Space constraints in markets push Hoima vendors to the streets

A section of vendors in Hoima City are resorting to street vending due to lack of space in markets in the central business district.

A mini survey by The Albertine Journal established that the sh11b Hoima central Market constructed with funding from the African Development Bank (ADB) under the First Phase of the Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Programme (MATIP-1), is either out of range or is filled to capacity.

The Albertine Journal has further established that the hardships that dealt the business community during the two years lockdown imposed to curtail the spread of Covid-19, a number of businesses opted to shift from commercial buildings into market places.

Peter Jaawe, Chairperson, Rusembe 2 Village said, the move to remove vendors working along the streets gave birth to the recently demolished kiddomoole market.

The vendors who used to congest streets like Fort Portal road, behind Public Primary School, Bus Park and shell service station opposite central Market were shifted into this market for failure to secure a place in the modernised Hoima Central Market.

As a result, the Hoima municipal council in 2015 under the then Mayor Mary Grace Mugasa, entered  a memorandum of understanding with  Business man Francis Kabagambe to accommodate those vendors on his land for 5 years.

This was extended for an extra 2 years, which elapsed with no alternative offered by the authorities.

On May 24, the over 200 vendors who used to operate in Kiddomoole Market were evicted after Kabagambe decided to use his land.

Emmanuel Kankiriho, a resident of kiryateete cell and a street vendor along the Bunyoro- Kitara road, estimates there are more than 1,000 vendors on various streets in the central business district-CBD.

“If the city is to be clean, modern markets should be constructed to keep it orderly. A stable place where they would not be evicted is the best,” he added.

Hanifah Ngambeki of Rusembe 2 who had a stall of perishables in Kiddomoole market said the city authorities instructed them to work along the street but erratic weather, lack of amenities as well as the risk of accidents are a big challenge.

‘’We are worried and tired of evictions, the city council did not give us a specified period of time in solving this. I request that they (city authorities) construct for us a market on a permanent land which is near the CBD,’’ John Kigongo, a matooke vendor said.

To 23-year old Ivan Tusiime, though street vending is cheap, he prefers working in the market because the security for the goods is guaranteed.

He suggested that the city authority should consider constructing a market in Kiryateete because the place has a population required.

Brian Kaboyo, the Hoima City mayor, obliges that they are facing hardships in securing spaces to construct markets due to the speculative price bubble in land and assets due to oil discovery in the area.

He recalls an event after vendors were evicted from Kiddomole market and they engaged the land owner to buy the said one acre piece of land where he asked for sh4b which council could not afford.

“As a short-term measure, we are allowing them to be on streets until a clear and long-term solution is achieved, “Kaboyo added.

Hoima, which was elevated to a city status in July 2019, comprises two divisions; East and West. The new physical plan expanded the city council area from 20 square kilometres to 228 square kilometres with a road network of 606km.

The city is left with semi-permanent markets in Kinubi, Nyarugabu and Karongo wards. 

The Albertine Journal understands that Kinubi market which East Division rents to accommodate over 200 vendors is at the verge of being demolished after the land was sold by the owner.

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