It is a moody Monday morning at the Kisekka market in the Central Business District of Kampala as vendors convene to officiate and erect the Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu presidential banner.
The move comes days after the ruling NRM party claimed that they had successfully tamed the Kisekka market vendors and compelled them to pay allegiance to president Museveni following the defection of two mechanics. However, today the vendors have angrily denied crossing over to the NRM as alleged by some regime perpetrators. Two yet to be named youths who announced their defection have been ‘baptized’ in cold water amid a heated moment and asked to denounced their move. Our reporter encountered the vendors leading a pro-Bobi Wine procession singing songs and heaping praises at Museveni’s youthful challenger.
“We do not support NRM. We have no reason to. Who would support a government that has impoverished the people,” asked a motor vehicle mechanic who identified himself as Kivumbi wa Bobi. “Our market is not yet complete. We have waited for several years and we don’t even have hopes of going back to our premises and you tell us to support Museveni. Are we insane?,” he adds.
Kisekka market has since time been one of the strongholds of the opposition forces. In the previous election, president Museveni only garnered just one vote and the said voter was successfully identified and evacuated from the market. Overtime, the market which is largely dominated by former army veterans has been a centre of coordination of downtown protests. The government however came up with a mega solution to this fracas by establishing a fully fledged military barracks just adjacent to the market. The market also faced a decongestion ploy in the name of a demolition that was to pave way for the refurbishment and face lift of the dilapidated market structures. To date, the market remains incomplete even after years of construction. Several vendors have since relocated to neighbouring buildings to start afresh with no hopes of returning to their original market.