Vendors protest over looming eviction


Vendors operating in Kumi road market in Mbale town, have protested against plans by the Municipal council to evict them.

The vendors under their association, Kumi road vendors and traders, took to the streets on Monday to protest the council’s decision saying it was inconsiderate and cruel.

The angry vendors matched in a procession in the town heading to the office of Resident District Commissioner (RDC) as they chanted slogans disapproving the council’s decision.

The market located behind Kumi road has more than 800 vendors who risk being evicted.

Mr Mohammed Balamya, the vendor’s chairperson, said they decided to protest and petition the office of the RDC to intervene because the leadership did not exercise the rule of fairness.

“They want to evict us to pave way for development of this market but we were not consulted in the first place and they have not told us what next after the eviction,” he said.

According to the letter dated Oct 2, 2018, signed by the deputy town clerk, Mr Kenneth Khatuili, the vendors were ordered to vacate the said market within a period of two months

“Failure to comply shall leave us with no option but to demolish the illegal structures,” the letter read in part.

Mr Ayub Mafabi, another vendor said the municipal council would have instead given the vendors a chance to develop the market instead of allocating the plots to themselves.

“The law clearly mandates that sitting tenants be given the first priority to develop the market but in this incident, that was not done,” Mr Mafabi, said.

Mr Kamadi Mudebo, another vendor describing it as sad decision, said their leaders have no sympathy and will to support for ordinary people.

“When we complain, the council leaders do not want to listen,” he said.

The Mbale Municipal Council Mayor, Mr Zandya Mutwalibi, however, advised the vendors to forward their grievances to his office for proper management instead of protesting on streets.

“This shouldn’t be cause for alarm. We just want to re-organise the market,”Mr Zandya said.

The Mbale Resident District Commissioner, Mr James Shilaku, advised the traders to remain calm, saying the council is run by people who value and understand their plight.

“The leaders in the council know that traders have to be given first priority and even consulted before any matter of development of the market can be adopted,” he said.

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