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More than 1,000 vendors vacate Cerelendo market in Gulu

Cerelendo Market Vendors decried anguish following hasty eviction – Photo by Dominic Ochola

 Gulu, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  More than 1,000 vendors have vacated Cerelendo Market in Gulu East Division. The market which was started in 1997, is the second biggest in the city after Gulu Main Market.

Their departure follows a notice served to them at the beginning of July by the Division authorities closing a prolonged court battle with Francis B-Leo Ojok, the private landowner. After five years in the court, Justice Stephen Mubiru, the Resident Gulu High Court Judge issued a permanent injunction on May 9, 2019, restraining the vendors and their agents from interfering with Ojok’s property rights.

Justice Mubiru gave 12 months’ grace period within which the vendors were to vacate the property by relocating Cerelendo Market from Ojok’s land by June 30 2020. Gilbert Oloya, the Assistant Town Clerk of the Division wrote to the vendors directing them to vacate the land by July 3.

Doreen Aber, a vendor who doubles as the Vice-Chairperson of Cerelendo Market Vendors’ Association says the traders have procured space in Gulu West Division where they have relocated to after putting up makeshift structures.

Mercy Anena, a vendor at the market said the relocation has caused them torment, financial loss and starvation adding that they will require more time to stabilize their businesses.

Vicky Emotayi, the Secretary of Gulu Market Vendors’ Association regretted that hasty eviction impacted negatively on the perishable stocks of many vendors yet their financial stability had been shaken by an outbreak of coronavirus disease.

Each of the traders was allocated space at the new site for 50,000 Shillings in annual ground rent and 350,000 Shillings for building stalls. The market has been remitting over 70 million shillings annually in local revenue to then Pece Division Local Government.

The market also earlier lost over 500 of its membership to neighbouring Layibi-Railway Market, Wilobo Market, Kasubi Market and Olayilong Market after it was decongested in May for flouting the Standard Operating Procedures against COVID-19 pandemic.



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