Katuna Vendors Reject Proposed Relocation Site

1302 Views Kabale, Western Region, Uganda

In short
The vendors and kiosk owners who have been operating alongside the main road have for the last three months battled with the authorities who want them to vacate the main street to a new piece of land located along Katuna Rubaya road.

 Vendors in Katuna Town Council have rejected an alternative space given to them by the area leaders citing security fears.

The vendors and kiosk owners who have been operating alongside the main road have for the last three months battled with the authorities who want them to vacate the main street to a new piece of land located along Katuna - Rubaya road.

There are more than 130 kiosks in Katuna border town, which host shops, bars and eating joints. Some of the kiosks are reportedly used as lodges by commercial sex workers, who target long distance truck drivers plying the Kampala-Kigali route.

In December last year, Katuna town council authorities resolved to evict the kiosks in a move to decongest the area. Some of the kiosks are found on the roadsides and in front of major shops and hotels.

The vendors have however teamed up to reject the relocation arguing that the council must first remodel the proposed site with murram and a wall fence to guarantee their safety and security.

Jonathan Arihihi, one of the vendors says that Katuna Town Council needs to extend water supply and toilet facilities to the proposed venue before pushing vendors to work in unacceptable conditions.

Vicky Kyarisima, another vendor says that the leadership of the town council wants the vendors to use their own money to put up wooden stalls on top of paying 50,000 per month as ground rent. She says the tendency depicts exploitation.

But Katuna Town Clerk Eric Sunday says that the money in question will cater for the extension of services to the new market place. He says there is a short-term plan to renovate the existing toilet facility while awaiting plans for the construction of a new one.

He however adds that the issue of the dues is not negotiable.
 
//Cue in: "where we are....
Cue out:....from their kiosks:"//
 
Katuna Town Council Chairperson Elvis Nzeirwe accuses the vendors of politicizing the relocation. He says that the town council being a gateway to Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic republic of Congo must be organized to meet international standards.

He says that thousands of tourists visiting Bwindi National park who use the Kanombe airport in Kigali connect through Katuna and that this demands the town council to meet their expectations in terms of cleanliness and organisation.

 

About the author

Anthony Kushaba
For Anthony Kushaba, journalism is not just a job; it is a calling. Kushaba believes journalism is one of the few platforms where the views of the oppressed and margainalised can be heard. This is what his journalism aims to do: bring to light untold stories.

Kushaba is the Mbarara region URN bureau chief. Mitooma, Ntungamo, Bushenyi, Sheema, Isingiro, and Kiruhura districts fall under his docket. Kushaba has been a URN staff member since 2012.

Kushaba is a journalism graduate from Uganda Christian University Study Centre at Bishop Barham College in Kabale. Before joining URN, Kushaba worked with Voice of Kigezi (2008), Bushenyi FM (2010) and later on to Voice of Muhabura.

Kushaba's journalism interests centre on conflict, peace and electoral reporting. Kushaba occasionally writes on tourism, health, religion and education. He describes himself as highly driven and will pursue a tip until it yields a story.