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Gulu city authorities, vendors disagree over reopening of Cereleno market

 

Cereleno market is at the center of controversy.

Gulu, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Pece-Laroo division authorities in Gulu city have okayed the reopening of Cereleno market amidst protests from city vendors.

Cereleno market situated along the Gulu-Kampala highway is one of Gulu’s largest markets with a population of over 3,000 vendors. However last year, it was closed down by the landowners following a directive by the court.

Since then, the vendors who were initially occupying it were evicted and forced to find spaces within the different gazetted markets within the city.

Last week, the landowners started erecting structures such as stalls and kiosks and consequently asked interested vendors to reoccupy it which finally led to the resumption of businesses.

This however didn’t go down well with the vendors within the different markets in Gulu City under their umbrella, Gulu City Market Vendors Association who petitioned the city authorities to block the reopening lest they take it to the street to show their grievances or even abandon paying revenues.

In a petition signed by the Gulu City Market Vendors Association chairperson Patrick Omaya, and his counterpart Vicky Emootai the General Secretary, the vendors tasked the Gulu City authorities to stop the establishment of structures at the market ground arguing that the market is illegal.

They further asked city clerk Moses Otimong to deploy security to bar the vendors from entering the market adding that they will not pay revenue to the council until the matters are resolved amicably.

Francis Okello, the Olayoilong Market Vendors Association Chairperson which is parallel to Cereleno market says that the vendors are opposed to the reopening of Cereleno market based on the manner under which they were evicted last year.

He argued that the vendors suffered losses and expenses while relocating to the new market sites.

However, Geoffrey Otim, the Pece-Laroo division mayor says being a corporate body, the division can enter contracts and sign a memorandum of understanding with landowners harboring the market and allow the market to continue operating.

Otim added that Pece-Laroo division shall operate the market without fear or favor since all they are after is local revenue sources.

According to Otim, the Gulu City Council Authorities are terming the market as illegal, and yet they are recognizing Olayoilong which is located at Bardege-Layibi division, something he says shows unfairness.

In an earlier interview with URN, Patrick Oola Lumumba, the Bardege-Layibi division mayor said the reopening of Cereleno market was okay as long as the right procedures are followed.

Efforts to get comments from both Alfred Okwonga, the Gulu City Mayor and Moses Otimong, the Gulu City Town Clerk over the matter were futile.

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