"We shall not move out of the market even if they bring teargas"
More than 8,000 vendors who operate in Mbale’s largest open fresh food market have set terms and conditions for the eleven billion shillings African Development Bank funded project to take off. The traders want the development process carried out in phases to avoid mass eviction and provision of an alternative temporal market space.
Kalifani Wakholi, a vendor says mass eviction will disrupt their businesses yet some of them have loans to service.
Kalifani faults Mbale municipal for issuing a deadline for relocation without providing alternative place for the vendors to operate from.
Nathan Khauka, another vendor says they will resist the deadline setup by the council unless the council addresses their concerns like resettling them to a permanent alternative place and carrying out a phased redevelopment.
Khauka says he has operated from Mbale Main Supermarket for the past 25 years and wonders what life will be like if he is thrown out of the market. He vows that they are prepared to resists the eviction planned for 1st of August.
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James Kutosi, the Mbale Municipal Council Spokesperson, says the council ruled out phased construction because of the high costs involved. He explains that the vendors should accept the inconvenience of relocating to an alternative place where they will stay for the next eighteen months.
He says the council will resettle some of the vendors on Lorry Park and Pallisa road.
But the vendors claim that Adolph Mwesigye the minister for local government had advised them to ask the council to show them a land title for the alternative land before they can move out of the market. The claim could not be independently verified.
The vendors have for the second year now resisted the African Development Bank funded project.
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