Viola Kobusobozi, one of the vendors who have insisted on working in the streets, says that while the situation is tense, she cannot afford to take up working space in the markets because of the costs involved. Kobusobozi, a mother of two instead walks around the city with a pack of face masks, some hanging on pegs with the hope that she can still attract buyers.
A less congested and more calm environment
returns to Kampala, a few weeks after the city authorities enforced operations
to rid the city of street vendors and hawkers.
The last such cleanup was
conducted by Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA under the leadership of Jennifer
Musisi Semakula. Using law enforcement officers from the Authority, Musisi
removed vendors off the streets arresting several and confiscating merchandise
Now under the leadership of Dorothy
Kisaka, KCCA started the year with intense operations to get vendors off the
streets and into the markets. Ordinary police, officers from the Field Force
Unit-FFU and Military police joined law enforcement officers to comb the
streets once again. But while many have found footing in the markers, several
others still play hide and seek with the enforcers.
Viola Kobusobozi, one of the
vendors who have insisted on working in the streets, says that while the situation
is tense, she cannot afford to take up working space in the markets because of
the costs involved. Kobusobozi, a mother of two instead walks around the city
with a pack of face masks, some hanging on pegs with the hope that she can
still attract buyers.
//Cue in; "Ekiri mu
Cue out...n’omugo kiki?"//
Kobusobozi defiance comes with a
lot of vigilance. As she walks or sits on Kampala streets, she watches closely
for any law enforcers and runs into hiding as soon as she spots them to avoid
arrest. Every passing minute, she says, security personnel are inspecting the
city to ensure that no vendor is left behind.
A URN reporter observed about six
groups of law enforcers between Namirembe road, adjacent to the new tax park and
Burton street a distance of about one kilometre. Each group has about seven to
ten members drawn from the different security groups.
Jessy Sendegeya, who rides a
motorcycle along Ben Kiwanuka street says the law enforcers are tough and
ruthless while confiscating merchandise and arresting those they find on the
streets. These officers, Sendegeya says also walk to the stores where street
vendors keep merchandise from which they sell, and confiscate it.
//Cue in; "Ekibi kyendabye
Cue out...biba bikutte
But besides those who continue to
hustle on the streets, hundreds of vendors have now settled in different
markets in the City. One such market is Segawa Market located along Mwanga II
road, just a few meters from Kisenyi Health Center II.
Segawa was constructed like an
ordinary arcade, in a U-format with wide space in the middle. It is part of the
open spaces that more than 50 vendors have found space solace in. The floor is well-demarcated to allow for every vendor to have their space while leaving
walkways for use by people accessing the market.
Isma Mubiru, the Chairman of Fuba
Tukole Hawkers and vendors Association says when KCCA intensified operations,
management at Segawa Market approached them with an offer to take up shops at
the market, at no cost for six months and start paying thereafter.
But the vendors, unlike shop
keepers who operate in individual enclosed rooms or shops, asked to use part of
the open space which has saved them from the running battles they previously
engaged in with law enforcers.
//Cue in; "Omugagga nti
Cue out...teyagala nakwogerera
But many still say they aren't
making as much money as they did while on the streets. Night Laken, says she
would make at least 20,000 Shillings a day working on the street but by 1 pm at
the new market, she had only made 2,000 Shillings from selling lemon.
Laken, a mother of six says they
can't afford well-established markets like Nakasero and Owino because they not
only have less capital to compete but have no money to rent space. Although these
are public markets, several of the stalls within were sold to vendors who are
now asking for money to let anyone occupy them.
//Cue in; "Write now we...
Cue out...away like dogs."//
Andrew Kasagga, another vendor who
equally hasn’t found as many customers yet wishes that KCCA left them to operate
on specific streets in the evening when shop owners start closing. He also
wants the government to give them capital to grow their businesses and to rent
//Cue in; "Nayenga ekikulu
Cue out...nti etumalako emmaali."//
A few days back during a
televised interview, president Yoweri Museveni advised the vendors to get space
and work in the markets, adding that they were inconveniencing shop owners yet
they don’t pay any tax