KAMPALA —The Kampala City Resident Commissioner (RCC) Hussein Hud while addressing the press on Thursday, December 23 at the Uganda Media Center in Kampala, announced that street vendors have until January 10, 2022, to vacate the streets and take up available space in markets.
Hud noted that vending and hawking is illegal because it congests the city and robs the government of revenue since street vendors and hawkers do not pay licenses to operate.
Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) official Hud said if vendors want 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 noted that the government has provided space in markets including Usafi and Wandegeya for the same purpose.
Most of the vendors in the city trade in small household items including clothes, kitchenware, pastries, beverages, shoes, fruits, vegetables, among others.
With the current security threats of terrorism, Hud said 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, adding that criminals engaging in petty offenses like snatching bags and phones from people on the streets could also disguise as street vendors or hawkers.
Over the years, KCCA has made several attempts to get vendors off the streets but in vain. In August this year, State Minister for Kampala Metropolitan Area Kabuye Kyofatogabye ordered all street vendors and hawkers to go and operate at USAFI Market but not on lanes roadsides and streets. “I want all vendors to go and operate in designated areas, not the streets where they are causing congestion,” the Minister told media. “We are taking initiatives to decongest the city and we all agreed with KCCA that vendors should go off the streets,” he added.
Those that persisted were arrested by the authorities and taken to City hall where they would be charged for disobedience, while others vowed not to leave the streets due to lack of capacity to afford rent expenses and taxes, and also the fact that they were afraid of losing their customers.
Despite Government efforts to get rid of street vendors by constructing new markets and renovating existing markets in various city suburbs, street vendors remain unmoved, and street vending continues to flourish on the streets of Kampala and other cities like Mbarara.