by Kampala Capital City Authority purposely to absorb vendors previously operating on city streets. The market, adjacent to the clock tower, a few minutes from the city centre, in Kampala Central division, has space for 3000 vendors.

It was initially designed as a model with partitions to accommodate butcheries, fisheries, restaurants, farm produce, clothing and other merchandise. Each month, vendors are expected to pay charges ranging between 6,500 and 300,000 Shillings for stalls and shops respectively.

However, the facility has often been shunned by vendors who have since returned to the streets of Kampala saying that market is detached from the city centre and does not easily attract customers.  They also attribute the limited business to non gazetted stages that intercept travelers who would otherwise shop from the Market while boarding from the adjacent taxi park.

Similarly the newly refurbished Wandegeya Market, with a capacity to accommodate 1,114 vendors, has only 700 stalls occupied by a total of 500 vendors.  The market has another 299 stalls and shops that were paid for but not occupied while 380 that have never been booked. These include 287 stalls and 93 lockups charged between 50,000 and 70,000 Shillings every month.

With an estimated 1,900 vendors in the city, the Minister in Charge of Kampala Beti Olive Kamya says the markets have more than enough space to accommodate the vendors. Kamya recently launched a drive to promote trade order and rid the streets of all vendors.

But Derrick Kulubya, the in charge of Wandegeya Market blames the gaps on the market design. He says the facility, funded by the World Bank under the Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Programme-MATIP, is often shunned by buyers who associate it with expensive facilities.

The 22 billion Shillings Wandegeya market was built with a banking hall, day-care centre, cold rooms, clinics, parking lots and fire detection systems, among other features. But Kulubya says such facilities make it appear foreign far from the traditional African Market. 

He adds that the market is not accessible as people have to struggle with crossing the roads to the market and no specific entrance to the market yet the market is competing with businesses that include among others, hotels, saloons and bookshops that are cropping up within hostels around Makerere University.

Abdullah Kibugo, the publicist in Usafi market says access roads to the markets should be redesigned to improve public access to the market.

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.