Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Scenes of brutal arrest, beatings and manhandling street vendors has re-emerged about three months after the Kampala Minister, Beti Olive Kamya suspended at least seven Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) law enforcement officers for rights violation.
Early this week, URN saw KCCA enforcement officers picking merchandise from vendors including fruits and vegetable and throwing it to their truck. Most of the merchandise ended up damaged because of the way it was dumped and mixed on the truck.
In Old Kampala, the law enforcement officers were seen breaking a wooden wheelbarrow used by a vendor to carry cane before they loaded his cane on their truck. One of the officers was scene chewing on the peeled cane they had just confiscated from the vendor.
Julius Aine (not real name) is one of the vendors who have tested the brutality of the KCCA enforcement officers. Aine narrates how weeks back he lost two of his wooden wheelbarrows.
According to Aine, he had three wheelbarrows, two of them operated by his employees. Currently, he has a single wheelbarrow, which he operatives with his employee. He remembers how the law enforcement team carried his wheelbarrows onto their truck when they found him selling cane at the new taxi park.
Aine buys his cane from Kawempe and Kaleerwe market at Shillings 80.000 a wheelbarrow. He could have lost Shillings 160.000 in cane and Shillings 200,000 for the two wheelbarrows taken by KCCA. He also lost about Shillings 14,000 in salary since he pays his employees Shillings 7000 each day.
When asked if he followed up on his property, Aine said he couldn’t because he and his other employee flee the scene upon citing the KCCA enforcement team. He feared what could happen had they been arrested.
Apart from his personal experience, Aine has witnessed KCCA enforcement officers unleashing brutality to vendors and hawkers in Kampala. He narrates how the KCCA enforcement team use hammers to break vendor’s tables, destroy their merchandise and dump some of it in Nakivubo channel.
Such occurrences have been witnessed mostly at Nakivubo channel near Namayiba Park.
Another vendor dealing in watermelon says the KCCA enforcement team brutally handles vendors and destroys their merchandise. He said some pick the merchandise and sell it off.
The KCCA Spokesperson, Peter Kaujju told URN that an enforcement officer is not allowed to destroy merchandise nor own it.
He however, emphasized that the vendors operate illegally on the streets and hence KCCA is mandated to keep them away. He says KCCA issues warnings before they move in to enforce the law.
Currently, KCCA is also working on an ordinance to regulate street vendors and hawkers. The ordinance once passed shall see all street vendors and hawkers licensed to operate legally.
Even then, vendors will only operate in designated places and at particular times.