By Innocent Anguyo
After a full year of eluding Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) law enforcement officers, vendors operating at night in the Old Taxi Park have been driven out.
On Saturday, the KCCA law enforcement officers ambushed the vendors when they stormed the crowded taxi park through all exits points, giving the unaware vendors hardly any chance to flee and hide their merchandise as they usually do.
The evictees sell a wide range of stuff, including fruits, vegetables, stationery, cooked food, snacks, drinks, clothes, electronics and many more, which turns the taxi park into some sorts of stuffy maze.
Even on the sides of the crumbling stairs around the park, vendors utilize that valued space to sell their goods, making movement in and out by people difficult.
Often times, a number of cases of petty theft have been reported in this congested area.
Besides the dust and poor drainage system, littering is another problem. Peelings of fruits, decaying vegetables, used polythene bags, waste paper and many more items compete for ground space with the people.
But strangely the taxi drivers and touts working in this decades-old taxi park have decried the evictions, saying the activities of the vendors did not affect their operations in any way.
According to the chairperson of the Cooperation of Taxi Operators and Drivers Association (COTODA) Mustafa Maymbala, the vendors only sold items to passengers in the evenings when most conventional markets have closed.
“Since KCCA has just opened their new market [Usafi Market] at Kalitunsi, they want everyone to go there. So the evictions are just an excuse to leave the vendors with no choice but to move to their new market,” said Mayambala.
Mayambala said the rent per stall at the new market which he said is sh120, 000 per month is too much for the vendors whose monthly profits may not reach half of the rent.
Some vendors have shunned moving to this new sale point partly because of the high fees.
However, KCCA spokesman Peter Kaujju said the authority is just implementing the directive of the executive director Jennifer Musisi that vendors be evicted from areas in the city that are not designated markets.
In September 2011, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) ordered all illegal vendors and hawkers to leave the city streets indefinitely on ground that they posed a security threat to the city.