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Court Orders Mediation Between Kitgum Vendors, Municipal Authorities

The resolution was reached during a court session on an appeal filed by the vendor’s legal representative Dalton Opwonya, seeking to challenge a decision by the High Court in Gulu which lifted a temporary injunction against the eviction of vendors from the site.
Silver fish on sale at Kitgum Airfield Market in Pandwong Division. Photo By Julius Ocungi

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The Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo has called for negotiation between a section of vendors operating at Tuma Atoo Market in Kitgum Central Division and officials of Kitgum Municipal Council. 

The resolution was reached during a court session on an appeal filed by the vendor’s legal representative Dalton Opwonya, seeking to challenge a decision by the High Court in Gulu which lifted a temporary injunction against the eviction of vendors from the site.  

The Rift between the vendors and Kitgum Municipal Council started late last year when the vendors abandoned the designated Kitgum Airfield Market on grounds that it was far and unattractive to customers. They later dragged the Municipal Council to Court in January protesting their relocation.  

Sixteen of the market vendors who abandoned the designated market secured an injunction for protection from eviction and compensation for damages, sparking a protracted legal battle between the two sides.  

But Justice Owiny Dollo has now advised the two parties to embrace dialogue in order to resolve the impasse and report back to the court within two weeks. 

“He told us to talk to each other about this matter, we have agreed to his advice and in fact, we are beginning the mediation right away,” a source who attended the closed-door Court of Appeal session told Uganda Radio Network. 

Justice Owiny-Dollo reportedly advised the two parties against engaging in any media discussions to avoid confrontation and spread of information that can harm the mediation processes. 

The defendant’s legal representative Jude Ogik welcomed the directive as the best option to resolve the crisis.  “As lawyers, it’s not about us, it’s for the benefit of the clients, if it can solve their issue amicably and have a win-win for the parties, it’s a good direction to take,” Ogik told URN in an interview. 

The mediation decision has excited some of the vendors at Airfield who say it has been long due. The vendors said they had peacefully co-existed in the past and hope that through mediation, they will make peace.

Luo // Cue in; “Lok ma lube…

Cue out… bedo Kacel”//  

Luo // Cue in; “Atamo ni… 

Cue out… Wabed kakacel,”//  

More than 1,000 vendors were relocated from the Central Division in Kitgum, to pave way for construction of a multi-billion modern Market funded by African Development Bank.