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Tear Gas, Live Bullets Rock Mbale Town as Vendors Protest Closure of Central Market

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A team of police officers led by Mbale District Police Commander, Fred Ahimbisbwe deployed in the morning to prevent vendors from entering the market in line with the directives from the COVID19 District Task force.
Police at Mbale Central market

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There were running battles between Police and vendors protesting the closure of Mbale Central Market on Tuesday morning. 

A team of police officers led by Mbale District Police Commander, Fred Ahimbisbwe deployed in the morning to prevent vendors from entering the market in line with the directives from the COVID19 District Task force.   

 

On Monday, the Mbale District Taskforce chaired by the Resident District Commissioner, Sulaiman Barasa Ogajo decided to close the market until Thursday on grounds that the vendors had failed to comply with the presidential directives aimed at curtailing the spread of COVID19. 

This morning, a number of fresh food vendors tried to access the market only to find it heavy police protection. The vendors wanted to continue working, saying the closure of the market will affect their livelihood.

Rogers Taitika , the Elgon Region Police Spokesperson, says the vendors were warned against coming to the market but they insisted and tried to operate forcefully prompting police to repulse them. 

He says police had to fire teargas and live bullets to disperse the vendors.   

//Cue in: “FE nga abakwasaganya amateeka….     

Cue out:…okuma ebintu byaabwe”//  

Bashir Wamono, a fruit dealer in Mbale Central market, says the closure of the market was very abrupt, arguing that the authorities could have first warned them.   

//Cue in: “Enyanya zigende….   

Cue out:…”//    

Joel Madanda, another vendor says they had come early to remove their merchandise from the market to save it from rotting.  

Mzee Abdul Wekoye is worried that his lemons and oranges that he had just ferried to the market will rot during the lock down.  

He wants the authorities to rescind their decisions since the vendors have now learnt from their mistakes and promise to follow the guidelines.    

//Cue in: “Kati teyinza kutambula….  

 

Cue out:…eteeka liba teeka”//      

While announcing a countrywide lockdown, President, Yoweri Museveni listed a raft of preventive measures against the corona pandemic including enforcement of social distancing, hand washing with soap and water or alcohol based sanitisers.

Recently, government threatened to close several markets including Kalerwe and Busega citing the failure by the vendors to implement the corona virus preventive measures.

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