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KCCA steps up operations to evict street vendors

KCCA wants vendors to work from USAFI market. COURTESY PHOTO

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA enforcement officers have this week intensifed operations to get vendors off the streets.

The enforcement teams are being assisted by a group of youth donning reflector jackets with inscriptions, ‘Smart City’, that have however been accused of brutality by the vendors. The youth support team is guarded by security personnel from the Field Force Units and Police.

The team operates by confiscating merchandise and bundlins it onto their trucks. Wooden boards and stools used by vendors in their trade are broken and loaded on a Fuso truck.

Herman Segawa, a vendor along Namirembe Avenue says since the week began, the law enforcement team has been on the street daily. Those who resist are arrested and taken to City Hall Court.

Segawa however insists that they cannot leave the streets because they have nowhere else to work from. He says that the markets like Usafi and St. Balikuddembe to which KCCA wants them to go to, are full already.

Segawa, a father of six says that he needs his job now more than ever, to enable him take his children to school.

Another vendor, Gerald Mukalazi says that it is on the streets that they work to earn and sustain their families. He says Usafi Market is outside the central business centre and hence attracts few customers.

Mukalazi, who once owned working space in Mukwano Arcade, says he ran bankrupt more than four years ago and was forced to operate from the streets where he doesn’t need to pay rent.

The Deputy Spokesperson of KCCA, Robert Kalumba says that all vendors should go to the markets because it is not sustainable to operate illegally on the streets.

He adds that following the presidential directive, KCCA no longer collects fees from the vendors. Kalumba says there is working space in Usafi that street vendors can occupy.

Kalumba says they shall continue sensitizing the vendors to acquire space in markets and work in a more organized environment.

But Isma Mubiru the Chairman of Fuba Tukole Hawkers and Vendors Association says that KCCA should organize vendors to improve their operations within the city rather than chase them off the streets.

He referred to the Street Vendors and Hawkers Ordinance that they were working with KCCA which has since 2018 not been concluded. The ordinance has provisions like the designation of streets for vending, time for vending, and licensing vendors in different divisions of Kampala among others.

Mubiru says vendors are ready to abide by the ordinance when it comes into force.

Kalumba says, KCCA also plans to roll out Sunday markets in different divisions of Kampala.

The vendors have also raised concern about the brutality of the law enforcement team, pointing fingers at the youth working with the team.

On Tuesday night, there was a fight between the youth and vendors. Mukalazi says that the youth working with KCCA came to confiscate merchandise from vendors who resisted and they responded with force to take the merchandise.

The following day on Wednesday, the youth returned with sticks and stones provoking a fight with vendors again.

The youth have also been accused of assaulting two journalists Brenda Namale from Vision Group and Ponsiano Mukiibi of BBS TV.

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One comment

  1. Consider the case of the vendor who was harassed for selling nsenene on Uganda Airlines.

    Or the hard working food vendor who worked from a tiny kiosk in Nakasero and gained access to clients working in a multinational telecoms company and sold immaculately prepared local meals to staff, never once delaying or mixing up a single order.

    Or the jewelry vendors who confidently walk into NGO offices and sell earrings to CEOs in Kamwokya.

    We are a nation of national born hustlers. Own it. Don’t fight it. It’s a God given gift. Support it, and we all benefit. Fight it, and we all lose. We should support, or at the very least avoid interfering with those exercising their special talents of seizing opportunities and making the most of whatever resources are available, including the streets of Kampala as a workplace.

    Other countries have a problem of people sitting at home waiting for government assistance which they booze away and continue complaining. In Uganda, we have a problem of government interfering with citizens taking the initiative to do what they do best in order to earn an honest living and contribute to the economy. When a person buys sweets or chewing gum from a street vendor, taxes are being paid through that transaction. When a street vendor sells rolex, they are providing a reliable market for urban egg producers and others in the chain of economic activities that lead to rolex sales. Litter is not a problem if streets are being cleaned daily, as it provides employment opportunities for those without education and experience. When brooms are bought and street sweepers are paid to keep the streets clean every day, this helps to bridge the gap between the privileged and the less privileged in society and reduces poverty.

    Without street vendors, all these interdependent economic activities that boost tax revenue and create sustainable livelihoods for millions will collapse as opportunities dwindle in the name of “a more organized environment”.

    We can do better than this really.

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