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Arua City Sets Deadline for Clearing Street Vendors



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Arua City Authority has declared a two-week ultimatum to rid the city of all street vending activities. Mayor Sam Wadri Nyakua made this announcement following a meeting with Parliament’s Committee on Public Service and Local Government on March 4, 2024, held at the city hall.

The meeting, chaired by Hoima East MP Dr. Isingoma Patrick Mwesigwa, aimed to provide guidance to the city authority on addressing the challenges associated with street vending. Despite the city authority’s assertion that operationalizing the market act requires regulation, the committee emphasized that existing legislation empowers the city authority to enforce orderliness in the main market.

Committee member Mboizi Arthur Waako clarified that the Market Act grants sufficient authority to the city authority for regulating street vending, emphasizing the need for enforcement to mitigate local revenue losses. Concerns were raised that failure to act would only benefit street vendors, exacerbating the city’s revenue challenges.

Workers’ representative Agnes Kunihira Abwoli stressed the need for immediate action by the city council to address the operationalization of the market using existing laws. MP Mwesigwa emphasized the importance of following the committee’s guidance closely, indicating a forthcoming follow-up on the actions taken by the city council.

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Jackie Kemigisha Kiiza, the urban administrator at the local government ministry, attributed the challenges facing Arua Central Market to administrative issues. She highlighted that the Market Act does not specifically address street vending, indicating the need for a local solution to address the ongoing concerns.

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Responding to the ultimatum, Mayor Nyakua instructed the Arua Central Division town clerk to resolve all street vending and illegal market issues within two weeks. The directive aimed to clean the streets and eliminate illegal markets by the specified deadline, demonstrating a commitment to enforcing existing legislation.

The central division town clerk, Malik Drakuma, expressed appreciation for the parliamentary committee’s guidance, acknowledging their adherence to the law. He emphasized the importance of working within the legal framework to address the city’s challenges effectively.

Meanwhile, vendors have criticized the city authority for alleged collusion with street vendors and operators in illegal markets. Gloria Fiada, the secretary of Arua City Market Vendors Association, questioned the allocation process for market stalls, highlighting discrepancies between vendor numbers and available spaces.

John Anguyo, chairperson for textile vendors, attributed the ongoing challenges to the failure of the city council to implement directives effectively. He emphasized the need for decisive action to address street vending issues and restore orderliness to the city.

Despite numerous interventions and engagements with government officials, some vendors on the upper floor of the market remain dissatisfied with the lack of progress.

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