Namutumba vendors defy directive to vacate streets

Friday November 22 2019

Affected.  Vendors at Namutumba-Kaiti road who

Affected. Vendors at Namutumba-Kaiti road who were ordered to vacate to pave way for road construction works. PHOTO BY RONALD SEEBE 

By RONALD SEEBE

Vendors in Namutumba Town Council have defied a directive from the district leadership to vacate the streets and pave way for construction and tarmacking of the Namutumba-Kaiti road.
The construction of the road is being undertaken by Dott Services Ltd, the same firm working on the Tirinyi-Mbale road.
In February, authorities gave vendors operating on Tirinyi-Mbale, Namutumba-Bulange and Namutumba-Kaiti roads among other streets, a four-month ultimatum to relocate to the central market and taxi park.
However, eight months later the vendors are still operating on the streets, claiming the designated places have never been worked on.
“The taxi park and central market where authorities plan to relocate us are dirty with heaps of cow dung and no shelter. The park was gazzetted for commuter operations, while the market has no stalls and power,” a vendor claimed.
Ms Mariam Naigaga, the Namutumba Woman Member of Parliament [MP], also the chairperson Banana Vendors’ Association, at the weekend said the vendors are ready to vacate the streets but the leaders should relocate them to places with good working environment.
“We each used our money [Shs30,000] to erect a temporary shelter in the central market; but authorities never stood with us to fund the work yet we pay revenue. The shelter was recently destroyed by heavy rain which blew off the entire roof; now, that is where they want us to operate from,” Ms Naigaga said.
Ms Esther Namwase, another vendor, wondered why the authorities disturb them whenever the Christmas approaches.
“It is becoming a habit for the authorities to relocate us, during the festive season to places where there are no customers. Customers who buy our stuff are bypassers, not the usual residents,” Ms Namwase said.
The vendors have vowed not to leave the roadside until well-gazzetted separate places are opened by the authorities, and that such places should not be in the Taxi Park.
The town clerk, Mr Sharif Kabakubya, said the authorities are the implementing agencies and whatever is brought out for public sanity is a council resolution or bylaw.
“Whoever refuses to leave the streets is delaying work and defying council orders which come with penalties,” he said.
The Namutumba Town Council chairperson, Mr Godfrey Mwembe, said the changes are in the vendors’ interest. “We want to have order and sanity in the town; there is no way the market will be built and be functional without vendors,” he said.

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