Councilors Clash during Council Meeting over Poor Management of Kijura Market
Masindi municipality’s central division councilors had disagreements between themselves over mismanagement of Kijura market located one kilometer along Masindi-Butiaba road, an issue they attributed to political interference.
It all started when the council speaker, Specioza Kyakyo called for reaction of councilors over matters arising from previous minutes that were read and adopted with some amendments. Isaac Bongmin, a Councilor representing Kijura Central and North to the central division quoted Min.22/2016-2017 bullet one on the issue of low revenue collection more especially at Kijura market was blamed on poor politics by some councilors.
Bongmin said that, much as revenue collection at Kijura market was low, market venders have already registered a cooperative society and they are ready to take over the management of the market from a caretaker identified as Otucu Asiimwe by 1st May 2017 using monay paid as membership fees and saving that they have collected.
He reported to council that venders had already been trained by the district commercial officer and they are willing to take over the market as long as division council puts marrum, fix gates and deploy a second security guard at Kijuura market.
Fredrick Bagonza Mandela, the LC III chairperson Central Division confirmed that there is politicking over the issue of Kijura market and was perplexed with venders who went to the office of Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Masindi, Godfrey Nyakahuma yet the issue could be handled by town agents, himself and the senior assistant town clerk.
The LCIII boss added that: “The market is located in Katama cell and you (Bongmin) represent Kijura. How do you get involeved in the affairs of a constuency that you do not represent?”
Moses Wandera Amanya, a Councilor representing Kihande was surprised to learn that, the market had been allocated to Otucu Asiimwe as a caretaker from one Saidi who was previously caretaking the same market without the knowledge of the council, an issue that has resulted into collusion with stakeholders.
Innocent Busiinge, the division secretary for finance who is also a Councilor for Kijura North wondered how Bongmin woke up to speak before the council issues pertaining venders of Kijura market as if he was their spokesperson. “I would like to warn members in this august house against politicizing revenue sources because it affects revenue collection yet you also need money for your allowances”, he examined.
In his response, Bongomin replied that, he does not cross boundaries for his constituency but local government Act mandates him to deliberate for the whole division and as a leader, he was concerned with poor management of Kijura market since some of his voters operate from there.
“Venders rush to RDC’s office because of cumulative decays that the division has failed to handle”, he expressed. However; Mandela insisted that, Kijura market falls under the mandate of central division but not municipal or district councils and RDC’s office and even if venders took over its management, they will still come back to them for business before advising Bongomin to guide his electorates to follow the right procedures while handling their grievances.
“Masindi Taxi Park is also decaying due to political interference and as result revenue collection is dwindling and the tenderer is planning to abandon it at the end of the month”, he noted. Currently, Masindi Taxi Park is being managed by Masindi Taxi drivers and operators SAACO.
Goodman B. Faruk, the councilor representing Civic Central Ward believes that, the interest of Central Division council would be revenue collection but not who is managing Kijura market adding that: “It seems there is element of corruption in this matter and how interested parties are benefiting from the market”.
When council speaker, Kyakyo gave the senior assistant town clerk, Ishabella Ndahura said that: “On 13th March 2017, I was called to RDC’s office for a meeting because venders wanted to demonstrate but a resolution was reached with the RDC that Saidi should leave the market”.
She reported that, even Otucu Asiimwe who was fronted by the venders to manage the market, he has failed to pay and the venders themselves said they did not have money to take over the market as per presidential directive yet Saidi used to pay at the beginning of every month”.
Innocent Busiinge, the secretary for finance suggested that, finance committee goes to Kijura market to make assessment and thereafter make a report that will be presented to next council meeting and his idea was unanimously accepted.