Traders Count Losses as Authorities Enforce Ban on Outdoor Market Vending

By Lawrence Mushabe

There has been a scuffle on Friday morning between outdoor market vending traders at Abayita Ababiri  in Katabi Town Council and authorities including Police and the Law enforcement officers at Katabi town council as the later blocked people from engaging in large crowds.

The efforts are part of an initiative by the authorities to implement President Museveni directives on the prevention and control of the spread of COVID-19, a disease caused by the corona virus.

Some of the measures President Museveni announced on Wednesday this week included the avoidance large crowds including the participation of large groups of people in market vending.

DPC Baker Kawonawo (left) leading an operation to halt all outdoor market vending PHOTO BY GSA

It is upon such background that Police and the town council enforcement team halted all outdoor market vending operations that engage large crowds of people. The outdoor market vending operations happen every Friday at Abayita Ababiri along the Entebbe expressway and in Kawuku every Saturday.

Police led by the Division Police Commander for Entebbe Baker Kawonawo and Katabi Town Clerk Paddy Kakumba immediately stopped the market vendors from engaging in any activity on Friday morning on grounds that it would promote the spread of corona virus.

It is understood that Uganda has not registered any person testing positive to the corona virus infection. Paddy Kakumba the Katabi Town Clerk says, all traders had agreed with authorities that all outdoor market activities will be halted for 32 days.

“We wonder why the people we agreed with not to hold any activity instead opened markets and crowds which easily increase chances of our people to contract the corona virus,” Kakumba says.

Entebbe Post has established that a notice was issued on Thursday 19th March suspending outdoor market vending in a bid to prevent the contraction of COVID-19, a disease spread by the corona virus.

The spread of such disease started in December last year in Wuhan, a city in China, in Central Asia. More than 6000 people have been killed by the pandemic across the world.

Several countries including the United States, Italy, United Kingdom and all East and Central African countries have been affected by the virus except Uganda.

Among the measures used to control the spread of the disease, the World Health Organization recommends that all countries control the entry and exit of people within the different countries, screening of travelers and immigrants, use of preventive measures including the spraying of sanitizers to prevent the acquisition of the virus.

Several traders upon being blocked from vending wondered why government which has not registered any case of infection started blocking people from engaging in any business.

“Instead of blocking us from working, Government ought to strengthen visibility on all boarder points to avoid the entry of people who test positive. We have bank loans and all our merchandise is rotting away,” says Ibrahim Ssemakula, a trader in Katabi town council.

More than UGX 300 million has been lost due to the suspension of outdoor market vending by traders and the town council inform of taxes.

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