KAMPALA. The controversy surrounding Nakivubo redevelopment has taken a new twist with the former Park Yard traders dragging the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), the Attorney General, Nakivubo War Memorial stadium board of trustees and the market developer, Mr Hamis Kiggundu to court over illegal eviction.
The traders, 120 in number, claim that their merchandise was spoilt during the eviction on February 28 2017. They want Shs 450m as compensation for the damages caused.
In a suit filed in the High Court dated March 24 2017, the traders contend that the eviction was illegally conducted without giving them sufficient notice which made them lose merchandise worth Shs450m.
“You are hereby required to file a defence in the said suit within Fifteen (15) days from the date of service of this summons on you, in the manner prescribed under 0.9.R1 of the Civil Procedure Rules S1.71-1,” reads in part the suit.
The suit was filed by leaders of the affected vendors. They claim that since the eviction, they have never engaged in any activity because they don’t have merchandise to sell.
They are; Mr Ezra Kabeera, Mr Muwadah Kiyimba, Mr Muhamed Mwondha, John Bosco Sserwadda and Mr Moses Mwesigye.
“We didn’t have any problem with the eviction but it was carried out before the deadline expired. As a result, we lost our merchandise because we were not around.
Even the Shs 200m that Ham gave the evicted vendors to help them in the in relocation was pocketed by the former leaders at the expense of the majority,” said Mr Moses Mwesigye, one of the traders.
He noted that if they still had their merchandise, they would have settled in other places and resume work.
According to the former management of the market, there were at least 10,000 traders plying their trade in Park Yard.
After the eviction, Mr Kiggundu offered 900 working spaces on his shopping mall along Nakivubo Road to some traders and he also paid for 600 working spaces in Usafi.
However, majority of traders remained stranded and even some of those who had been accommodated by Mr Kiggundu, rejected the offer on grounds that the place has a low customer turn up.
The former Park Yard security officer, Mr Godfrey Kasita, accused government of turning a deaf ear to their plight yet it had promised to relocate them and build for them a market.
“We have sued the four parties for being irresponsible. We accuse KCCA and Nakivubo board of failing to defend us yet we had a binding contract with them and we used to remit some money to them. Ham demolished our market before the deadline from the Minister expired while the Attoney General issued on behalf of government as it failed to build for us a market,” he said.
When contacted about the matter, Mr Kiggundu’s manager, Mr Abdul Musoke denied receiving any summons. He maintained that the exercise was carried out in line with the law.
“As far as I am aware, the exercise was done legally and the construction has already commenced. I think that is a group of traders who are not on the list because we are in touch with all traders on the official list,” he said.
The Undersecretary in the Ministry of Kampala, Mr Samuel Baker Emiku, noted that the people complaining are not traders but middlemen who used to connect customers to traders.
“We haven’t received any summons to that effect. Besides, majority of these traders have settled in other working areas like Wandegeya, Usafi and other malls in the city. We have compiled a full list of all evicted traders as demanded by the speaker and we are yet to submit it so that we could be guided on what to do,” he said.