Lugazi, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Lugazi municipality has halted the planned relocation of vendors to the newly built central market following protests by vendors over poor allocation of stalls. The municipal authorities had planned to relocate the vendors on April 26, 2021.
However, the vendors refused to move on grounds that those in charge of allocating stalls and lockups had allocated the entire ground floor to unknown people. They demanded that the municipality opens the stalls and lock-ups and they agree on a new mechanism of allocating the spaces to vendors.
This prompted the authorities to deploy police at the major entries of the market to stop the vendors from forceful entry. Christopher Batte, the Lugazi Vendor’s Association chairperson, says that they were surprised to see the allocation process kicking off with the entire ground floor almost occupied.
Martin Atik, one of the vendors accuses the municipal officials of conniving with traders operating big shops in Lugazi town to take over the ground floor.
Siraje Nsubuga, another vendor accuses the municipal officials of generating their own list of vendors, saying that some of the people on the list are unknown in Lugazi. He says that the remaining stalls on the upper floor are unsuitable for their kind of business, which might affect their sales.
Lugazi Town Clerk, Francis Nyamugo notes that the vendors are just playing tactics to delay their planned relocations. He, however, says that they engaging the vendors to embrace the relocation plan.
The Shillings 15.8 billion market was financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) under the Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Programme Project-2 (MATIP. President Yoweri Museveni commissioned the market on December 5, 2021.
The market comprises stalls, lockups, saloons, banks, pharmacies and daycare facilities among others. It is designed to host more than 1,500 vendors.