Nakasero Vendors Demand Immediate Hand Over of Lease Offer

1764 Views Kampala, Uganda
Sitting tenants in Nakasero Market are demanding the handover of a 30 percent lease offer promised to them by Kampala City Council before they can vacate the market. The demand comes less than 20 days before all market vendors, save for those with tenancy agreements with KCC dating back to 1927, are evicted from the market. Their eviction is intended to pave way for the construction of a large shopping center at Nakasero Market. The shopping center will be constructed by Sheila Investments, which is owned by city tycoon Hassan Basajabalaba. KCC has leased 70 percent of the market to Basajabalaba and sub-leased the remaining 30 percent to the sitting tenants. The lease guarantees Basajabalaba majority ownership of Nakasero market for 79 years. The market vendors, through their organization, the Nakasero Market Sitting Tenants Association, want their sub-lease upgraded to a full lease offer. The chairperson of the association, Faridah Kimuli, says the tenants' demands were represented to KCC last month, but have not yet elicited a response. Kimuli says none of the 470 sitting tenants at the market will leave until they receive a full lease offer and a land title for their 30 percent share of the market. The organizing secretary of the Nakasero Market Sitting Tenants Association, Yunus Busulwa says the promise of the 30 percent sub-lease has not yet been confirmed by KCC. He says the vendors cannot leave without any formal communication or documentation on the deal. //Cue in: iWe are bit recognizing #i Cue out: i# that lease offer.i// The director of Sheila Investments, Herbert Bashasha, says his company is prepared to vet those vendors who will be considered in the redevelopment process. He however says it cannot start to do so without proper notification from KCC. //Cue in: iWe haven't received #i Cue out: i# KCC and Sheila Investments.i// Nakasero Market is the oldest open fresh produce market in Kampala, dating back to the early 1920s. It initially opened to serve the small European and Asian community that settled in Uganda before independence and has grown to become one of the major fixtures of Kampala city.