Owino Traders celebrate Victory over getting Owino Market Land Tittle back to KCCA

Tanbull256 investigates

(With some extracts from Mulengeranews.com)

As KCCA ED, Dorothy Kisaka never dragged her feet on the Presidential directives regarding State House’s desire to have City Hall repossess all city markets.

The Commissioner Land Registration in the Lands Ministry has finally succumbed to pressure from the President and issued a new land title for Owino Market. The new title is in the names of KCCA and replaces the one that originally belonged to a group of wealthy Kampala tycoons operating under a controversial company called and incorporated as SSLOA.

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They are led by Godfrey Nkaja Kayongo who famously led Owino market as vendors Chairman for more than 35 years until October 2018 when Gen Museveni wrote a letter demanding that KCCA repossess not just Owino but all public markets in Kampala. This meant that management and control of these markets by exploitative groups like SSLOA had to come to an end.

Recently there has been a fight with the likes of MP Yusuf Nsibambi and Abubaker Kawalya (former KCCA Speaker) curiously using media platforms like CBS radio to attack Kampala District Land Board Chairman Dr. David Balondemu on whose advice the President promptly acted by directing Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba to cause the revocation and cancelation of the lease title SSLOA had been relying on to claim ownership of the land on Owino, which is the largest market in East Africa, is sitting.

As Lord Mayor and head of the political wing at City Hall, Erias Lukwago contradicted the pro-SSLOA moves the then Ag KCCA ED Eng Andrew Kitaka had initiated.

Vowing not to go down without a fight, the Kayongo group tried to politically demonize the President with some SSLOA members threatening to join Bobi Wine‘s NUP party in order to avenge the alleged betrayal by the President whose reelection campaigns SSLOA bosses claim to have been funding since 1996.

When State House ignored their blackmail and President Museveni stuck to his guns, with majority of elected leaders concerned in Kampala siding with the President too, SSLOA bosses tried to refuse to hand over their disputed title for cancelation. They went as far as pondering running to court to challenge the cancelation and revocation of their land titles.

SSLOA, which previously relied on legal services of Musa Kabega & Co Advocates, ended up going to the Civil Division of High Court where they sought an injunction to restrain the registrar from demanding the surrender of the title for subsequent cancelation. They looked forward to a favorable ruling from Justice Musa Sekaana who some Owino market traders have since criticized for entertaining a matter that ordinarily belongs to the Land Division of the High Court.

The vendors are thankful for the clarity and deepened understanding David Balondemu’s intervention enabled the President to have regarding the correct position concerning Owino market land.

However, the SSLOA bosses were still overcome by bad luck because by the timer their preferred judge Musa Sekaana came up with a favorable ruling, as was always expected, injuncting the Commissioner Land Registration from taking any further steps relating to the Owino title, the same had already been replaced with a new title in the names of KCCA as was directed by the President.

Sekaana predictably issued the injunction and the SSLOA bosses this Friday afternoon blindly celebrated and called journalists to celebrate what they called temporary victory against the President only to be notified that the Commissioner Land Registration had already issued the new land title for Owino in the names of KCCA implying there was nothing to be injected anymore.

The latest developments, confirming SSLOA is now in the past tense on all matters relating to Owino market which had been theirs to milk for the last 40 years, have sparked spontaneous celebrations among Owino Market vendors whose interim leaders, led by Susan Kushaba, are now pleading with State House protocol officers to create time for the President to once again tour their market so that they get the opportunity to thank and celebrate with him their liberation from exploitative private developers like SSLOA back into the hands of KCCA which Kampala Minister Minsa Kabanda now says will be directly managing the market.

The vendors are more comfortable with KCCA because they don’t expect an entity led by their man Erias Lukwago to mistreat and exploit them through high daily levies and charges.

