Hoima City’s Street Vendor Surge, City Authorities Under Fire!

Hoima Resident City Commissioner (RCC), Mr Badru Mugabi, addresses the City Development Forum and the city authorities in July 2023. (Image: Samuel Baguma/The Black Examiner News)

The increasing number of street vendors in Hoima City has been attributed to the reluctance of relevant city authorities to enforce by-laws that were designed to relocate them to designated markets.

During the City Development Forum Annual General Meeting, Mr. Badru Mugabi expressed his bewilderment at why the city authorities have allowed vendors to thrive on the streets despite being well aware of the potential hazards of congested walkways leading to road accidents.

He questioned the inaction of Town Clerks and Division Mayors who seem to turn a blind eye to the issue, especially when there are vacant stalls in markets within both East and West Divisions that vendors could utilize instead of crowding the streets with their merchandise.

The RCC also brought attention to Kibiingo market in West Division, highlighting the puzzling decision of vendors to abandon it in favor of street vending.

Mr. Mugabi emphasized the need for action, urging the City Mayor and the City Clerk to forcibly relocate all vendors from the streets to the designated markets. This move is essential to prevent accidents that may arise from human and stock congestion on the streets, and he emphasized that enforcing public order is mandatory.

The RCC reminded the city officials of their responsibility to ensure that government properties and installations are used appropriately, emphasizing the importance of enforcing the law when necessary to maintain order and sanity in the city.

In response, Ms. Sylvia Nalumaga, the Deputy Mayor for Hoima City, conceded that the city authorities have struggled to permanently remove vendors from the streets. She likened the situation to that in Kampala city, where vendors flock and congest roads.

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Despite evicting the vendors from the streets, they keep returning, causing disruptions to businesses in Hoima central market. Ms. Nalumaga alleged that some vendors operating within Hoima central market extend their businesses onto the streets.

She expressed frustration, stating that even if they evict street vendors today, they will likely return tomorrow. The city authorities have put up posters indicating that the streets are not suitable for vending, but some vendors continue to display their merchandise there. Ms. Nalumaga pointed out that sometimes, vendors from markets themselves create branches on the streets, contributing to the high number of street vendors.

Mr. Felix Mugano, the Hoima City Health Officer, raised concerns about the poor hygiene practices among street food vendors. He highlighted the risks they pose to consumers’ health and pledged to collaborate with other city authorities to ensure that street vendors operate in sanitary conditions.

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