Vendors Miss Out On Space In Temporary Arua Market

2430 Views Arua, Uganda

In short
Ismail Jogo, one of the vendors who missed getting a plot at the new site following late arrival, said he would erect his shop by the roadside. He says when they were registered, the Arua Municipal Council officials said they would all be allocated temporary places to shift. He now wonders why many people have been left out and where they will be transferred.

There is anger among Arua market vendors who have missed out on stalls in the new makeshift market near the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM). 

The struggle for the plots follows a deadline for construction of a modern market for Arua Municipality. The initial deadline for the relocation passed on 18th January this year and the second also passed without relocation at the end of the month. 

The municipal council authorities postponed the deadline to the end of March, but when the construction for actual shifting started, many vendors rushed to the new site only to find the stalls all taken up.

Ismail Jogo, one of the vendors who missed getting a plot at the new site following late arrival, said he would erect his shop by the roadside. He says when they were registered, the Arua Municipal Council officials said they would all be allocated temporary places to shift. He now wonders why many people have been left out and where they will be transferred.

"Even if I have not got a place here, I will squeeze these flowers and put my shelter here, because I am not sure if I will get any in other places not yet allocated," Ismail said.

Kalsum Abdu, the female councillor for Oli Division and a member of the relocation committee, said though the allocation was competitive, women who form the majority of the vendors in Arua main Market were given preferential treatment. She says they will try their best to ensure that all traders are given space, even if not at the same place.

Ayikobua Dennis, the assistant trade development officer in Arua Municipal Council, says the council is working round the clock to ensure that all traders get space to put their merchandise. He says funds have already been secured from the World Bank to put sanitary and other essential public utilities in the levelled area near the OPM.

"We called the vendors to come for the allocation of plots in the first area near OPM and unfortunately we only secured 185 plots each measuring 2 by 2 metres for each vendor," said Ayikobua.

He added that the middle quadrangle of the levelled area has been left for those who sell vegetables and petty items while those with merchandise will surround them.

Arua Main Market accommodates about 2,500 traders. The now former market had been faced with congestion, filth and lack of proper sanitary facilities, which was risky for the consumers. It is hoped that the new market will create enough space, have improved sanitation and security of the lock-ups for the traders.

Plans to redevelop Arua main market started in 2010 after the African Development Bank offered to fund its construction but the process delayed due to lack of land titles of the main market.

 

About the author

Franklin Ezaruku Draku
Franklin Draku has been a journalist since 2004. In his 12 years of practice, Draku can say he has covered all the journalism beats that exist.

A Uganda Radio Network (URN) staff member since 2010, Draku is based in Arua. This is his second tour of duty in this area. Draku was URN's main education and environment journalist in Kampala for two years 2014 to 2016.

A Kyambogo University graduate, Draku first worked with Arua district based Radio Pacis in 2004. At the station, he was a production assistant, reporter, producer, and then talk show host. In 2008, he joined Transnile Broadcasting Service for a year.

Draku reports intensively on education, tourism, environment and local government. He has twice been a runner up for the National Journalism Awards in 2013 and in 2014.