The Minister for Kampala Affairs and Metropolitan Area,Ms Beti Olive Kamya on Monday appointed a committee to probe the alleged sale of Nateete Market.
The committee is expected to report back to the minister after two weeks.
The committee members are; Dr Essau Galukande, the KCCA deputy director of Gender Community Services and Production, Ms Deborah Mbabazi, the Kampala Resident City Commissioner (RCC) and Ms Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo, the Lubaga Division mayor.
The establishment of the probe committee followed running battles between Nateete Market vendors and police as the traders protested the takeover of their facility by R.R Transporters Ltd.
During the 9-hour demonstration, the vendors blocked vehicles from accessing the very busy Masaka Road, a key tributary into and out of Kampala from western Uganda, and beyond.
Heavy early morning traffic was diverted to use the Northern By-pass.
The market was developed by the defunct Kampala City Council when the late John Ssebaana Kizito was the city mayor. That investment is now threatened.
Police fought running battles with angry traders, lobbing teargas canisters at the demonstrators in this usually restive enclave of Kampala given its large population of unemployed youth.
Angry traders were heard accusing some KCCA officials of selling the land to RR Family Transporters Limited and pocketing the money.
“This market accommodates over 10,000 vendors; where do they want us to go? We left street vending, hoping to settle in the market. We shall not vacate,”Ali Kironde, second hand cloth vendor vowed.
Others are; Mr Richard Bwabye, the Lubaga Division RCC, Ms Elizabeth Namagembe, the Principal Legal Officer in the Ministry of Kampala Affairs and a police detective who will be appointed by the police director of Criminal Investigations Department.
In an earlier interview on Monday morning, Ms Kamya that government is aware of the on-going controversy in Nateete Market, but she said that the matter would be probed.
“We are trying to ascertain how this market was sold at the expense of the vendors and we shall pronounce ourselves on the same with a positive position,” she said.
The sale of Nateete Market has since put KCCA in the spotlight for surrendering the land for sale yet they have structures that were built by World Bank, and have been collecting revenue from vendors.
However, Mr Peter Kaujju, KCCA spokesperson said that Nateete Market land doesn’t belong to KCCA.
The disputed land sits on one acre and it’s located on Block 18 Plot 234, Kyadondo-Mengo in Rubaga Division. Nateete market is one of the public facilities managed by KCCA.
According to the sale agreement, the market was sold to R.R Family Transporters Ltd by the proprietors of the contested land. The proprietors are; Mr Musa Ddamulira, Ms Madina Nassejje, Mr Juma Lutwama, Mr Suleiman Nsimbe and Mr Ismail Sebugwawo.
Documents show that they had acquired a Shs250 million loan from a one, Mr David Bukalamye which they failed to repay, forcing them to sell the Nateete market land.
However, by the time it was sold, vendors under their umbrella of Nateete Vendors Company Ltd had secured a lease on the contested land running for the next 46 years.
According to documents, after buying this land, RR Family Transporters Ltd asked the proprietors to cancel the lease which had been given to Nateete Vendors Company Ltd to guarantee them full ownership to mitigate further encumbrances.
But vendors claim that their leaders connived with the proprietors of the land to sell it off by cancelling the lease without seeking their consent.
The three directors who surrendered the lease are; Mr Stephen Ntanzi, Mr Dirisa Ndugwa and Mr Joseph Zziwa.
Although KCCA had filed an application on October 8 2015 in the High Court blocking the sale of the contested land, they later wrote to the Registrar Execution and Bailiffs Division of the High Court to have their application withdrawn.
“…the applicant has thus lost interest in prosecuting the said application since it has been overtaken by events and has taken other remedial actions for redress. We are therefore withdrawing the said application since it has been rendered nugatory,” wrote Mr Caleb Mugisha, the KCCA acting Director Litigation Services.
However, KCCA councillors have turned guns on Mr Mugisha, accusing him of connivance with the buyer of the disputed land.
“You can’t just write a letter giving away a facility where KCCA has been collecting revenue and then you claim that the same KCCA doesn’t have any interest on the land. Mr Mugisha must be prosecuted because his role in the sale of Nateete Market is suspicious,” said Kennedy Okello, the Nakawa I male councillor.
This publication has also learnt that Kampala Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago instituted a committee about two weeks ago to probe the controversy surrounding the sale of Nateete market.
However, the committee hasn’t reported back to him.