Chaos as Park Yard Vendors are Evicted

4997 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Over ten thousand vendors at the Parkyard Market in Nakivubo area in Kampala have been evicted despite being given not more than 30 days to vacate. Parkyard Vendors Market has existed for more than 30 years but has been at the centre of contention between the Board of Trustees of Nakivubo Stadium and the vendors. The Board wants vendors evicted to pave way for re-development into a modern parking area.

Over ten thousand vendors at the Parkyard Market in Nakivubo area in Kampala have been evicted despite being given not more than 30 days to vacate.
  
Many of the vendors state that Police and unknown groups of youths demolished the make-shift market at midnight and threw people's property out.
 
Parkyard Vendors Market has existed for more than 30 years but has been at the centre of contention between the Board of Trustees of Nakivubo Stadium and the vendors. The Board wants vendors evicted to pave way for re-development into a modern parking area.
 
In a letter dated February 20, 2017, Kampala Affairs minister Betti Kamya gave the vendors 30 days to vacate the market. Kamya stated in the letter that Parkyard does not meet the basic requirement as a market. The minister stated in the letter that the market has no sanitary and toilet facilities, is unregulated and therefore a disservice to the gazetted St Balikudembe Market commonly known as Owino.
  
In the letter she also advised the affected vendors to go to other gazetted markets.
  
When URN visited the market, the entire place had been sealed off with iron sheet while all the stalls inside were being demolished.
  
Many of the vendors claim their merchandise was destroyed and stolen by the group of people working with police.
 
Ali Ssembajwe, one of the vendors says he comes all the way from Bombo to sell merchandise in Kampala. He says he was shocked when he was called at midnight that police was evicting people. He says at least they should have allowed the vendors to vacate within the 30 days.
  

//Cue: Luganda "Batuwa enaku…
Cue out:…bali ku masomero."//
  
Shafik Lubega, a dealer in second hand shoes, says he lost everything.
 
//Cue in: "Nina obulumi mu…
Cue out: …mukyala ndage wa."//
  
Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) today afternoon stood over its special sitting for a fact finding mission to Parkyard Market but this did not go well as they were stopped by police.
 
The councillors led by the Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and MPs Mubarak Munyagwa of Kawempe South, Moses Kasibante for Rubaga North, Allan Ssewanyana for Makindye West and Nakawa MP Micheal Kabaziguruka could not meet the vendors.
 
Stick-wielding men beat up several vendors and were also involved in striking vehicles moving as police looked on. Several vendors accused Police of using a gang to enforce law and order.
 
A vendor only identified as Monday says he secured a loan to start up a business at the market, but the eviction means he has lost it all. He says the stick-wielding men should be brought to justice and police should answer why they work with wrong characters.
 
//Cue in: "Abayaye ba kifeesi...
Cue out:...eki baati akyo."//
 
Frank Mwesigwa, the Kampala Metropolitan police commander denied hiring goons goons to carry out evictions. He also explained why the police stopped the politicians claiming they came in a disorganised manner.
 
//Cue in: "Anybody who operates…
Cue out:…are we talking about."//
  
KCCA Deputy Executive Director Andrew Kitaka says the authority is not aware of the eviction. While reporting before the special council today, Kitaka stated that KCCA too woke up to the surprise of the eviction.
 
Attempts to Beti Kamya were futile as her phone went unanswered.

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.