Breaking

Eviction of Vendors, Roadside Transporters in Gulu City Starts

Last week, Gulu City Clerk Isiah Tumwesigye issued a directive to the public banning businesses along the streets, pavements, walkways, verandahs, backstreets, and corridors within the city effective July 1.
UPDF soldiers implement directives to evict road side vendors at Cerelenu Market along Gulu-Kampala Highway in Gulu City on Friday July 1 2022.
Gulu City Council law enforcement personnel on Friday kicked off the eviction of vendors in ungazzetted spaces along major streets.

The eviction comes barely a week after Gulu City Clerk Isiah Tumwesigye issued a directive to the public banning businesses along the streets, pavements, walkways, verandahs, backstreets, and corridors within the city effective July 1.

The directive majorly targets street vendors, hawkers, and operators of taxis, buses, lorries, Tricycles (Tuk tuk), and Pickup trucks.

City law enforcement personnel accompanied by police and UPDF soldiers deployed heavily along the busy Gulu-Kampala highway to implement the directive.

Tumwesigye says that the move was aimed at restoring trade order in the city.   He says the majority of those being evicted have defiantly chosen to work from the streets despite gazetted spaces in the markets, bus terminals, and shops within the city that are not being fully occupied.

According to Tumwesigye, the eviction is scheduled to take more than three days and urged those affected to comply with the decision to avoid legal action.

But the majority of those evicted say the move was unfair considering the harsh economic times.

Among those affected are members of the Gulu city Interstate Transporters Association, who load passengers aboard buses that ply the Kampala, Gulu, and Juba highways.

Musa Yasin, one of the members of the association notes that the ban on their business will affect the livelihood of more than 30 members.  He says the space they have been relocated to by the city officials doesn't attract passengers, unlike the busy streets where they had been loading their clients.

"Certainly this directive is harsh on us, most of the buses are now passing through the Gulu-Juba highway instead of the city center and this means we are losing money. We are asking the city authorities to review their directives so that we are relocated to busy spaces," says Yasin.

But Tumwesigye maintained that the directive is final and was resolved following consultation with various stakeholders.

Patrick Omaya, the Gulu Main Market Vendors Association Chairperson welcomed the directive to evict roadside business operators saying it will help to improve businesses in gazetted markets.

He says due to unregulated businesses within the city, vendors in the gazetted market, especially the Gulu Main market, had realized a decline in sales due to competition from street vendors.

"The city authorities are right to evict those operating from the streets, our vendors in markets are no longer making profits from sales because there are many competitors on the streets. we believe trade order will resume," He says.

The City authorities have directed the affected vendors, street hawkers, and bus operators to occupy spaces at Gulu Main Market, Kabedopong Market, Wilobo Market, Layibi Central Market, Lamogi ber bus terminal, Gulu Main bus park, and the new terminal at the former Abattoir.