KCCA extends deadline for street vendors to vacate city

Fruit vendors along Nakasero market street in Kampala, Uganda
Fruit vendors along Nakasero market street in Kampala, Uganda

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Kampala City Resident Commissioner-RCC Hussein Hud has said that street vendors have until 10th January 2022 to vacate the streets and take up available space in markets.

Hud who was addressing the press at the Uganda Media Center says that vending and hawking is illegal and no one should take government laxity to enforce against the illegal act for endorsement.

Earlier this month, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and the office of the RCC asked street vendors to vacate city in a week’s time but in vain. They resorted to sensitizing vendors through passing messages on public address systems but still achieved nothing if not minimal success as streets are still crowded with vendors.

Hud says if vendors wish to sell merchandise in Kampala, they should get working space in arcades, shops and city markets where they shall be licensed to operate their business. He says working on the streets not only congests the city but robs government of revenue since street vendors and hawkers do not pay licenses to operate.

Hud says that street vendors and hawkers should leave the streets peacefully before they are forced to do so.

There are hundreds of streets vendors and hawkers in Kampala operating on different streets. But mostly, they are found in the central business district selling food stuffs, utensils, stationary, clothes and shoes among other items.

Hud says that with the current threats of terrorism, the existence of street vendors and hawkers possess a security threat to the city as terrorists could disguise themselves as vendors to cause harm to people. He adds that criminals engaging in petty offenses like snatching bags and phones from people on the streets could also disguise as street vendors or hawkers.

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But Isma Mubiru, a hawker and the chairman Fuba Tukola Hawkers and Vendors Association says that they shall not leave the streets until KCCA has a clear plan for them. Mubiru says that KCCA gives them conflicting information, at one moment they are told to leave the streets and then later told that KCCA would allocate them specific streets to operate from.

“For us we have no problem working from 4pm. But we are not ready to leave the streets just like that. We also want to work,” said Mubiru before adding that several of his colleagues cannot afford getting space in arcades around town.

KCCA has made several attempts to get vendors off the streets but in vain. Vendors leave and return minutes after law enforcement officers leave. Last week, KCCA started a sensitization campaign asking them to leave the streets and go to markets like Usafi, St. Balikuddembe and Owino but the streets are still filled with vendors.

KCCA is working on a street vendors and hawkers ordinance which will provide for licensing and organisations of the trade. The vendors and hawkers would be limited to specific streets in specific divisions and at specific times, according to the ordinance. The ordinance still in the offing is seen by vendors as the only way government can work together with them.