The recent eviction of roadside vendors in Masaka municipality threatens preparations for this year's African Day of Decentralization and Local Development in Uganda.
The day, initiated by the African Union in 2012, aims to remind citizens, in all African countries, of the importance of decentralization in the development of the continent.
This year's events for the day will be hosted jointly by the eight districts that form the greater Masaka region. It lists a series of activities that will climax with a festival at Liberation square, Masaka municipality on August 10.
Prior to the festival, Masaka municipality will hold a city carnival in Katwe-Butego division. The carnival, the first of its kind in the town, will cover the areas along Edward Avenue, Elgin Street, Kampala Road, Hobert Street and Yellow Knife. All roads will be closed to traffic.
In preparation for the event, Masaka municipality authorities have cleared the streets and evicted all roadside vendors. A number of illegal kiosks were also demolished in the process.
But Youth activists under the ‘Youth for National Salvation' pressure group are accusing the local leadership of mistreating them in preparation for the event.
Faisal Sseruwagi, the youth Councillor for Kimanya-Kyabakuza Division, says many youths have been rendered jobless. Sseruwagi says a number of youths, who were previously operating from the roadside, had their merchandise confiscated and stalls demolished by the authorities without any notice.
//Cue in; (Luganda) bwebanga nga basobola…………
Cue out…………batuyita bayekera//.
Augustine Bukululu, the chairperson of the youth group also condemns the use of excessive force during the eviction of roadside vendors.
However, Masaka Municipality Deputy Town Clerk Edward Kiwanuka Gwavu says he is not aware of any financial loss caused in the eviction, explaining that they issued vacation notices to all vendors to pave way for the ongoing preparations.
But Masaka Resident District Commissioner Joe Walusimbi warns youth groups against any attempts to interrupt the ongoing preparations and the event. He adds that the eviction is part of the measures to restore sanity in the municipality, which they are committed to sustain.