LIRA CITY: Most vendors in Lira City have returned to the streets barely a month after they were evicted.
The Lira City Council issued an eviction notice in March 2022, ordering all vendors to leave the streets and stop selling various items on verandahs and along walkways. Vendors were told to go to markets that had been set up in the two parts of the city.
However, most of them, especially those selling fruits such as avocados, tomatoes, and bananas, and those selling foodstuffs like fresh cassava and vegetables, have since returned to the streets. On Noteber and Oyam roads in the middle of Lira City, they can be found right now.
Some of the vendors were unhappy with the cleanliness and location of the markets that had been approved by the government. They said the government should instead give them empty spaces inside the main market where they can run their businesses.
Florence Adyero, who sells cassava along Note-Ber Street, says accessing stalls in the junior quarter’s market is very hard because the entire market is constructed with only the main entrance and exit without access points in between the stalls.
Chris Odongo, the chairperson of the Lira City Street vendors’ association, says most of the vendors will resort to criminal activities, especially when they fail to make money from the gazetted markets.
But Sam Atul, the Lira City Mayor, says in a telephone interview that operating any kind of business along the street is now a criminal offense punishable by law.
“We agreed that people should leave the walk way and whoever is still conducting business along the walk way is committing an offense because that is what we agreed on before they left the streets. As for the changes they want to make to the structures of the market, it will be a process because we found the markets constructed like that, so changing them will take time.
While Morris Chris Ongom, the President of the Lira City Development Forum, said that the city should talk to vendors about how they can solve the problem through dialogue instead of forcing them out.
“I know there are stubborn vendors; there are those who listen and those who do not want to listen. But it is good to keep talking to them, “added Ongom.