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Mubende traders stranded, appeal over rotting merchandise

Mubende, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  Roadside traders on the Mubende highway are stranded with food stuff following the government instituted lockdown to curb the spread of the Ebola virus disease.

In a Saturday evening televised address, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni issued directives restricting movements in and out of the Mubende and Kassanda districts to mitigate the spread of Ebola.

He cited the gravity of the problem and the need to prevent further spread of Ebola and protect lives and livelihoods saying that the restrictions start with immediate effect. Following the presidential directive, authorities in Mubende and Kassanda immediately started enforcing the restrictions by deploying on the major roads connecting with other districts as well as inter-routes.

However, the traders and business operators along Mubende roadside market have castigated the authorities saying that they are stranded with perishable foods which they had just stocked before the lockdown was announced. The traders say that the lockdown announcement took them by surprise after they had just purchased food stuffs and stocked them in the market where they are now not allowed to access.

He warned that the lockdown poses a double blow to the people in Mubende especially the road side traders saying that they are suffering from Ebola but many will die of hunger and stress.

Lewontina Nassozi, a dealer in plantains and other food stuffs said that she is counting losses because she had just supplied produce to the traders who are all now in their respective homes. Nassozi says she is worried that all her customers who did not pay will report to her that the produce got rotten.

Irene Nabulime, also known as Maama Mercy appealed to the authorities to allow them collect the produce from the stalls so that they do not rot. She said that they  get most of the items on credit and with the three week lockdown, they will be left suffering. Nabulime lamented that they are likely to suffer from hunger as their children will be left with nothing to feed.

Ismail Ssekajako, a member of Highway Market vendors said that the lockdown will cause them untold suffering resulting from loss of produce they had stocked. He said that the traders will lose between Shillings 300,000 to one million Shillings due to the surprise lockdown and appealed to the authorities to support them with both food and cash handouts.

Mubende Resident District Commissioner – RDC Rosemary Byabashaija admitted that the road side traders earn from subsistence activities which unable them to survive without work. She however promised that as leaders, they will advocate for them and request the government to intervene for support the people since they are only 2 districts affected.

Byabashaija said that the directives have to be adhere to the directives because the efforts are for the good of the people some of whom are rigid.

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