Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA has closed Kenyatta Market in Kawempe divison along the Kampala-Bombo highway.

A team of KCCA law enforcement officers descended on the market on Wednesday backed by police and the army and asked the more than 1000 vendors to vacate immediately as part of the ongoing smart city campaign.

The eviction of the vendors paralyzed traffic flow in the area resulting in heavy traffic buildup stretching from Tick hotel to Kawempe and Maganjo to Kawempe as well. Traffic police worked tirelessly to manage the traffic flow.

Police arrested the market chairperson, Yunus Mutebi, and another person only identified as Saka for resisting the eviction and whisked them to Kawempe police station. Jacob Ssemakula, one of the affected vendors told our reporter that the market was started by reformed youth in Kawempe division.

He said that the government would have relocated them to another area instead of evicting them.

Swaib Kavuma, another vendor, said that he has a loan to pay and school fees for his children and doesn’t know what will happen now that he has been evicted. According to Kavuma, his entire stock of fruits was destroyed during the eviction.

Sulaiman Lubuuka, another vendor, said that their eviction is likely to escalate crime levels in the area because many vendors have responsibilities and have to survive.

Teddy Najingo, another vendor says that decision to enforce the smart city campaign by KCCA is good but they would have warned them to transfer their properties and merchandise early enough.

In 2016, President Yoweri Museveni donated Shillings 100 million to Kenyatta Market Vendor Sacco to boost their activities. He donated a similar amount to the Wekembe market, which shared a border with the Kenyatta market but is found in Nabweru Sub-county in Wakiso district.

Wekembe market was the brainchild of the late Kampala Archbishop, Cyprian Kizito Lwanga. During the eviction, KCCA enforcement officers tried to evict the vendors in the Wekembe market promoting them to raise up in protest.

It took the intervention of Nabweru division mayor, Kasimu Jumba to explain to the KCCA team that the market was outside their jurisdiction.

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