Traders warned against paying rent to Islamic Council  

Traders warned against paying rent to Islamic Council  

Traders operating in Konyo Konyo’s contested northern market area will risk paying double ground rent should they continue to cooperate with the Islamic Council, the Juba City Council Chamber of Commerce warned.

The Chairperson of the Juba City Council Chamber of Commerce, Stephen Wani, ordered all shop owners within Konyo-Konyo’s northern market to cease paying rent to the Islamic Council with immediate effect.

“We request the traders in Konyo Konyo north market to cooperate with the government of the city council but not the Islamic Council because up to now there is no legal proof that the northern part of Konyo Konyo market belongs to Islamic Council,” said Wani.

The dispute between the city council and the Islamic body has dragged since last year, with incidents of confrontation being recorded in parallel to the cases in court.

Despite Mayor Michael Ladu Alla-Jabu’s earlier local order No11/2022 banning Islamic Council from collecting rental fees from traders, the double ground rent continues.

On September 21, 2022, the court nullified the criminal court case instituted by the local government against the Islamic Council but ordered either of the parties to pursue the case in the civil court instead.

“We recognise the presence of local government in presence of City Council authority that they will be the one in charge of administering the land and take full control of the land; be the one to collect taxes or any revenue or any fee from Konyo Konyo north market but not Islamic Council,” Wani added.

Islamic Council was yet to respond to comment on the matter.

However, last month, the Central Equatoria State Chamber of Commerce accused the Islamic Council of harassment and intimidation of traders in the contested market area through security organs.

“We need the harassment, intimidation to stop because Islamic council normally deploys security organs that normally harass traders,” said Robert Pitia, State Chairperson of Commerce in August.

He added, “We know there are mandated institutions which are collecting money, and these institutions being given power by the parliament to collect the money [are unlawful]. We have the revenue authority and we have state revenue, county government, and city council.”