Kampala. Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has finally taken over the management of Usafi Market and Taxi Park, settling the ownership controversy that has shrouded the market since 2011.
KCCA officially took over the market after sealing a Shs39.458 billion deal with Safinet Company that has been managing the facility sitting on 6.2 acres of land with 20 different titles.
The defunct Kampala City Council in 2011 leased the facility at Shs110 million to Mr Umar Nasoro Ssekamatte, one of Safinet proprietors.
Mr Ssekamatte, however, in reselling the property, demanded KCCA to pay Shs43 billion, an amount that raised eyebrows among the public, including embattled Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago.
KCCA executive director Jennifer Musisi, while receiving documents for the market on Tuesday, said the Usafi deal had become a “monster” to the authority.
“I always wake up every day and pray to God, but today (Tuesday), I instead thank God for having enabled us complete the Usafi market and park deal. I have been relieved of the burden of explaining to everyone everywhere I go about Usafi,” Ms Musisi said.
Mr Ssekamatte said although he agreed to give KCCA all the facility’s titles, the former had paid him halfway the deal price. Neither Ms Musisi nor Ssekamatte divulged details of the paid or unpaid amount.
Traders at the facility said they had lost trust in KCCA’s ability to take over the market, since it evicted them from the Kampala streets with an assurance that they would be relocated to the market at subsidised operational costs.
“This is the moment we have been waiting for since three years ago. Many of our colleagues abandoned the facility because they could not afford to pay high rent. The fact that the market is in the hands of government reassures us that we won’t be charged exorbitant monthly market dues as it has been the case with Safinet,” said Mr Ssalongo Kagolo, the chairperson of traders in Usafi Market.
However, Mr Ssekamatte said he was making loses and that he had sold some of his properties to service bank loans he got to develop the facility to a better standard.
Ms Musisi said the authority would soon announce the new structure for the monthly dues.
What deal means
KCCA’s takeover of the facility implies they will collect monthly dues from lock-ups and stalls, enforce the Shs120, 000 monthly fee from each commuter taxi and abolish all the route charges Safinet has been levying on taxi operators in Usafi Park.