Police in Kamuli district used live bullets on Thursday to disperse vendors, who were illegally trading in Kamuli taxi park without authorization from municipal authorities.
The vendors who deal in food items and snacks were given a notice to peacefully vacate from the said premises in July and occupy spaces allocated to them in the main market. However, they ignored the directive, until the police rounded off the taxi park and directed them to vacate but, they instead retaliated by pelting stones at law enforcement enforces.
As the crowd became rowdy, the police personnel also fired live bullets in the air to disperse them resulting in running battles, which left the vendors injured and some of their merchandise destroyed. Asinah Nabirye, one of the affected vendors says that the taxi park was the only open space where she could easily sell her tomatoes because she does not have a permanent stall in the market.
Badiru Ntange, another vendor says that his working capital is too small to support a stall in the market. He explains that he has a capital of about 1.2 million Shillings, yet permanent stalls in the main market cost between 300,000-500,000 Shillings each which is financially constraining to his business.
Twahir Waiswa, the chairperson of Kamuli Taxi Park Vendors’ Association asked the municipal authorities to allocate them permanent working spaces where they can easily access their clients without congesting the taxi park. He says that there are about 350 traders dealing in different merchandise.
Meanwhile, the acting Kamuli district police commander, Bob Mugisha denies allegations that police officers participated in destroying traders’ merchandize arguing that they were just backing up municipal councils’ enforcement personnel to evict the vendors.