Kampala- Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has ordered the closure of Mulungu Beach in Munyonyo, Kampala, amid protests from vendors who claim that it is using floods as an excuse to evict them.
In an April 23 letter, Dr Daniel Okello, the KCCA director of health services, directed the vendors to leave.
“The market premises are flooded with water from Lake Victoria and likely to cause cholera outbreak and other related diseases to the occupants. Therefore, the vendors are advised to vacate immediately,” he wrote.
Ms Dizy Mukasa Nabaweesi, the chairperson of Munyonyo Fish Forkers’ who also chairs the vendors, said she was summoned to Buganda Land Board (BLB) offices on Saturday in a meeting attended by Mr Simon Kaboggoza, the BLB chief executive, Mr Denis Bugaya, the BLB communications director, and Prince David Wasajja.
“They told me to inform everyone to leave with immediate effect. I told them many people had left items in the shops when a lockdown was announced. I was told to communicate to them that they must vacate all their properties immediately,” Ms Mukasa said.
Mr Bugaya confirmed the meeting, adding that it was intended to communicate the KCCA stand.
“We met them (leaders of Mulungu) and communicated to them that the notice has been served to us by KCCA and told them to transition in an orderly way by next week. However, we are also in advanced stages of getting them an option where to work from,” he said yesterday.
“We have told them that in the circumstances they should not put any pre-conditions. Whichever options we get them, they have to go with that. We are doing it not as a legal obligation but a humanitarian institutional gesture,” he added.
Mr Bugaya said they could not defy KCCA or Nema (National Environment Management Authority), adding: “We cannot operate a market that has been condemned as a health risk.”
He said BLB had never leased Mulungu to anyone “and you can cross with records even at the Ministry of Lands. Otherwise, how can you lease a lake reserve? The entire place is floating in water.”
However, vendors wondered why only Mulungu was being targeted, leaving Ggaba or Busabala landing sites.
Mr Henry Mutebi, a market leader, said it was disturbing that they had been promised an alternative location yet nothing was forthcoming.
“There is something in the dark, we know there are investors who want to take this land. We are waiting for them here,” Mr Mutebi said.
Ms Edna Nabagesera, another vendor, said she had no where to go since she has been living at the beach for 10 years .
“How can we pay for our land if we leave here? And how do we get to our homes during this lockdown? I think either way, we will have to stay,” Ms Nabagesera said.
When Daily Monitor visited the beach yesterday, it found shop lock-ups had been submerged and fish vendors had relocated to the upper side of the landing side.