City Abattoir traders have rejected plans by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to take over the management of the Old Port Bell road-based meat-processing facility, which employs up to 20,000 people.
Henry Banyenzaki, the junior minister for Economic Monitoring, then also acting minister for Kampala, recently instructed KCCA to manage the Kampala City abattoir on grounds that traders had failed to meet minimum safety standards.
But in a meeting on Friday, Abbey Mugumba, the chairman of the City Abattoir Traders Development Association (CATDA), accused Banyenzaki of being used by city tycoon Hassan Basajjabalaba to try and regain control of the abattoir. Some 500 animals are slaughtered at the abattoir daily.
Basajjabalaba Hides and Skins (BHS) controversially acquired a sub-lease to run the abattoir three years ago, but traders have consistently fought and forced him out after dragging the company to courts of law.
“We want to acquire lease and manage the abattoir ourselves; so, prepare your money for contributions,” Mugumba, waving a copy of a letter from Kampala Land Board (KLB), told hundreds of anxious traders who wanted an update on the reported KCCA takeover.
Mugumba presented the KLB letter (dated April 16, 2014 and addressed to chief executive officer of Buganda Land Board) as evidence that the land on which the abattoir sits belongs to the Kabaka, and not KCCA as earlier perceived.
Assuring traders that they could be evicted anyhow as sitting tenants, Mugumba disclosed that the CATDA executive recently met with Kiwalabye Male, the CEO of Buganda Land Board, who positively received the traders’ application to acquire a 49-year lease on the land housing the abattoir.
Contacted on Saturday, KCCA Spokesman Peter Kaujju confirmed that they, too, had received the aforesaid letter from the Buganda Land Board claiming ownership of City Abattoir land. He insisted that KCCA holds lease on the land, which they had rightly sub-leased to BHS, but added that a team of KCCA lawyers was investigating the matter.
Asked whether KCCA had, in the meantime, shelved Minister Banyenzaki’s directive to take over management of the abattoir, Kaujju said the takeover would go on as planned.