CONFRONTATION: Police and KCCA law enforcement officers engage in running battles with city vendors

Early this month Kampala Affairs minister, Beti Olive Kamya announced she wanted vendors off the city streets, a decree that was opposed by Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) councillors led by Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago.

And, in a resolution passed yesterday, the councillors unanimously passed a resolution to grant limited access to vendors to operate on some roads in the city centre.

They agreed that there was need for trade order in the city but added that vendors had a right to trade albeit as licenced traders.

But just less than 24 hours after the resolution was passed, police and KCCA officials are involved in running battles with the street vendors as the security personnel try to enforce minister Kamya’s directive.

Police has fired bullets in the air to disperse the rowdy traders. There is heavy deployment of police on all streets and business is still paralyzed. Over 30 vendors have been arrested while some enforcement officers were also beaten up, with stones hurled at them as they ran for safety.

It will be recalled that at a press conference at the government’s Media Centre early this month, Kamya said the leadership of the city was concerned about the mess in Kampala.

“We are concerned about the mess in the city, especially the street vendors…..We understand these vendors need to be helped out but politicians have always betrayed us by ordering vendors back to the streets. However, after the report is completed, we shall map out a plan to accommodate the vendors elsewhere but not on the streets,” Ms Kamya said.

She added that she would unveil a committee to investigate the wrangles in the city markets because most of street vendors say that they can’t work from there.

“In two months’ time, we shall have got a report, which will definitely guide us on how to evict these vendors and how we could restore sanity on Kampala streets. In two months’ time, we shall not allow any street vendor on the streets anymore,” Kamya, a former opposition activist-turned-minister, said.