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600 market vendors in Gulu city face eviction

Gulu, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | More than 600 vendors in Cereleno market in Bardege-Layibi division in Gulu city are on the verge of eviction.

Last month, the authorities of Layibi division through Vincent Opio, the division’s senior assistant town clerk wrote a letter notifying the market leaders that the market has been illegally constructed along Olwoch Salvatore road which is in an industrial area.

In the letter addressed to Anthony Kilama, the market chairperson, Opio says that the market authorities contravened the Building Control Act 10 Section 34 which prohibits any person from carrying out a building operation unless he or she has a valid building permit issued by a building committee.

The same letter has blocked the market authorities and vendors from conducting any further construction in the area claiming that the establishment of the former structures was politically enforced.

Anthony Kilama, the Cereleno market chairperson confirmed receipt of the letter and directive but noted that they had earlier consulted the interim of Gulu city council who gave them the green light for the construction.

He noted that it is unfortunate that the vendors wasted a lot of money and resources to erect their structures just months after they were evicted from a privately owned piece of land last year.

The market currently has hundreds of makeshift structures, stalls and several semi-permanent buildings that were constructed by the individual vendors.

Sarah Aber, one of the vendors has expressed dismay at the Layibi division authorities and the land owners for duping them to construct on a place that has been gazetted for a market area.

Aber disclosed that she spent more than 200,000 Shillings to construct her stall and has not recovered the money due to low sales.

Florence Ajok, a lemon dealer is equally worried by the looming eviction, she says she will not only incur losses but will also have nowhere to relocate.

Edward Kiwanuka Guava, the Gulu city town clerk has however called for calm among the vendors noting that the matter will be handled when the new city leadership are sworn in.

Asked why the market was established, Kiwanuka said that the city council agreed to the construction since it was a matter of urgency because the vendors had also been evicted from a private land they had occupied for over twenty-five years and were left stranded.

Cereleno market was established in 1997, it is one of the biggest markets in Gulu city after Gulu main market.

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