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Arua Vendors Equate Sleeping in the Market to Being in Prison

But in Arua, the vendors have not implemented the directive citing lack of Sanitary facilities and congestion. The market which was constructed out of iron sheets following the demolition of the main market currently accommodates over 3,000 vendors dealing in various foodstuffs. It has one water point and a four stance latrine.
Arua main Market Vendors with their Merchandize at the Temporary market.

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Arua main market vendors have shunned the idea of sleeping in the market as advised by president Yoweri Museveni earlier. They said that spending nights in the market is not any different from life in prison where movement is restricted at any time, yet they would also not have access to basic necessities.

The President advised that Market Vendors should spend the entire period of the newly instituted lockdown in markets, to avoid contracting and spreading COVID-19 while in transit. The President advised the Ministry of Health to provide Mosquito Nets to the vendors for the prevention of Malaria, while keeping coronavirus at bay.

But in Arua, the vendors have not implemented the directive citing lack of Sanitary facilities and congestion. The market which was constructed out of iron sheets following the demolition of the main market currently accommodates over 3,000 vendors dealing in various foodstuffs. It has one water point and a four stance latrine.

They are now seeking to be transferred to the newly completed multi-billion ADB funded market that awaits commissioning. Nelson Dada the chairman of Arua Main Market Vendors’ Association told URN that the conditions in the current market pose more risks than saving lives.

According to Dada, the current toilet facilities and space available cannot allow anyone to sleep within the market, but instead, the government should give them equipment to detect and prevent Covid19.

 

// Cue in; "One of the directives.…

Cue out; give us temperature guns."//  

Meanwhile Gloria Faidha, the Arua market Vendors representative to Arua City Development Forum says there is no comfort at the current market to entice anyone to spend a night, adding that many of them have now opted to commute from home.

//Cue in; I don’t sleep here...

Cue out... this market here.//

Arua Resident City Commissioner Martin Oroch says that based on the poor state of the market and the prevailing conditions, they have decided to relax the enforcement of the directive.  

//Cue in; "Like these people, them...

Cue out... just squatting there."// 

Godfrey Apangu, the Arua City Health Inspector says unless the Vendors are moved to the new ADB funded market, it remains practically difficult to make them sleep at the current makeshift market.

The Vendors’ Association has now embarked on compulsory hand washing, wearing of facemasks and social distancing as immediate measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  

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