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Elderly Women Struggling Following Suspension from Najjembe Market

Tom Waisswa, the Najjembe Sub County Male Councilor for Elderly people, says about 200 other elderly people who were selling produce to the vendors are also stuck at home. He says the current working situation isn’t unfavorable for them.
Specioza Nababiro showing firewood she last collected from Mabira forest.

Audio 3

About 100 elderly women who were stopped from working at Najjembe market along Kampala-Jinja district in Buikwe district because of the Covid19 pandemic are struggling to survive.

As part of the Covid19 preventive measures, Buikwe District Covid19 task force resolved to slash the number of vendors from 800 to 200 so as to ensure the required physical distance.   

The task force also came up with a program allowing the vendors to operate in shifts of 50 people to avoid congestion. Management also decided to reduce the number of charcoal stoves used to roast chicken, beef and sweet plantain from 150 to only 20.

The stoves were relocated from the stalls and placed infront of the market leaving a space of 4 meters from each stove. The authorities used strings to avoid direct contact between the vendors and customers who are now required to get out of their vehicles to buy the snacks.

The changes largely affected elderly women who were involved in roasting and selling sweet plantains alias Gonja and sweet bananas. 78-year-old Abisag Nabayego, a widow taking care of nine grandchildren in Nsakya A Village council is one of those affected. 

According to Nabayego, she couldn’t risk sitting under sunshine the entire day to roast sweet plantains because of the new changes. 

 

Luganda Audio 

//Cue in: “Kubanga luli nali… 

Cue out: …emyezi ena”//

Specioza Nababiro, 64, a single mother of four children at Nsakya B is also stuck at home nursing a wound on her leg she sustained in Mabira forest while collecting firewood for sale to feed her children. 

According to Nababiro, she resorted to collecting firewood to fend for her family when she was stopped from working at Najembe market. 

//Cue in: “Ekiti kyanfumita…

  

Cue out: …oba kinaba kiteredde”// 

She however, says life is hard for and her family as she is no longer working. Sarah Nagudi, 72, also takes care of five grandchildren. She is worried of failing to service a loan of Shillings 900, 000 she acquired to buy a new stall at Najjembe market and boast her business before the lockdown was declared.

Tom Waisswa, the Najjembe Sub County Male Councilor for Elderly people, says about 200 other elderly people who were selling produce to the vendors are also stuck at home. He says the current working situation isn’t unfavorable for them.  

Luganda Audio 

 

//Cue in: “Kubanga mbadde mulwadde…

 

Cue out: …nokomawo bwerere”//

The Buikwe Resident District Commissioner-RDC, Jane Francis Kagayi says they are still observing the situation at the market to ensure that residents are protected from contracting the virus. 

“As we all know the Ministry identified three people who tested positive for Covid-19, since then we are much more concerned about that community especially when it comes to our elders who we are still appealing to, to stay home for their own safety,” Kagayi says.

Usman Lukwago, the Chairperson Najjembe Meat and Chicken Vendors’ Association appeals to government to support the vendors with simple loans, saying working in shifts has forced most of the vendors to eat their capital.