Besides the President, who has taken many years without ever visiting Owino Market, there are other key supporters who the vendors and their leaders are very thankful to for their relentless role to ensure the exploitative tycoons are kicked out of Owino. These include Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, Police Crime Intelligence Chief Col Christopher Ddamulira, Minister Parsis Namuganza, KDLB Chairman David Balondemu, KCCA ED Dorothy Kisaka, some of the Lord Councilors of the previous term (2016-2021), ex-Pallisa Woman MP Judith Amoit, ex-Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga and ironically Pastor Samuel Kakande.

Prophet Samuel Kakande prophesied the fall of SSLOA many years ago besides praying for those who were fighting for a fairer and more inclusive trade order in Owino market.

Those they are cursing for not doing enough to help them include ex-Presidential Affairs Committee Chairman Barnabas Tinkasimire, ex-KCCA Speaker Abubaker Kawalya, ex-KDLB Chairman Yusuf Nsibambi, ex-KCCA ED Andrew Kitaka, ex-RCC Hawa Ndege, ex-IGP Kale Kayihura and former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi.


Briefly the following is the role that each of these individual actors is reputed to have played. Kitaka, as Ag KCCA ED, had written his letter of no objection implying the Kayongos were now free to deal with the Owino Market land the way they wanted including mortgaging the title in the bank or even using it to solicit for an investor from Turkey or any other place.

The Kitaka letter, responding to a request SSLOA had written in 2011 only for then ED JS Musisi to ignore them, created a lot of anxiety and extreme fear of uncertainty among Owino market vendors. They ran to many people seeking help and protection against SSLOA. Namuganza is one of those they ran to and she was very helpful. Those days a blue-eyed girl to the President, Namuganza helped the aggrieved vendors get audience of the big man very quickly. On meeting him, Gen Museveni demanded that they petition him officially so that the SSLOA bosses don’t perceive him as merely interfering in their business without being prompted by anyone.

Ag Owino Market Chairperson Susan Kushaba is a true veteran of the anti-SSLOA struggles and carries scars to evidence the trauma and brutality she endured at the hands of SSLA’s bouncers {more crudely known as kanyamas).

When they submitted their petition, Gen Museveni demanded to know the opinion of the elected political leaders at City Hall. That’s how the views of Erias Lukwago, who the anti-SSLOA vendors had previously petitioned, became very important.

In his reply to the vendors’ petition, Erias Lukwago (public-spirited as always) made it clear the political wing he heads at City Hall wasn’t in agreement with Kitaka‘s letter permitting SSLOA to deal with the Owino Market land as they wished. In fact, Lukwago‘s well-stated position, which had been welcomed by majority vendors, complicated things for Speaker Abubaker Kawalya and some elected Lord Councilors at City Hall who were beginning to acquiesce with Kitaka‘s position. Sources say Gen Museveni was so angry with the Ag ED’s no objection favoring SSLOA to the extent that he determined to begin scouting around for someone else as opposed to making Kitaka substantive KCCA ED as some power brokers were suggesting.

On seeing the Lukwago letter, equally holding against the brutal SSLOA members, Gen Museveni became even more emboldened to intervene in the Owino land matters in a manner that was more pro-ordinary vendors than he initially intended. That’s how his famous 2018 letter kicking not just SSLOA but other private dealers out of all Kampala’s public markets came about. And it was in a bid to follow up on the stalled implementation of that 2018 directive that the latest Presidential intervention, directing cancelation of SSLOA, came into being.

Dorothy Kisaka, whose choice for next KCCA ED was considered after State House writing off Kitaka, has also been very helpful to the vendors regarding the President’s written directives against SSLOA. Unlike those she replaced, Kisaka characteristically hit the ground running each time she was required to implement any Presidential directive.

As Speaker of Parliament, Kadaga directed the relevant Committee to inquire into anti-SSLOA petitions.

A blue-eyed girl of both Janet and Yoweri Museveni, Kisaka insisted on acting firmly and very quickly to implement the President’s directives requiring KCCA to repossess management and control of all City markets that sit on public land. Unlike some of her predecessors, Kisaka wasn’t a fortune-hunter and therefore religiously implemented the President’s directives as quickly as she could. She also maintained her open door policy whereby she permitted her office to be accessed by all the different groups of Owino Market vendors’ factions unlike some of her predecessors who allowed themselves to be monopolized by the rich and powerful SSLOA members.

