Moroto municipal officials have postponed the date for receiving the newly built market because of unexplained cracks, especially on the second floor.
The government redeveloped Moroto Central Market under the Markets and Agriculture Trade Improvement program (MATIP) with co-funding from the Arab Bank of Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) at Shs 25 billion.
Government handed over the construction works to Ambitious Construction Company Limited in 2018 which was expected to complete the project in 2020. However, the work dragged on until 2021. On Friday, a team of Moroto municipal officials took the state minister for Local Government, Victoria Rusoke Busingye to inspect the market before they could receive it from the contractor.
However, the team was surprised to discover several cracks. Ismail Mohamed, the mayor of Moroto Municipality questioned why the contractor had not rectified the cracks and instead covered them with timber.
“This is unfortunate, these cracks show poor workmanship, and we blame the ministry of Local Government, which has been supervising and they never advised the contractor over these cracks,” he said.
Mohamed noted that they would only receive the market when the contractor rectifies anomalies.
“During our site visit, we told the contractor to put pavers around the parking yard, which they have not done. We told them to separate the stores for tomatoes dealers, which they have not done even the water tank in the market is being affected by our roads and we told them to change but they have not done,” Mohamed said.
Betty Nakiru, one of the municipal councillors, said receiving the market from the contractor with all the defects is like digging a grave for the people of Moroto.
“We don’t want to experience a scenario like in other places where buildings have buried people. Work on this, if not we will not receive the market,” she said.
Moses Korobe, a local trader, said that they have never entered the new market since the construction started. He, however, said that they have been hearing people talking about the cracks inside the market. Minister Rusoke refused to speak to the media and warned journalists not to produce any story related to the discovery of cracks in the market.
“Please media don’t produce any story until we call you and give you a briefing. We are not here to make comments but to inspect the building,” she said. Officials from Ambitious Construction Company limited also declined to speak to journalists.