Henry Kajura, the Second Deputy Prime Minister, has clashed with authorities in Hoima Town Council over the demolition of illegal buildings in the western Uganda town.
On Monday evening a team of town council officials, law enforcement officers and police raided Hoima Central Market and demolished all illegal kiosks in and around the market. The vendors had earlier been warned against erecting the makeshift wood and iron sheet structures, most which are built on road reserves or outside the gazetted market area.
The demolition action caused commotion in Hoima Central Market and as soon as the vendors heard that Kajura was in town, they appealed for his help.
The vendors told Kajura, who is also Minister for Public Service, that they did not receive adequate warning to vacate the illegal buildings. They claimed that property and merchandise worth millions was destroyed in the demolition.
In response, Kajura ordered an immediate halt on the demolition. He said the action was implemented hastily without consideration of those whose livelihoods depended on sales made in the illegal structures. The deputy Prime Minister added that it was against government's Prosperity for All program to suffocate those in the lower rungs for the economic strata.
Kajura's order, made during a public gathering in the market square, drew waves of praise with the vendors jubilating and chanting praises in his name.
Speaking to journalists shortly after that, the LC3 chairperson of Hoima Town Council, Francis Atugonza, stuck to his guns, vowing that the demolition would continue. He said the removal of all illegal structures was done in line with regulations from the Ministry of Lands and Urban Development and that unless instructed otherwise, they would be destroyed.