Abaita Ababiri on the rise to urban development

By Jamirat Nandawula and Harriet Asingura

Found in Katabi Town council, Wakiso district on the outskirts of Busiro south lies Abaita Ababiri, a buzzing trading centre that borders the Entebbe peninsular has seen a steady growth in development overtime to become one of the most sought after business abodes along the kampala Entebbe expressway.

Abaita  Ababiri which is only a 10 minutes drive to Entebbe International Airport has in the past six years seen a rise of commercial storeyed buildings since the establishment  of the fourlane expressway that was recently completed.

While speaking to Entebbe Post, Mr Pius Bbaale who has been a resident of Abaita Ababiri for more than 51 years says Abaita Ababiri which loosely translates to “They move together” derived it’s name from two men who were best friends Salongo Erisa kintu and Yoram Kiwanuka who lived and started shops there in the earlier colonial times.

“The centre was started in 1944 by two men known as Yoram Kiwanuka and Salongo Erisa Kintu who were working for some Indian’s in a metal works factory. After the second world war the two friends decided to start up their own business of selling eggs in the area” he said.

Bbaale narrates that the two men kintu and Yoram who supplied eggs to Italian ex servicemen till 1969 when their business got a boost used to always move together and became popular with the villages who named their shops ‘Ewa Abaita Ababiri’ that would much later develop into a trading centre.

Sadly, Yoram one of the two friends who started Abaita Ababiri trading centre passed on 12 years ago, leaving fond memories for the residents.

Bbaale adds that Abaita Ababiri has developed from a centre with grass thatched houses in colonial times into a modern centre with hotels, arcades, residential plazas, and medical facilities among other businesses.

Ms Bridget Aine Mbabazi a receptionist at AA plaza airport and apartment hotel in Abaita Ababiri said the facility that operates 24 hours daily being near the highway and airport enables it receive many clients who are on the move in their apartments.

Mr Joseph Sserwadda a businessman dealing in furniture and interior items says the centre being near the airport and various institutions allows the business community to earn money from travelers and settlers.

“I started my business in Abaita  Ababiri 5 years ago, since we have Entebbe International Airport and Nkumba University near us, we receive many clients looking for various items, like those from the airport buy items from us such us like suitcases when they are due to travel” he said.

Traders flock Abaita Ababiri walkways along Entebbe Expressway every Friday for the open market. Photos by ADB

Sserwadda reveals that the weekly Friday open market has allowed small business owners like local restaurants to earn profits from the large number of people who trade on the day.

Hajjara, a waitress in one of the restaurants says they experience an influx in clients on the market day.

 “Every Friday we receive many customers due to the market vendors who buy food from us when they are trading and customers who visit the market to buy items” she said.

Shop owners have however, consistently raised complaints to area leaders about the traders who obstruct their potential customers from viewing their items on display in the shops and at times fail to access the shops with vendor’s items setup on the walkways in what they describe as a disorganized market.

The mayor of katabi town council Ronald Kalema Basamulekere highlighted to us how Abaita Ababiri is seemingly the best trading centre in katabi town council.

“The government constructed the Abaita Ababiri market in 2011 which has enabled many businesses to operate in Abaita although it has got some challenges, vendors have no specific place to carry out their businesses and this obstructs traders in big buildings in terms of businesses” he says.

Kalema reveals that the Town council is looking for land in Kitala to construct a big market for the vendors to deal with the challenge of traders who obstruct businesses in the buildings.

However like all developing trading centre’s that attract various kinds of trades, prostitution is not an exemption in Abaita Ababiri which crawls with sex workers in the night trading their bodies to earn a living.

Mr Moses Sebuliba a friend to one of the sex workers reveals that during the lockdown the sex workers have not been earning money since most of their would be clients are broke.

“During this period of covid 19 sex workers have not been earning well which has forced some of them to engage in other businesses  like selling tomatoes, chips, being waitresses in restaurants and many others” he says.

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