Wednesday April 23 2014

Tear gas as Kisekka Market vendors protest relocation to bus terminal

Police clear the road that had been blocked by some Kiseka Market

Police clear the road that had been blocked by some Kiseka Market traders yesterday. They protested a relocation plan by KCCA, saying the new location, Namayiba Bus Terminal, cannot accommodate all of them. Police fired tear gas to disperse the protesting vendors. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA 

By Paul Tajuba

Kampala- Police yesterday used teargas, rubber bullets and sticks to disperse Kisekka market vendors who were protesting relocation to Namayiba Bus Terminal, currently used as a taxi park.

The vendors claim the kiosks built on Nakivubo Channel and Namayiba Park have been fitted with only 50 containers, far below their estimated number which is more than 10,500.

They also claim Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) did not involve them in the relocation plans.

When contacted, KCCA deputy spokesperson, Mr Robert Kalumba, said protesting the relocation was “un understandable” since it was the traders who took the development plan to them.

A vendor identified as Lukyamuzi, said they will battle the police until government stops the relocation.
In the fracas, journalists from a local daily were roughed off by vendors, claiming their reporting was biased while a pregnant woman collapsed after inhaling teargas.

On Saturday, the city authority carried out a peaceful relocation of some traders to the new kiosks north of the market and some built on the bank of Nakivubo Channel. The relocation is aimed at redeveloping the market to fit modern city status.

The police commanding officer, Mr James Namuwoza, said the vendors had planned to fight the KCCA enforcement team and police officers prior to serving them a notice of relocation, a move he said they learnt of and had to use force to disperse the rioters.

“We came to serve (notice of relocation) prior to demolishing their structures. Unfortunately, when they saw us, they started throwing stones at us. We could not tolerate that and we had to bring the situation to normal,” Mr Namuwoza said.

He also said some traders are illegally occupying part of the road reserve.