Police have dispersed
a meeting organised by secondhand clothes dealers in St. Balikuddembe market also known as Owino. The meeting had been organised to
devise strategies to convince the government to allow them to resume their
The trader’s meeting
was prompted by the president’s directive to ease lockdown restrictions. While the president lifted the ban on public transport and allowed shopping malls to operate, he maintains restrictions on arcades and markets that are dealing in non-food items.
Owino is the largest open market in Uganda, occupying
7.04 hectares of land in the city. It brings together more than 50,000 traders and buyers every day, each coming from different parts of the country. Many come from the suburbs of Kampala, while others travel from the countryside to earn a living from selling clothing, shoes, bags, toys and all kinds of merchandise.
These have since written to Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadderequesting that they too are allowed to resume operations after a two months lull. Geoffrey Kasita, the
Defense Secretary St. Balikuddembe Market, said they should be allowed to
resume work because they are ready to comply with the COVID-19 preventive
//Cue in; “Empenda eriwo egamba…”
Cue out…abalala bade luli.”//
However, the meeting
ended prematurely as the Old Kampala Deputy Police Commander, Edrisa Kyeyune
directed the dealers to disperse. Kampala Deputy
Metropolitan Police Spokesperson Luke Owesigyire said the meeting wasn’t in order.
//Cue in; “There was
Cue out…use of force.”//
Even as they
dispersed, some of the vendors pleaded with the government to consider their
plight, saying they are willing to abide by the presidential guidelines to
curtail the spread of the Corona Virus disease.
Voxpop//Cue in; “Kyanatugamba kyona tujja …
Cue out… atuleke tubeere nga tukola.”//
Godfrey Kayongo, the Chairperson of secondhand cloth dealers, said they don’t want to wait any longer.