Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) officials have explained that some plots of land where Usafi market is situated belonged to a private developer, who is now reclaiming his land.
The Usafi market was bought by the government through KCCA in 2014 from Safinet (U) Ltd, a company owned by businessman Umar Ssekamatte at a cost of 39.4 billion Shillings. The cost later shot up to 43 billion Shillings after KCCA was subjected to a 3.6 billion Shillings fine for delayed payment.
But according to KCCA Acting Deputy Executive Director Sam Sserunkuma, at the time of its acquisition, the market encroached on three plots belonging to businessman John Bosco Muwonge. The plots comprised 0.25 hectares on plot 13-15 Katwe Road and 0.07 hectares on Plot 8A and 0.25 hectares on Plot 8B Luzige Road.
“Sometime in 2017, the owners of the said land, John Bosco Muwonge demanded that KCCA removes the said structures from his land to enable him to develop it,” Sserunkuma told councillors during a council meeting held today.
KCCA’s law enforcement officers last month conducted an operation and demolished part of the structure in Muwonge’s land. However, the demolition resulted into petitions from vendors and local councillors who said they had not been informed prior to the exercise.
Mutibwa Henry, the chairperson of Usafi Market in a letter dated April 25, to Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago asserts: “we are dissatisfied with the allegations that part of Usafi market is situated on former Kalitunsi (Muwonge’s) land yet Umar Ssekamatte procured the Usafi market land and put on permanent structures in 2013 when Kalitunsi market was nonexistent.”
Similarly, councillors inquired why KCCA had never revealed that part of the land where Usafi market sits belonged to another person.
But Sserunkuma insisted that the institution was aware before purchasing it. He adds that the initial owner of the Usafi market land had constructed part of the structures in Muwonge’s land and passed on the same to KCCA.
The council set up a committee chaired by the deputy lord mayor, Sarah Kanyike to probe the matter.