Vendors in Kampala have vowed to defy a government directive to leave the city streets.
Kampala Resident City Commissioner (RCC) Hudu Hussein has given the vendors up to Sunday to leave the streets and relocate to Usafi Market.
But speaking in an interview on Thursday, 13 January 2022, the vendors said they won’t go to Usafi Market because it is wooden and their merchandise might get burnt.
This website found that business is continuing as usual in downtown Kampala with the hawkers and street vendors seemingly unbothered by the RCC’s directive.
The chairman of Kampala Street Vendors, Ismail Mubiru, says the government should just organise them instead of sweeping them off the streets. He vows vendors are not moving an inch.
“We have suffered a lot. The government is not helping us. Our things are being stolen,” he said.
Another vendor, who refused to be identified, said: “Hudu used to wear size 26 of trousers, he has advanced to 40 and now he has forgotten where he comes from. Hudu is joking, we are not going anywhere.”
Mr Mubiru said it was wrong for the authorities to turn against the vendors despite earlier agreeing on the methods of operations.
He referred to the Street Vendors and Hawkers Ordinance that they were working with KCCA which has since 2018 not been concluded. The ordinance has provisions like the designation of streets for vending, time for vending, and licensing vendors in different divisions of Kampala among others.
“We agreed to have licenses and uniforms for the street vendors, but I don’t know how this changed. How can they bring the army for us? Are we terrorists? Aren’t we Ugandans?” he wondered.
“We are not going to leave the streets. The government should organize us so that we operate in the way they want. We are also Ugandans. It’s the responsibility of the government to help us earn a living,” he added.
Another vendor, Gerald Mukalazi says that it is on the streets that they work to earn and sustain their families. He says Usafi Market is outside the central business centre and hence attracts few customers.
Mukalazi, who once owned working space in Mukwano Arcade, says he ran bankrupt more than four years ago and was forced to operate from the streets where he doesn’t need to pay rent.
But the Deputy Spokesperson of KCCA, Robert Kalumba, says that all vendors should go to the markets because it is not sustainable to operate illegally on the streets.
Kalumba says they shall continue sensitizing the vendors to acquire space in markets and work in a more organized environment.