Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA enforcement officers are intensifying operations to get vendors off the streets.
The enforcement teams are being assisted by a group of youths especially male donning reflector jackets with inscriptions, Smart City. These are guarded by security personnel from the Field Force Units and ordinary Police.
The team confiscates merchandise and bundle it on a truck. Wooden boards and stools used by vendors in their trade are broken and loaded on a Fuso truck, not a pickup as has previously been.
Herman Segawa, a vendor along Namirembe Avenue says since the week began, the law enforcement team has been on the streets every day to confiscate merchandise from street vendors, those who resist are arrested and taken to City Hall Court.
But Segawa, says that they cannot leave the streets because they have nowhere else to work from. He says that the markets like Usafi and St. Balikuddembe to which KCCA wants them to go are filed up.
Segawa, a father of six says that he needs his job now more than ever to enable him to take his children to school.
Another vendor, Gerald Mukalazi says that on the streets, it’s where they work to earn and sustain their families. He says Usafi Market is outside the business area of town and hence attracts a few customers.
Mukalazi, who once owned working space in Mukwano Arcade says he ran bankrupt more than four years ago and was forced to operate from the streets where he doesn’t need to pay rent.
The Deputy Spokesperson of KCCA, Robert Kalumba says that all vendors should go to the markets because it is not sustainable to operate illegally on the streets.
He adds that following the presidential directive, KCCA no longer collects fees from the vendors. Kalumba says there is working space in Usafi that street vendors can occupy.
Kalumba says they shall continue sensitizing the vendors to acquire space in markets and work in a more organized environment.
But Isma Mubiru the Chairman of Fuba tukole Hawkers and Vendors Association says that KCCA should organize vendors to improve their operations within the City rather than chase them off the streets.
He referred to the Street Vendors and Hawkers Ordinance that they were working with KCCA which has since 2018 not been concluded. The ordinance has provisions like the designation of streets for vending, time for vending, and licensing vendors in different divisions of Kampala among others.
Mubiru says vendors are ready to abide by the ordinance when it comes into force.
Kalumba says, KCCA also plans to roll out Sunday markets in different divisions of Kampala.
The vendors have also raised concern about the brutality of the law enforcement team, especially pointing fingers at the youths working with the team.
On Tuesday night, there was a fight between the youth and vendors. Mukalazi says that the youths working with KCCA came to confiscate merchandise from vendors who resisted and they responded with force to take the merchandise.
Mubiru says these youths carried sticks and stones which they used to fight with street vendors who also retaliated hurling stones at them.
The youths are also accused of assaulting two journalists Brenda Namale from Vision Group and Ponsiano Mukiibi of BBS TV.
Mubiru says that although the KCCA law enforcement team also has a record of brutality, the youths who are working with KCCA are violent and present no character of professionalism in their work.
KCCA says that they will investigate the allegations.