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Vendors counting losses after fire razes Mbalwa Market in Wakiso

Residents of Mbalwa Trading Centre gathered at the remains of the makeshift structures destroyed by the Thursday early morning fire at Mbalwa Market in Namugongo, Wakiso DIstrict (Photo/Handout)

Wakiso, (UG):- Small scale business operators at Mbalwa Trading Centre in Namungongo Division, Kira Municipality in Wakiso District Thursday woke up in shock and tears after fire razed the wooden makeshift structures they were operating in, destroying all their properties and stock worth millions of shillings.

According to Mr Tayebwa Poisiano, an eyewitness who was among the first people to reach the scene, “The fire started from the transformer which is next to the structures”.

Tayebwa who is an Agent of Jersey Milk and also doubles as a boda boda rider added, “It was about 3:00 am when I approached the Centre after dropping off a client after the Real Madrid and Manchester City football game at Agenda, that I got the transformer on fire as well as the wooden structures”.

Tayebwa, who is familiar with residents of the area managed to mobilize other people to come to the scene in a bid to stop the fire from spreading to the neighbouring permanent structures appreciated the Commissioner of Police, Afanda Daaki Apollo, who he says responded to his call immediately and came to the scene.

“Afande Daaki coordinated the deployment of a fire brigade which put out the fire and the UMEME which disconnected power from the transformer,” he said.

Tayebwa added that “without the timely response the damage would have been more because the affected area alone was a business hub for over 60 people including owners and workers”.

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The area in particular was hosting, charcoal sellers, chapati makers, and food vendors and at the back, men were using it as a leisure park in their free time. Of course, the impact of the fire did not spare the service consumers, especially the boda bodas and casual labourers who depended on the cheap food served.

However, in another theory of events, some of the people our reporter interacted with revealed that the fire might have been malice to chase away the traders because they had severally been warned to leave the area because of the transformer.

Another witness who preferred anonymity to this story said; “Thank God the were no deaths because the kiosks doubled as makeshift accommodation for some of the traders”.

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UMEME was able to reach out to the scene by Thursday afternoon to rectify the damaged transformer.

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