Millers in Kisenyi Kakajjo zone in Kampala Central Division are counting huge losses following the early morning fire that gutted over 50 milling machines, and maize and chicken feed stores among others. Jessica Namirimu a resident of Kakajjo zone, says that she woke up at around 5 am to escort her daughter to the taxi park where she boarded from Bombo for school.
She, however, says that upon her return, she found the business hub on fire. According to Namirimu, she ran and started removing the property from her house in vain. She says that the fire burnt down several makeshift stores. Abubaker Kakooza of Mulungi feeds says that he lost over 80 tons of silverfish valued at over Shillings 200 million in the fire.
A kilogram of silverfish costs Shillings 4000.
He notes that all his machinery including weighing scales and milling machines among others perished in the fire. Olivia Ndagire, who sells soya flour, says that she secured a loan of Shillings10 million from Equity Bank on Saturday last week and stocked her store. According to Ndagire, she is uncertain about how she will service the loan.
Francis Ssendege, a maize dealer says he offloaded 3 trucks of maize on Sunday and has lost over 45 million Shillings. “If the land load sold the land he should tell us and we leave other than burning our property all the time. I pay rent of 3 million Shillings and on time why the persistent fire outbreaks,” Ssendege asked.
Mahad Muwoola, the area LC II councilor, says that didn’t save anything since many of the traders were away when the fire started.
Muwoola like others suspects that the repeated fires are started deliberated by arsonists who want the land they operate from.
Sergeant Ali Walusimbi, a senior firefighter, says although Police were alerted in time, the police tenders could hardly get to the scene due to the narrow roads and congestion.
“These are structural fires; we don’t fight them by distance. We have to be close, the fire brigade tenders arrived on time but the vehicles couldn’t reach here due to lack of space. It’s a big problem for us in these fires,” he said.
Although he suspects that the fire could have started from an electric short circuit, Walunsimbi, says the traders are very careless in servicing their machines, saying this could also ignite a fire.
Pastor David Kiganda from Christianity Focus Center, says that the continuous fires in Kisenyi are going to bread insecurity. He says that several youths who had converted to Christianity have been working for different maize milling companies in Kisenyi and thereby reducing the burden of unemployment and crime in the area.
He has urged the government to look into the plight of the traders and support them to reestablish their businesses. In January 2022, the fire burnt over 45 maize mills in the same area leaving the traders crying foul. In June 2017, there was another fire outbreak in the same area.