CHANGING FACE: Traders Fear Eviction from Source of the Nile

Vendors operating at the source of the Nile in Jinja municipality are worried of possible eviction following the approval of a new development plan by the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage.

The vendors operate stalls from where they sale local crafts and various merchandise to tourists and residents. Last week, the Tourism ministry approved a new development management plan to change the face of the Source of the Nile. The development plan provides for the improvement of infrastructure at the source of the Nile, Re-branding and marketing.

Grace Aulo, the Director of Tourism says they expect to implement the plan within six months once approved by parliament. However, the approval of the development plan by the tourism ministry has caused fear of a possible eviction amongst vendors. Rehema Kagoya, a crafts vendor is worried that they could be evicted to pave way for redevelopment of the area.

Kagoya says they have been left out of the transition process and were never consulted on the management plan.

Currently, the vendors pay 20,000 shillings each month for the spaces they operate from. Kagoya says that after the redevelopment, the rent may shoot up after the redevelopment and push many of them out of business. Steven Kagende, the secretary crafts traders at the source of the Nile says they should be considered since they have been operating there for a very longtime.

Despite the fact that there is no plan to evict the vendors yet, David Kyasanku, the town clerk Jinja municipality says there is need to allocate the vendors a permanent place to operate from.

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