Saturday, July 30, 2011
OWINO IS SET A BLAZE ON THE EVE OF THE 18th ANNIVERSARY OF THE CORONATION OF KING MUTEBI
It is news, but not a surprise that on the eve of the 18th Anniversary of the Coronation of His Highness King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi, Owino gets gutted by fire. It is most likely that the burning was organized by some party. The question is why burn the market? Possible answers include that the market has people wrangling may be some of them could resort to burning the market as a strategy. The second possibility is that in the business we see today, many people are using borrowed funds from banks and some of them may be defaulters. These can easily sabotage the business of others so that the fire is used as a cover up for their failure to pay. There is also the possibility that some circles are not happy with the fame and popularity enjoyed by the Kabaka of Buganda and could use the fire to punish the people in the market many of whom cherish the Kabaka.
It is only prayers that the people who have lost property recover. There is nothing to do because this is not the first fire.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
Firefighters battling with the flames up to morning.
OWINO park-yard market for the second time in a period of about two years was last night razed down a monstrous fire.
The blaze, whose cause has not yet established, broke out at about 1am on Sunday morning. The park yard is adjacent to St. Balikuddembe (Owino) market, the city’s biggest market.
Hundreds of traders whose efforts to save there merchandise were futile, have lost their merchandise worth billions of shillings in the fire. By 10am, police firefighting canons could still be seen on site.
Police has also heavily deployed at the premises, to keep law and order, and stop thugs looting the little merchandise which was saved.
The market mainly sells second-hand items, like textiles, shoes, bags, electronics, and tarpaulins. The yard was originally used as a parking area for Nakivubo Stadium.
OWINO TRADERS LOSE BILLIONS IN MARKET FIRE
Kampala downtown Nakivubo park-yard market in flames on Sunday night. Photo by Stephen Otage
By Stephen Otage
Posted Sunday, July 31 2011 at 10:14
Property worth billions of shillings is estimated to have been lost when the Kampala downtown Nakivubo park-yard market, part of the popular Owino market, also known as St Balikudembe Market, went up in flames on Sunday night.
This is the second time that the market with an estimated 25,000 traders, largely women, is being ravaged by fire in two years. The cause of the fire is not yet known. But the Division Police Commander Old Kampala Siraj Bakareke who rushed to the scene moments after the fire started, said the fire started from a stall near the gate to the market on Swaminarayan Road adjacent to the New Park and quickly spread to the rest of the market.
“We are investigating the cause of the fire. It started between midnight and 1.00pm but climaxed between 1:30am-2:00am,” he said in an interview. No injuries were reported save for traders who fainted upon seeing the ashes that had been their merchandise. It is understood that most of the traders are repaying loans they had got from banks to recapitalize their businesses following an earlier fire that gutted the market in February 2009.
Without making any specific reference, the traders in groups of three to five, kept on lamenting and cursing whoever could have been behind the fire. “This is an indirect way of telling us to go back to village. I think even those who went back to the village after the first fire are now better off than us. Now even the transport to take someone to the village has been destroyed here (in the fire),” said Rajab Nsubuga, who had three stalls of secondhand shoes razed.
“It is true that God cares about us all the time, but this time I think He did not. I do not know what type of death to recommend for whoever did this. I cannot imagine what that person is feeling at home right now,” lamented Faridah Nassolo, a food vendor who could not locate in the chaos her workstation.
All the merchandise in the market was destroyed save for probably less than hundreds of traders’ property which was at the entrances to the market. All the stalls and stores were reduced to ashes making this probably the biggest fire the country has ever suffered.