Closely, related is David Balondemu whose ascendancy to office as KDLB Chairman greatly emboldened both Kisaka and the hitherto voiceless poor Owino Market vendors who endured years of aggrievement as the wealthy SSLOA bosses monopolized access to the pre-Balondemu KDLB offices. Balondemu wasn’t only accessible but also helped the anti-SSLOA Owino Market vendors to make their case to Gen YK Museveni with unprecedented clarity.

This enhanced understanding of the situation, and the ease with which KDLB/KCCA could repossess the Owino Market land, further emboldened the President who even acknowledged Dr. Balondemu‘s role and influence in his latest written directive requiring Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba to quickly have the SSLOA land title canceled for fundamentally breaching the conditions of the lease that had initially been issued to them.

The Owino vendors are grateful to Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba for promptly implementing the President’s directive regarding the SSLOA title as opposed to sitting on it like some of her predecessors had done.

It was Balondemu who clarified to the President about the numerous breaches SSLOA had committed and how each of those breaches diminished their claim regarding the Owino Market land.

Col Christopher Ddamulira leveraged on his position in the Uganda Police Force top hierarchy to ensure all the necessary deployments of security to enforce all the President’s directives in Owino were always in place and the vendors’ leaders commend him over the fact that he never availed himself to be compromised by the wealthy SSLOA bosses and members.

The ex-Pallisa Woman MP Judith Amoit is appreciated for the firmness with which she stood during the 10th Parliament after then Speaker Rebecca Kadaga referred the matter to the Presidential Affairs Committee on which she was a member. Mulengera News investigations indicate that Amoit was one of the MPs who sympathized with the poor women from Owino who were being brutalized by SSLOA enforcement officers on a daily basis.

Kadaga is saluted for warmly receiving the anti-SSLOA petition which she assigned the relevant Committee of Parliament to inquire into even when the SSLOA tycoons were always willing to part with anything in return for protection from such a powerful and well-placed official. Whereas Kadaga availed herself and gave audience to the poor Owino Market vendors, who mostly were vulnerable women, ex-IGP KK and ex-Premier Amama Mbabazi only gave audience to SSLOA and always accepted their version as gospel truth without carrying out any verification. Kadaga was different the very reason why poor vendors are celebrating her besides Gen YK Museveni as they reflect on the difficult past they endured at the hands of the mighty SSLOA.

Pastor Samuel Kakande is being thanked for a number of reasons including the fact that many of poor women trading in Owino would attend his Church and got him to positively speak to their situation while assuring them how things would change some day. Kakande also thrice organized large crusades in the nearby Nakivubo stadium (before it became private property for Ham Kiggundu) where he would stand and prophesy or predict the impending collapse of the mighty in SSLOA.

One Sunday at his Church in Mulago, Nabbi Kakande prayed for scarred Susan Kushaba who was leading fellow poor and voiceless women in Owino to stand up to the impunity with which SSLOA members and kanyamas were conducting business in the market while brutalizing the poor. This was 2009-2010 and as he ended the prayer, he prophesied that a day was coming when everybody would turn against SSLOA and demand for their exit to pave way for a new trade order in Owino at a time Kushaba would be in charge as Owino market Chairperson.

This has since come to pass and Kushaba says that, as they celebrate Gen Museveni for the firmness with which he has stood for the poor in these markets, it’s important that they don’t lose focus on the Kakande prophesy of more than 10 years ago which has since come to pass.

The vendors are also eternally grateful to Judith Nabakooba for being the Lands Minister who relentlessly worked to deliver on the President’s directive requiring cancellation of the SSLOA land title without which Kayongo & Co don’t stand much chance to ever bounce back to once again brutalize poor market vendors

10 thoughts on “<em>Owino Traders celebrate Victory over getting Owino Market Land Tittle back to KCCA</em>

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