By Joshua Niyonshima
A section of Kisoro residents have taken to different social media platforms to slam a decision taken by Kisoro Municipal Councilors to convert Kisoro Mayor’s Gardens into a modern market.
Under the new arrangement, Mayor’s gardens will change its name to Gatimba Market ahead of a 25 billion shillings modern market construction under, the Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Programme (MATIP)
During the council meeting yesterday, Kisoro Municipal Mayor Richard Ndyana said under the MATIP project, Kisoro Municipality was asked to find suitable land to construct a modern market.
Ndyana explained that Old Market had been identified back in 2016 but it was not suitable thereafter which they decided to consider Gatimba opposite Posta Uganda offices but it was also too small.
He noted that if Kisoro is to benefit from the mega project, Mayor’s Garden is the most appropriate land to be used.
The councilor representing People with disabilities in the Municipal Council Laurent Nkundizana moved a motion to allow Mayor’s Garden changed into a market and Gatimba converted into a green belt.
Angelina Nyirabagenzi seconded the motion.
The motion was opposed by Deputy Speaker Hashakimana Joachim and Ntiba Ronald of Gasiza ward who questioned the speed at which the issue was being handled.
The councilors requested for more time to make further consultations but their request was overruled by Speaker Geoffrey Nkurunziza.
Kisoro Municipal Speaker Geoffrey Nkurunziza passed a resolution allowing the construction of MATIP Market in the Mayor’s garden and turning Gatimba Market into a green belt.
What is MATIP?
The Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Project (MATIP) aims to boost markets in 21 municipalities and urban communities in Uganda.
This intervention is based on the findings of a feasibility study commissioned by the Government of Uganda, in March 2008, to review and assess local markets’ infrastructure and functional status across the country.
The study concluded that markets throughout Uganda are poorly managed, in a state of disrepair and overcrowded with merchants, which far outnumber their capacity.
On the basis of this observation and following a request from the Government of Uganda, the African Development Bank approved a loan of UA 108 million in 2009 to finance the project’s first phase (MATIP-I). MATIP-I enabled the Government to rebuild seven major modern markets in Kampala, Jinja, Mbale, Gulu, Lira, Hoima, and Fort Portal. MATIP-II is therefore an extension of MATIP-I and involves the reconstruction of 11 additional markets.
This second phase focuses on improving marketplace infrastructure, adding value and facilitating trade in nine municipalities and two urban communities located in the four regions of the country, namely Entebbe (Kitoro), Masaka, Mbarara, Arua, Moroto (Lopedru), Soroti and Tororo on the one hand, and Kasese, Busia, Kitgum and Lugazi, on the other hand.
MATIP II will be executed over five years (2015-2020) at an estimated cost of USD 93.73 million.
Nature to take a Hit as Leaders turn blind eye
The Kisoro district Chairperson Abel Bizimana who was also in attendance advised the councilors to pass the resolution as quickly as possible. He further urged them to plant trees and grass in Gatimba so as to regain public trust as soon as possible.
Kisoro Municipal Town Clerk Sharif Nakintu called upon the Politicians to respect the technical staff who are tasked with designing a good and modern market.
Relatedly, upon learning of the Council resolution, Kisoro community took to Social media; Whatsup and Twitter to question the decision by leaders to covert the only green belt into a market.
Laban Niyongabo, a birder and tour guide said Mayor’s Garden is home to the grey Heron and yellow billed stork which are endemic.
“We are striving hard to have a tourism city status and then our leaders go and make such a weird decision. Think of how of how the Mayor’s Gardens has been serving as an oxygen purifier and now it is going to be a source of dirt and accidents, Niyongabo said.
On Twitter, Bernard Mbereyinka @MbereyinkaBern2 said Kisoro Municipality should opt out on their decision.
Using, #SaveKisoroMayorsGardens, People of Kisoro are demanding that the decision is reversed.