By Matthew Okello
Fire has gutted Osuna Market found in Tororo Municipality along Mbale Road leaving many vendors counting losses.
The fire that saw many shops and eating joints gutted on the night of Tuesday, 8th February 2022 is believed to have started from a charcoal stove. The heat from the charcoal stove then lit a plywood which was acting as a wall between the kitchen and the eating place.
The fire immediately connected to the neighboring lockups leaving items of yet to estimated amount razed to ashes. The items include laptops, clothes, shoes, cooking utensils, amongst many types of merchandise.
Emmanuel Ogolla, one of those affected by the fire says he completed S.4 in Global High school last year and had to process a loan to start a business that would help him go to vocational institute to further his education but he is now shocked that a business where he had banked all his hopes has been razed down by fire.
Ogolla lost 2 laptops, clothes, shoes equating to over shilling 3 million. He now wants government to come and bail them out through the microfinance support center.
Christine Aketch, another affected vendor, says she lost over 3 machines for sewing clothes and her new stock of over 2 million she brought from Kampala the previous day.
John Ochieng, another affected vendor accused the municipal council authorities for masterminding the fire arguing the authority has been stopping operations at the market.
Ahmed Waiswa, the councilor representing the PWDs at the Eastern division says majority of the people whose items got burnt in are those who were denied locks ups at the new market because they did not have money to bribe the allocation committee yet they have been operating in the former market since 1970s.
Meanwhile locals also used the fire as a looting opportunity as more items have been looted than those burnt by fire.
Irene Namukose owning a wholesale shop at the market found her shop of over 8 million empty yet it was not touched by fire.
The Tororo municipality town clerk, Paul Omoko says this fire will act as an eye opener to the vendors who have been defiant to their advice of relocating to the former market where most of them have been allocated space.
He also noted that they are going to assess the situation and compile a report that will be submitted to the prime minister’s office.
The Tororo deputy RDC, Were Yahaya says they are going to negotiate with the banks to arrive at a win- win situation where the loans’ payment time will be rescheduled.
Osuna market developed in Tororo town during the times when the current Tororo central market was being constructed where vendors who were operating in the then old market were allowed to operate in the land owned by Osuna Otwani as a relocation plan.