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Hawkers, Street Vendors banned from Kampala starting next year

Roadside Vendors on a street in Kampala (Photo/Courtesy)

KAMPALA, UGANDA: All vendors and street hawkers will not be allowed in Kampala City starting next year (2022), Government has announced.

While addressing journalists on Thursday ahead of the busy festive period, Kampala Resident City Commissioner (RCC), Hudu Hussein revealed that hawkers and vendors must find markets where to operate from as they will not be allowed in the city beginning next year.

“All vendors and street hawkers should make arrangements to find markets where they will operate from. Starting next year, KCCA (Kampala Capital City Authority) will not permit street vending and hawking. The City needs an upgrade,” he said.

RCC Hudu said people share pictures of cities of the countries around East Africa comparing them with Kampala, and insulting Uganda’s leadership for a “substandard capital city.”

“We have heard your insults and cries. As you see, those cities to which you compare Kampala, do not have vending and hawking on streets because the Governments there drove them off the streets. So, the vendors and hawkers on the streets should be aware of next year,” he stated.

The RCC noted that Kampala’s streets and pavements are not for trading, adding Usafi Market was constructed to cater for such hawkers and vendors which they do not want to occupy. “Relocate to Usafi or Wandegeya markets in peace before you are forced to do so,” Hussein said.

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He said street vendors have until 10th January 2022 to vacate the streets and take up available space in markets or else face forceful eviction.

Earlier this month, Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA and the office of the RCC asked vendors to leave the streets 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.

“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.” Adding that 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.

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.

Hudu 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.


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