Barely a week after the Kampala Resident city Commissioner (RCC), Hudu Hussein issued a one-week ultimatum to traders in Kikuubo business centre to adhere to the set standard operating procedures (SOPs) intended to curb the spread of Covid-19, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has razed more than 100 makeshift stalls as the authorities move to check the crowding in downtown Kampala.
The vendors got enraged as KCCA demolished all metallic and wooden stalls that had been erected on verandas.
Fredrick Wamala, who sells curry powder haplessly, looked on as KCCA law enforcement officers carried away his stall within a few moments of his payment of Shs 500,000 rental fee.
“They stormed the area without warning and asked us to remove the merchandise immediately or risk losing it,” Wamala said.
Many fumbled to take away their merchandise as the enforcement team brought down stalls and loaded the material on their trucks.
Wamala looked confused as he pondered his next move, saying he was uncertain how he would fend for his family now that his job is no more.
Winnie Nalukuuma, a dealer in sanitary ware and toiletries expressed bitterness over KCCA’s failure to alert them to prepare their exit.
“KCCA should have enforced the standard operating procedures like social distancing and washing of hands,” Nalunkuuma said, further blaming the government for lacking a clear strategy to deal with COVID- 19.
Sam Muyomba, the spokesperson of Kikuubo traders, says that they were equally taken by surprise when KCCA started bringing down stalls. Last week, Kampala Resident City Commissioner, Hudu Hussein held a meeting with the leadership of Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) when they launched a sensitization campaign against COVID-19 among traders.
During the meeting, Hussein warned of the crowds in Kikuubo, saying the center would be closed if they failed to control crowds. KACITA held sensitization campaigns using sound systems and asked businesspeople in Kikuubo to be vigilant and observe the SOPs set by the government to control the spread of COVID-19.
The vendors enhanced vigilance by ensuring that everyone accessing the business center washed their hands and has their masks on. The numbers, however, seemed uncontrollable as hundreds of people keep entering Kikuubo for shopping. Muyomba says that they do not know at what point KCCA and the RCC decided to evict stalls in Kikuubo. He hoped that KCCA would ask vendors to maintain social distance and de-congest the roadway in Kikuubo.