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Kalerwe market vendors toiling on the streets

Bivamuntuuyo Market spaces stalls

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  A number of vendors are struggling to survive on the streets after losing their stalls in the Markets at Kalerwe for failure to raise money to secure space. Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA closed all the markets at Kalerwe about a month ago citing overcrowding.

It came after Government issued a directive requiring market vendors to ensure a four meter physical distance as a measure to curb the spread of Corona Virus, which has claimed thousands of lives globally. The market owners were required to reduce the number of vendors, clear garbage and build semi-permanent shelters where vendors used umbrellas.

However, after reorganizing the markets managers asked the vendors to pay between Shillings 150,000 and 200,000 for the construction of their stalls, painting and identity cards. A number of vendors failed to raise the money given their limited operational capital. 

Nulu Nanyonga, 35, a resident of Mulago is one of such vendors. She now runs a stall at Masanyalaze along Mawanda Road after losing her stall in Basenakujjengo Market, a month back. Operating under a tree, she sells pawpaw, watermelon and Pineapples, which she places on the ground.

Nanyonga, a window and sole provider of her nine member family, says she decided to put up the stall to earn a living. 

She leaves her 16 year-old daughter in charge of the younger ones and grandchildren at home to open her stall at 7am. Nanyonga says her sales are low since she started operating by the roadside.   While at the Market, she sold her stock in a day but now spends three days before she exhausts it. In order to raise her sales, she has connected with a hawker who rides a wheelbarrow around looking for customers and make deliveries.   `

Nanyonga says that she had expected resume business at the market on 27th April, when KCCA reopened Basenakujjengo market alongside four others. She however, says her joy vanished when the market leadership asked her to pay Shillings 350,000 to access her stall at the market yet her working capital is Shillings 200,000.

According to Nanyonga, she secured her stall at Shillings 150,000 five years ago.

Another vendor who only identified herself as Nambi says she cannot go back to the market because of the work shifts established to control the number of vendors. During the redevelopment process, the number of stalls was reduced by more than half so as to attain the 4 meter physical distance as directed by government.

Leaders hence grouped vendors to start operating shifts. Nambi says this system doesn’t favor her because she would end up consuming her capital on days she isn’t working hence resorting to operate on the streets.

Hussein Lubega, the Chairperson Basenakujjengo market, says vendors have to contribute Shillings 300,000 for them to recoup the money invested in developing the market. They have put up a shelter and constructed Timber structures as stores for vendors’ merchandise.

Another vendor from Bivamuntuyo Market who now operates along Gayaza Road in an earlier interview with URN, said she had been asked to pay over 200,000 Shillings to access her stall.

The Chairman Bivamuntuuyo Market, Dephase Kiwanuka explains that all vendors have to pay for IDs at 15000 and for stalls’ painting Shillings 20,000 while those who operated under umbrellas have to pay Shillings 150,000 for construction of shelters, he says.   Abbas Sekanjako, the director Modern Market, says they have asked vendors to pay for work IDs and nothing more.

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