Masaka traders defy eviction order

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Masaka traders defy eviction order
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Roadside traders operating in  Masaka city have said  they will not vacate their current place of business despite an eviction order from Minister of Local Government Raphael Magyezi.

The order, issued late last week, mandates the relocation of over 600 traders from Broadway and Kyotera roads in the Kimanya-Kabonera division to government-built markets.

"We are tired of being treated like foreigners in our own country," said Quraish Lukyamuzzi, chairman of the traders.

"The markets they want us to move to, like Masaka Central Market and Nyendo Market, are too narrow and not suitable for our business needs. We are not getting out of here unless they show us another place that is suitable for our goods."

Juliet Nakayemba, another trader, cited a lack of proper sanitation facilities as a significant issue.

"There are no pit latrines inside the Masaka Central Market. They tried to build flush latrines, but they are in a dangerous state and not working," Nakayemba explained.

Teddy Nakamooli, a 63-year-old trader with three decades of experience, accused leaders of displacing established traders to make room for younger ones.

"I cannot climb the ladders with my goods on my head to take them upstairs where they are telling us to operate from. We have to fight so that we do not vacate from here," Nakamooli asserted.

Officials from the Ministry of Local Government, along with Masaka leaders including RCC Hudu Hussein, enforced the eviction, deeming the current market operations illegal.

"We cannot allow taxpayer money used to build these markets to go to waste when all the stalls are empty and vendors decide to operate their businesses on roadsides," RCC Hudu emphasized.

However, traders argue that frequent evictions disrupt their livelihoods.

"We are ordinary people looking for today's food," stated Ibrahim Bogere, another traders' chairman.

He accused some local leaders of being behind the evictions while not utilizing the designated markets themselves.

Traders appealed to Masaka City Mayor Florence Namayanja Mukasa for intervention, claiming she initially directed them to their current roadside locations after their eviction from Edward Avenue.

"We want the Mayor to understand our plight and show us a viable solution. No one will evict us from here except Mayor Namayanja," the traders expressed.

Despite the official stance, government-built markets like Nyendo and Masaka Central Market remain underutilized.

"There is electricity, water, CCTV cameras, no sunshine, no rain, but we don’t understand why traders refuse to go to the markets," commented Minister Magyezi, highlighting the paradox of the empty facilities built with over Shs. 30 billion of taxpayer money.

The traders, who typically work on Thursdays and Fridays, have faced multiple evictions from various locations, including a brief period on Edward Avenue. They have vowed to remain in their current market until a satisfactory resolution is found.

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