By Andrew Cohen Amvesi
The Minister of Local Government, Raphael Magyezi has banned politics in markets across the country.
Speaking to local leaders and vendors in Arua City on Saturday, 4th November, 2023, Magyezi warned that he is ready to liaise with the Inspector General of Government (IGG) to deal with anybody who takes politics to the market.
“I’m glad to say that remove politics in the market. People in the market are looking for money. Don’t bring your NRM and FDC and NUP and whatever in the market. People go there to look for money, they are not looking for politics,” Magyezi said.
“So, I wouldn’t like to find posters of candidates hanging in the market, take them somewhere else because in the market we have only one political party which is money, we have one religion which is money and we have only one tribe which is money,” Magyezi added.
The Minister was in Arua to solve the impasse in Arua central market where vendors have been accusing politicians and technical officers of occupying stalls and lock-ups thus making many genuine vendors to miss out.
But an investigation report sanctioned by Magyezi last year which was read before the members who attended the meeting at Arua city hall exonerated most of the politicians and technocrats of the city from the allegation.
During the meeting, Magyezi emphasized that action will be taken against anybody who takes politics in the market.
“Really, I’m telling you politics in the market is illegal. Don’t go to hold a rally in the market. If you do it and they report you to the market’s committee, the committee can sanction you, if you continue, they can report you to council and council can take a decision on you and send it to the Minister. I will deal with the IGG and see what to do with you,” Magyezi warned.
Magyezi also explained the circumstances that delayed him from coming to solve the mess in Arua city concerning the main market.
“As far as I’m concerned, there was nothing really to rush me here. The whole problem was I didn’t have the law. So, as much as you wanted me to come back and we change the status quo, I needed the legal instrument. Just in brief, within the new law, we are not talking about tendering the market, the markets belong to the city council and the responsibility of the city council is to ensure trade order in the city,” Magyezi said.
He noted that the law also caters for the private markets which he says are more in Arua city than elsewhere.
Magyezi, however, cautioned people against operating private markets without the approval of the city council.
“The land may be yours; you may be agreeing with your vendors but we collect the garbage, we provide you security, we do the roads, you don’t do the roads. We are in charge of trade order, so anybody wanting to operate a market must get the approval of the council,” Magyezi said.
He further said the law prohibits street vending, adding that once they have agreed to relocate all vendors to the main market, there will be no provision for people to trade on the streets anymore.
Sam Wadri Nyakua, the Arua city Mayor welcomed the minister and said his coming will help to solve the challenges they have been grappling with when it comes to the management of markets in the city.
Nyakua suggested that upon successful relocation, an excess number of vendors who can’t fit in the main market can be taken to Ediofe, Awindiri and other markets to ensure that the city gets organized to realize the needed revenue to develop the area.