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Vendors in Kitgum evicted from market for not voting chairperson’s preferred candidate

Alice Lacwec speaking to URN during an interview.

Kitgum, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  Two market vendors in Kitgum Municipality have been evicted from their stalls after they allegedly voted for a candidate the market chairperson and vendors opposed.

Alice Lacwec and Kevin Alimocan all vendors at Tuma Atoo market in Central Division were reportedly shown the exits after results of the National Resistance Movement-NRM party primaries for division chairpersons were announced. The elections were held on September 14.

It’s reported that Lacwec and Alimocan, voted for Jennifer Amono, who was contesting for the NRM flag for Central Division LCIII Chairperson. Amono competed with Godfrey Toolit, the incumbent Central Division Chairperson. 

Amono was however defeated by Toolit who has been known to side with vendors at the market.

Lacwec says that trouble started when she returned to the market shortly after Toolit was announced the winner. She says that fellow vendors accused her of being a traitor.

She says before voting, they had been warned to only vote for Toolit because he protected them from eviction by Municipal Council authorities.

The widow and mother of six children, however, say that she voted for her preferred candidate, a move that caused her trouble with the market authorities and vendors. 

Overwhelmed with confrontations from the vendors Lacwec and Alimocan decided to report the matter to the Resident District Commissioner William Komakech.

Lacwec says when a meeting was convened, the Market chairperson and other vendors instead resorted to hurling insults at her and demanded a fine of 200,000 Shillings or vacate the market. She chose the latter citing she couldn’t afford the hefty fine. 

Alimocan is still at home and unable to do business two weeks later. Alimocan who traded in cabbages and tomatoes says life has become hard citing difficulty in getting money to feed her two children.  

She has called for the intervention of the Municipal and district leaders.

But Suzan Adokorach, the Chairperson of Tuma Atoo market denied any role in evicting vendors citing that they left on their own. 

Adokorach says all vendors at the market had their varied political opinions and voted for their preferred candidates without being coerced.

“It’s a total lie for her to accuse me of chasing her out of the market, first of all, the complainant took the matter to the RDC minus our notice. And when we went before the RDC, she failed to point out who exactly abused her, when we returned to the market, she parked her goods and left,” Adokorach told URN in an interview.

She, however, acknowledged demanding the duo to pay fines as one of the penalties for speaking lies.

Efforts to get comments from William Komakech, the Resident District commissioner were futile by press time as he was locked up in a meeting. 

Tuma Atoo market hosts a section of vendors who relocated from Bardege Main market in Pandwong Division in 2018. The vendors have had misunderstandings with Municipal Council officials who accuse them of creating an illegal satellite market and a section of political leaders whom the vendors accuse of trying to lobby for their evictions.

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URN

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