A dream for a smart city, Kampala to regain its status; Vacating Street Vendors for the Price of Kampala Smart City
For a long Kampala has looked like the most disorganized city in the country and in the East Africa region. The city is crowded and decorated by street vendors dealing in various merchandise among which include fruits, veggies, textile, and utensils among so many others.
Late in 2021 the Kampala capital city authority (KCCA) together with the office of the Resident City Commissioner (RCC) bubbled up a warning and gave all Kampala city vendors a deadline to vacuum the city streets. And advised them to rush and occupy the almost empty markets of Mandegeya and USAFI.
Considering my first article about Roadside vending in Uganda, just highlighted roadside vending though didn’t look through the challenges of street vending.
Feeling pity for the many street vendors who have survived on the streets of Kampala, the right application had to be considered to ensure that the city regained its real stature. The smart city should always be thought about with the unpartisan or political mind. It should be noted that the unrealistic political stature of Kampala has cost the city a lot where agreements have failed on what solution to stabilize the city.
For the efforts of “THE SMART CITY”, the city authority together with the RCC office and with the help of the security organs and the street group of youth who were putting smart city shirts on 16th of January 2022, invaded all the city streets to ensure that no vendor report back on the streets.
With police truckers lined up on almost every street in Kampala where every vendor who had resisted their merchandise was confiscated and some of the vendors were arrested and taken to city hall court. It looks like bad news for the vendors but the however consideration, of the licensed traders who are renting spaces in very expensive arced, malls and various shopping buildings it was worthy that vendors are vacated from the Kampala city streets.
The street vendors were operating illegally and leaving them on the streets was becoming a city chronic challenge. In the process of considering there a number of promises from the government of vacating the public taxis and Bodaboda from the city center and replace them with city buses with aims of reducing the traffic stagnancy in the city.
Supporting vacating street vendors
These same people had attracted a number of robbery activities who have used the unnecessary crowding to rob ladies’ handbags, pickpocketing, steal phones, etc.
They have become a standing block for licensed traders who seat in their rented spaces and end up completing a day without any sale. Yet the street vendors are not licensed, don’t pay any rent, as well pay the URA taxes but at the end of the day are targeting the same clients.
Affecting the traffic flow where a number of street vendors have blocked roads not allowing the normal flow of traffic causing unnecessary endless traffic jams on all the streets of Kampala.
Blocked all pedestrian roadsides, as the city authority is striving at improving the infrastructure of the city especially roads, where they are constructing roads with walkways, but the street vendors have ended up blocking all ways around the city.
And being the capital of Uganda, there must be a code of conduct, why should be known as Africa’s most disorganized city.
Some roads are designed for special and can’t be used for such; Namirembe road stretcher to Lumu Street was designed for cycling and walking only and vendors had blocked the road completely.
For such reasons, the vendors seem to cost the renewal of Kampala to city status. Many Ugandans who have had a moment in Rwanda’s Kigali capital remain wandering how the city shines and it’s void in Uganda. This could be a chance to experience another phase for a smart city.
Kampala streets that had suffered street vending chronic are Ben Kiwanuka Street starting from Entebbe Road formerly known as Shoprite to Arua Park, Namirembe Road, Lumu street, William street, Mutasa Kafero, Kampala road, Entebbe Road, among others.
As the government is striving to clean the cities, hope some efforts should be used to ensure that housing across the city center is improved.