“A woman whom we are yet to identify opened a kiosk in this area yesterday (Friday). She hired electricians to illegally connect power in her premises, which I highly think might have been the main trigger behind today’s electricity circuit,” he said.
The vendors who deal in food items and snacks were given a notice to peacefully vacate from the said premises in July and occupy spaces allocated to them in the main market. However, they ignored the directive, until the police rounded off the taxi park and directed them to vacate but, they instead retaliated by pelting stones at law enforcement enforces.
The vendors note that since most commodities are scattered along the different streets within Jinja town, most people prefer buying from the street vendors instead of wasting their time to enter the shops or market.
Umar Musoke, one of the vendors who lost properties in the fire, says that they heard a big blast from the neighbouring kiosk, prompting all vendors to converge in the fire assembly point. He adds that not much was saved as they fled to save their dear lives from the flames which destroyed food items, beverages and electronics.
For the past years, the district headquarters had been turned into a market due to the high number of vendors, who camped adjacent to lands and education departments. Some had constructed makeshifts and kiosks yet while others sold their products in the parking yard.
Karadi, the chairperson of a nine-member committee which was on Tuesday instructed by the Jinja town clerk, Ambrose Ochieng to be a caretaker of the association ahead of next month’s elections, was blocked by vendors who argued that elections of the market leadership should not be influenced by security officials and municipal authorities.
The roadside vendors had been evicted by Mpumudde division authorities following complaints that they were blocking access to the Amber Court market. Instead, the vendors took to the streets to protest against the eviction on grounds that they had no alternative place for their operations.
Jinja Hospital administration has issued a notice of eviction to all kiosk owners. The Hospital Director Dr Edward Nkurunziza says that the hospital received 3.5 billion Shillings from the finance ministry to construct staff quarters in the area. Dr Nkurunziza says that the construction is due to start next month.
Museveni said traders should pardon him for abandoning them, but hastened to argue that they should also ask to be pardoned since they were the first to abandon him when Uganda opened the curtains for elective politics in 1996.
Some of the items on display during the three day event included caps, t-shirts, sandals, drinks and Rolex. The vendors paid rent to Nile Discovery Resort Beach management and owners of the spaces they were operating from.
They explained to the legislator how they have been surviving on the streets and employing several youths. The vendors also claimed that they had moved far away from the road reserve but were surprised to see a tractor destroying their businesses.