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Hoima Central Market vendors protest persistent power blackout

The Hoima central Market Vendors are protesting persistent power blackout. Photo by Emmanuel Okello.

Hoima, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Vendors at Hoima central market in Hoima City are up in arms with the city authorities over the persistent power blackout and poor sanitation that has hampered their working conditions for long.

The vendors say they have operated without power for the last three months, and also had none functional toilets for some time.

They say the bad smell from the toilets is greatly frustrating their operations yet the city authorities have kept a deaf ear despite several appeals made by vendors to put things right.

Peter Bagonza, a vendor says although they engaged the Hoima East Division city clerk for action against the disconnections and poor sanitation in the market, nothing positive has yielded blaming their troubles on the city authorities for failing to cater for electricity, water and appropriate garbage collection.

Kate Atuhairwe, a fresh foods dealer in the market has blamed the City Council for concentrating on revenue collection rather than improving people’s well-being. She says electricity and water are vital in keeping the market washrooms in a hygienic way because one has to flash the toilets after easing themselves there.

According to Atuhairwe, they have been paying rent and other market dues to the city council but the Council does not care about their lives.

Ibrahim Mugisa, a member of the market governing body explains that they have on several occasions informed the council about the power and sewage problem but nothing has been done.

Fred Kyomukama, a fish seller in the market said the market does not have functional toilet facilities and the sewage system blocked and sometimes sewage flows to people’s homes.

Kyomukama says the management of the market has been compelled to open up the pipes directing human wastes to trenches.

According to information obtained by Uganda Radio Network, UMEME is demanding shillings 12 million for electricity and the vendors have been collecting the money.

William Kasigazi, the Deputy Resident City Commissioner for Hoima East Division said that they are engaging both the vendors and Hoima City Council officials to resolve the challenges which the market has been facing.

He says he got several reports about the bad conditions of the market and they are engaging the leadership of Hoima city to come out and address the concerns of the vendors.

Bryan Kaboyo, the mayor for Hoima City admits the need for the maintenance of the sewage system and garbage collection in the market but hastened to say that they are financially incapacitated.

The Hoima Central Market was built at a tune of 13.7 billion Shillings with funding from the African Development Bank (ADB) under the Markets and Agriculture Trade Improvement Project-MATI.



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