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Kitgum Vendors Occupy Pedestrian Walkways In Protest

The vendors shifted on Saturday alleging that Kitgum municipal officials have failed to enforce eviction of rival vendors currently occupying an illegal market Tuma Atoo in central division.
vendors from kitgum main market occupy a round about in kitgum municipality. photo y denis oling

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More than 100 market vendors from Kitgum airfield market in Pandwong division have relocated and occupied pedestrian walkways and a roundabout in central division in protest.

The vendors shifted on Saturday alleging that Kitgum municipal officials have failed to enforce eviction of rival vendors currently occupying an illegal market Tuma Atoo in central division.

About 1,000 vendors were relocated to Kitgum airfield market in November 2018 to pave way for construction of a multi-billion modern market in central division. However, a section of vendors moved away from the designated market space citing poor sales, a move that sparked off protest from their counterparts.

Concy Atim, the chairperson of Kitgum main market vendors says most of the vendors lost their capital after relocating to the airfield due to poor sales.

She notes that the location of the market outside the central business district has contributed to low sales among those at the airfield.

Atim says after 11 months of making loses, they have decided to also join their counterparts to reap from the booming business in the ungazetted market.

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Atil said during the relocation planning she suggested that they give the vendors land near the hospital because it's near the airfield market. All our capital we injected in several businesses since January is now finished and some vendors have also abandoned their lockups,” says Atim.

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She also accuses the LCIII Chairperson of Central Division of creating rift among the vendors by accommodating others to gain from revenue collection.

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Godfrey Toolit, the central division chairperson however denied the allegations saying those selling at Tuma Atoo market are occupying a private land which the vendors requested to use.

He says his office is open to any one intending to conduct business as long as he or she uses the right channel.

William Komakech, the Kitgum Resident District Commissioner says a meeting will be held with all the vendors after the festive season to ensure how best they can be relocated back along with those in satellite markets.

The Kitgum municipal council town clerk could not comment on the matter when contacted saying he was still attending a meeting.

Tension between the vendors and Kitgum Municipal Council started late last year when the vendors abandoned Airfield Market and begun operating in central division.

The rift grew into a legal battle when the vendors dragged Kitgum municipal council to court over forcefully evicting them causing damages to goods and stalls.

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