The police have cordoned off Park Yard market along Nakivubo Mews in Kampala as demolition of stalls went on inside the market.
Traders who had come for their usual business in the wee hours were dumbfounded, view finding their workplace cordoned off with iron sheets as police heavily-guarded the place.
Many of them were seen making frantic calls to friends and relatives whereas others stood in disbelief in what looked as the end of the road for them.
Over 10 police patrol vehicles and two trucks full of anti-riot policemen are deployed around the former market.
“By 2:00 am when I came for work, there was nowhere to pass to access my merchandise. The place had been cordoned off,” says Hadijja Namutebi who deals in household items.
“It is the end of the road for me because it was the only source of income I had and now all my property is gone.”
Traders in the market blamed the authorities for not giving them enough time to enable them relocate to another place, saying the 30 days given by the Kampala Minister Beti Kamya was a small period.
Kamya on February 7, 2017 gave a 30-day grace period for traders at the Park Yard market to vacate the place, saying it belongs to Nakivubo Stadium.
“At least 3 months would be suitable for us. Why then did they vacate us before the given date elapsed,” wondered Elias Kasozi who deals in second had bags.
“I had 4 stalls from which I was collecting money for my 6 children. Recently I had injected over Shs 10m in the business after acquiring a loan from the bank. I am now returning to the starting point.”
Other traders cried out to President Museveni to come to their rescue by taking into consideration the interests of the local people other than a few investors.
“How can over 10,000 people be evicted because one businessman wants to develop the market? Where is the president to save his electorates,” noted Hadijja Namutebi.
“We have now realized the true meaning of the slogan Kisanja Hakuna Mchezo. Let us return to villages because we can no longer afford to live in Kampala.”
Efforts to reach out for a comment from police proved futile as no one was available for a comment.
“ I can’t speak to you .Talk to my bosses,” said a one ASP Ssempija who was at the scene.
The Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Emilian Kayima and his Deputy Paul Kangave were too not available for a comment.
“Paul and I are out of office this week. Please do not bounce at our office, ”Kayima said in a message.
Lukwago Summons Crisis Meeting
Meanwhile, Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago has summoned a crisis council meeting to discuss the way forward for traders in the now demolished Park Yard market according to Doreen Nyanjura, the KCCA LC5 Woman Councilor for Makerere University.
“It is a special council sitting summoned by the Lord Mayor to discuss the way forward after the minister issued orders for traders to vacate the market,” Nyanjura told ChimpReports in a phone interview.
“It is high time we dropped diplomacy because the Kampala Minister seems not interested in such a procedure of solving issues amicably. We need to employ other means now”
Meanwhile, inside the market, some activity of demolishing the stalls is seen ongoing.