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Lira Vendors Shun Directive to Spend Nights in Markets

The directive was issued at the pronouncement of a 42-day lockdown in which movement is restricted within districts, and curfew hours adjusted to 7 p.m. According to President Yoweri Museveni, staying in Markets will help traders keep coronavirus at bay since they will be stationed in one place, while equally protecting the rest of the family members.

Audio 5

Vendors selling foodstuffs in Lira have disregarded a directive by President Yoweri Museveni to spend nights in markets as a measure to control the spread of COVID-19 as Uganda battles a deadlier second wave of the pandemic.

The directive was issued at the pronouncement of a 42-day lockdown in which movement is restricted within districts, and curfew hours adjusted to 7 p.m. According to President Yoweri Museveni, staying in Markets will help traders keep coronavirus at bay since they will be stationed in one place, while equally protecting the rest of the family members.

But the vendors argue that spending nights at their places of operation is a big inconvenience to their family and threatens their safety. The vendors include men and women, breastfeeding mothers, senior citizens and even youths.

Walter Ongu, a dealer in the general merchandise at the Lira main market says the risk of overcrowding the market is high if they choose to abide by the directive and advises  that the vendors be allowed to operate while strictly following the set operating procedures instead of sleeping in the market.

//Cue in; “The gazetting of …

Cue out: …a closed market.”//

Sharon Akello, a breastfeeding mother who sells Irish potatoes at Juba Market says the market does not have proper structures to house her eight months old baby.

Luo//Cue in; “Wan joo me…

Cue out…ame en okoo.”//

Vicky Acen, a vendor at Junior Quarters Market said that spending nights in open spaces where they operate threatens their health and their safety, while Betty Ajok, another vendor is worried that emergency cases like sickness which attacks children at night will be difficult to attend to when they sleep in the market.

Luo//Cue in; “Kono ka dong…

Cue out…wot onen otino.”//

Josephine Ogwang, another vendor at Lira Main argues that  the market is not a conducive place to stay because it does not have water and electricity. She is also concerned that the absence of women in their homes at night will stir domestic violence

Luo//Cue in; “Cang gat pire…

Cue out...paco too oko.”//

Meanwhile, Basil Edwoko, the Chairperson Lira main market says the market is bound to be closed if the vendors cannot abide by the guidelines issued by the president. According to Edwoko, the vendors who wished to continue operating their businesses should use their torches as a source of light at night.

Luo//Cue in: “Gin ame gengo…

Cue out: ...amito acega.”//

Lira City has over 10 food markets including Juba Market, Lira Main Market, Produce Lane, Odyek-Ejang Market, Cuk-Alok among other.

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