Lord Mayor in crisis meeting as Park Yard market is demolished
The Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago has condemned the ongoing demolition of stalls at Park Yard market in downtown Kampala, describing it as a ploy by the government to grab land. “We are doing our best to challenge the directive and I have called for a council meeting at 10am (on Monday) to review that decision and take drastic measures against the Kampala Minister (Beti Kamya],” he says. Ms Kamya in a February 7, 2017 directive gave traders at the Park Yard market thirty days to vacate, which should lapse in a week. The minister says the land in contention belongs to the Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium which, she says, agrees to give it up for redevelopment.
However, police moved in on Monday morning to seal off the market ten days before the deadline. Lukwago has also questioned the motive behind the many redevelopments in the city. “This is just a matter of land grabbing, just like the commission of inquiry that has been set up to probe land matters in Uganda, Museveni and his government are all out to grab land,” the Lord Mayor added. Stranded Park Yard market traders are crestfallen following demolition of their stalls that began early on Monday morning.
Many sprinted out of bed as early as 2am to salvage their merchandise after receiving phone calls from colleagues informing them of the impending demolition exercise, which started two hours later.
They braved the heavy downpour in attempts to save whatever they could from their stalls, which are now sitting as a pile of rubble. Mr Patrick Balibuuza, one of the affected traders, had no kind words for the government and in particular President Museveni. “Our children are going to suffer because of your actions but karma is real. Mr President, your children will also suffer one day,” he said. Some outlaws took advantage of the confusion and desperation at the market to steal merchandise.