Vendors have turned the streets of Mbale into an open air market. All major streets in the town are flooded with merchandise, spread across the busy walkways.
The confusion is further aggravated by noise generated from giant speakers used by the traders to attract customers to buy their merchandise. At Naboa Road, an entire walkway stretching for close to three hundred meters is covered by merchandize ranging from shoes, fresh foods, second hand clothes to electronics and movies.
Jude Masaga, a vendor along Naboa road says that they resorted to the streets because they do not have money to pay for lockup space. He says that most of the vendors on the streets usually work for wholesale dealers. Masaga explains that wholesalers give them merchandize which they sale on the streets and are in return given a commission.
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Salim Ibrahim another trade says they are operating on the streets because the makeshift Kumi Road Market which they were told to go to during the period when the Main Mbale Supermarket is undergoing reconstruction is out of the central business district.
Salim says it’s out of fear of losing customers that they are now operating on the streets.
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But other traders who operate in shops are complaining that the vendors are inconveniencing them by blocking access to their shops. Naume Kanyunyuzi who deals in hardware says the vendors have made him lose customers because they have occupied the parking space where her customers usually park.
The traders however blame the municipal authorities for failing to evict the vendors from the streets. James Kutosi the Mbale Municipal Spokesperson says the council was yet to make a decision