MOROTO —Traders in Moroto Municipality have asked government to instigate an inquiry to establish how the recently constructed UGX25 billion market in Moroto has developed cracks months before it is handed over for occupancy.
Moroto market was developed under the markets and Agriculture trader improvement program (MATIP) with co-funding from the Arab Bank of Economic Development in Africa. Its construction started in 2018, under contract given to Ambitious construction company limited. The construction works were expected to be complete last year, however, works have dragged on and are expected to continue into next year.
Despite the delays, it was discovered last week that the building structure had developed wide cracks. This was during a site visit by State minister for Local Government Victoria Rusoke, accompanied by members of the Municipality business community and leaders. Following the discovery, the traders tasked government to give them assurance that the building would not collapse and bury people as has been the case with a number of buildings around the country.
Joseph Lokiru a trader called the building a death trap, while Grace Nakiru, another trader said the market is not worth the Shs25 billion that it is said to have cost. “How can a market whose construction has cost Shs25 billion develop major cracks even before it’s handed over for the public to use. She called on the Inspectorate of Governemnt to take interest in the market.
Another trader, Joseph Tikol informed PML Daily that traders were never allowed to visit the site since the construction commenced in 2018. “We traders attempted on several occasions to visit the site and inspect the progress of the construction but we were denied that opportunity under the guise of safety,” he said.
Moses Ojulong another trader said thourough investigations should be carried out, adding that the contractor was racing against time and so parts of the building never dried.
He compared the market to that of Soroti which was commissioned last year by President Yoweri Museveni. “Moroto market was the first market to be constructed before Soroti main market but go to Soroti Market and compare it with work done on Moroto Market,” he said.
PML Daily has also learnt that a section of the same building had earlier collapsed, injuring five workers when it was at the second floor.
Mr. Ismail Mohamed the mayor of Moroto Municipality agreed with the traders demand that investigations should be constituted.
He said he was not pleased by the work done in the market which is expected to house up to 4,000 traders.
“Infact all those cracks that we have discovered from the market are worrying us,” he said, blaming poor workmanship for the mishaps.
According to Mr. Mohamed, the market will only be commissioned if all the cracks are repaired and an explanation given for the cause of the cracks. He also noted that the CCTV cameras installed in the market failed to work as they were being tested during the minister’s tour last week.
Efforts to obtain a comment from a one Mr Patel, the managing director of Ambitious company were futile as he did not pick up our repeated calls.