By Stephen Kalema
Hundreds of vendors were on Monday morning left in misery while others scampered for dear life after Kampala Capital City Authority law enforcement officers descended on them. Tens more were arrested when they were caught unaware in a swoop that was aimed at sweeping all vendors off the streets of Kampala.
The move came after an order last week by Minister of Kampala Beti Kamya, directing that vendors are evicted. Last week’s orders were the second after another set of directives were issued last August. However, then nothing was achieved, and according to Kamya, vendors ‘now thought it had become everyday talk.’
At the Uganda Media Centre last week, Kamya reminded the vendors that the resignation of the outgoing KCCA Executive Director Jennifer Musisi is not a guarantee that they should keep breaking city laws.
“I want to openly inform all city street vendors to immediately leave streets before we remove them by way force,” she said last week.
According to the vendors, deployment started as early as 6:30am but they vowed to continue working on the streets because it is rent free.
Uwiniza Kalera, spokesman of the Twegate vendors and walkers Association challenged the way KCCA is handling them.
“A good leader negotiates but Beti Kamya is not doing right. We just recently celebrated Independence yet what we are seeing is a return to days gone by,” he told Watchdog Uganda.
According to Kalera, the new Usafi market KCCA built for vendors is not enough since they are over 7,000 street vendors yet the market can accommodate a capacity of only 2000.
Amos Kalule, whose goods were impounded but survived arrest expressed his worries over the leadership of Kamya.
“We thought Musisi was bad but Kamya is a real crocodile and I can now tell that we the less privileged are to suffer in her era. We can’t refuse to get off the streets but the Conditions are tight. The market they are sending us is too small and the space is too expensive for us.”