At least 2,000 Ugandans operating in the second biggest market commonly known as Owino II in the South Sudan’s capital Juba are facing eviction after one of the landlords cancelled a 14-year lease and took over management.
The Ugandan traders told Daily Monitor that they signed a lease agreement with some South Sudanese landlords led by Sultan Ladu for a 14-year lease at Gumbo in Juba but have now turned around after business in the market picked up.
Mr Iddi Mutebi, the chairperson of the Ugandan traders in Owino II, said they are worried their members are going to lose property and money because of the illegal take over.
“Last Friday, they closed our office and took over management. On Monday, we petitioned the South Sudanese Attorney General and halted the entire process. We are worried that any time they are going to come back,” Mr Mutebi said yesterday.
In 2013, at least 2,000 Ugandan traders contributed funds and acquired land on which they built shops and stalls in the new market after they secured a 14-year tenancy.
Ugandan traders said a group of South Sudanese operating under a company called Kadala want to even own the stalls built by Ugandans.
“They are telling us to leave the stalls and shops we built. They are giving them to their fellow South Sudanese,” a Ugandan trader said.
The traders said they have contacted the Uganda embassy in South Sudan to help them retain their market, but they have not been helped.
Mr Julius Malinga, an official at the Uganda embassy in South Sudan, said traders’ livelihood in the market is under threat because of a rivalry between Ugandan directors, who manage the market.