HomeSocialMbarara City Traders' Association Operations Suspended Over Extortion

Mbarara City Traders’ Association Operations Suspended Over Extortion

Joshua Nahamya

Office of the resident city commissioner Mbarara headed by Let Col James Mwesigye has seized the operations of the Mbarara City Traders Association (MBACITA) over extortion and office management.

“As an office of the RCC Mbarara we got information that the chairman sidelined his entire executive so we swung into action and halted the operations of MBACITA leadership to understand what is going on”

According to Mwesigye, a group of about 16 youths petitioned his office on Friday about how the MBACITA chairman fleeced them Shs 300,000 each with plans to take them to Taiwan for benchmarking.

“Due to public outcry each person was charged 300,000 shillings and of course about a group of 35 people was selected to go to Taiwan to benchmark and they were supposed to go in February 2023 but up to now they haven’t got any feedback regarding to the tour”

The president’s representative summoned the chairman and his executive today Monday to explain about the allegations but chairman Ssezi Mwijuka Simon failed to account for the missing 4.8 mln.

Lt. Col James Mwesigye warns to crack down MBACITA operations if the leadership does not sort out leaderhsip squabbles. Joshua Nahamya(1)

Mwesigye confirmed that “we have held a key stakeholders meeting today to have the way forward but as of now all MBACITA operations are halted and nobody should pay money in regard to any of its activities”.

The umbrella interim chairman was also grilled as to why he solicited funds worth 4.5 mln from fresh fish vendors operating from the Mbarara central market.

“The same chairman went to Mbarara central market and collected an amount to 3.5 mln from the fresh fish vendors as part of rent fees to the council which contravenes with the leadership of central market and as security we had to swing into action to get the truth of the matter” Mwesigye emphasized

Musa Barugahare, the spokesperson of MBACITA accused Mwijuka of usurping all their powers and running the associations as his organisation.

He added that since September 2022, the committee has never held any meeting but the accused chairman has been implementing the annual association activities alone while fleecing money from donors and well-wishers as well.

Barugahare further echoed that traders should no longer entrust Mwijuka with any leadership position of MBACITA thus appealing to them to elect competent leaders who can move the association forward.

“As MBACITA executives, we appeal to the traders to hold a meeting and elect competent leaders into power for the smooth running of the association. The interim chairman is arrogant and he is a dictator and has no leadership qualities” he said

Emmanuel Muhumuza, chairman of Mbarara Central Market Association encouraged his fellow vendors especially fresh fish mongers to always trust the leadership in power rather than seeking help from intruders.

“This shows that failure to work with your leaders can at one time cost you much. The fish vendors underrated our market powers and entrusted the MBACITA chairman not knowing that he was fleecing them” he said adding,” I appeal to everybody to stick to the market umbrella because we were not elected by mistake.

It is from this background that the RCC Mwesigye asked the executive to call a general meeting on 12th October 2023 to elect the new leadership into power, warning the interim chairman not to stand.

When asked Mwijuka answered that is how associations perform especially when they are beginning. Everything is voluntary and anyone in office can perform all the duties until we establish that the executive can start getting some pay”.

Regarding a trip to Taiwan, Mwijuka said “Taiwan trip was an opportunity we got in June 2022, but when it collapsed, we refunded all the money. If there is any money remaining it means either there is an understanding with us or that person contributed the money to MBACITA”.

On allegations of withholding fresh fish mongers operating from Mbarara central market, Mwijuka said it was a friendly arrangement and whoever is complaining must be a vendor but not a whistleblowers.

“Fish vendors have been complaining since last year in September that the rent fees imposed by the city council are high and going forward voluntarily market vendors collected 3.4 mln that is with MBACITA office. If the fish vendors insist that they can only afford 50,000, I will remain with money until when they ask for their money”

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