Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | More than 80 kiosks have been removed off Kampala streets as part of the smart city campaign which is intended to decongest the city.
Kiosks that were previously set up along Ben Kiwanuka street, Allen road, part of Burton street, the Old taxi park, Nkrumah road, Railway group, Nasser road, Colville street and Kimathi avenue, among others, have been removed and taken to the Kampala Capital City Authority yard in Nakawa.
KCCA started an operation to rid the city of vendors more than ten years ago. However at the time, an exception was given to newspaper dealers, shoe shiners, stamp makers, and telecom companies who were given strict guidelines about the size and material of kiosks. The kiosks in Central division were to be made of fibreglass or aluminium while those in the city suburbs were to be made out of fibreglass, metallic canvas and wood.
The standard size for Kiosks which would be located on private land on gazetted streets, road reserves and open spaces was three by seven feet.
But KCCA physical planner in charge of Central division, Villey Agaba says that KCCA’s Physical Planning Committee took a decision in 2017 to remove all kiosks that had been permitted in Kampala. However, the owners were given three years until 2020, to remove the kiosks and take up space in arcades, markets and shopping malls. He adds that as of today, all kiosks in the city are illegal.
Agaba insists that many of the kiosk owners had forged permits and had documents that are not recognised by KCCA, a matter that is under investigation by the authority. He says no kiosk shall be left standing, except those with genuine running permits.
Isma Ssekamanya who owned two kiosks along Burton street says that he went through the rightful procedure to get an operational permit before setting up the kiosk. Ssekamanya says that he paid 550,000 Shillings to KCCA to acquire a permit for each of his kiosks one of which was last renewed on March 4, 2021.
He says KCCA through its physical planning directorate inspected the location before issuing a permit which he has operated for more than three years before it was demolished on Monday.
All those whose kiosks have been taken will have an opportunity to get them back within six months after presenting a permit from another area outside KCCA jurisdiction permitting them to use the kiosks to run business. After six months, KCCA shall seek a court order to dispose of the kiosks as scrap. The operation shall continue in different divisions of Kampala.
But Dr Amin Kiggundu, the Head of the Department of Architecture and Physical Planning at Makerere University says that although the city authorities could be following their guidelines and documented regulations, the city managers should change the way they view planning to make the city more inclusive.
“We need to work with what works for us. We have a tendency to ignore the informal sector. By inclusive, I mean we need to look at what works for us as a citizenry of Kampala such that everyone works in Kampala, lives in Kampala and exists in Kampala but in an orderly manner.”
Dr Kiggundu says that regulations are good but they should be established and implemented based on the ever-changing needs of the people. He adds that the fact that these kiosks exist shows that there is an existing need and should be planned for by the city managers.