Mbale – The police and UPDF soldiers in Mbale City engaged in running battles with vendors from the Kikindu market in Namakwekwe, Mbale who were selling second-hand clothes contrary to presidential COVID-19 directives.
The joint security sweep was prompted by the gruesome flaunting of the anti-COVID-19 SOPs set for the reopening of markets barring roadside vending.
“They did not have face masks and were not maintaining physical distancing yet the weekly markets are still closed. The vendors had displayed their merchandise on the pedestrians’ walkways prompting the police and UPDF soldiers to disperse them,” an officer revealed.
Ronald Waniaye, a vendor, says that authorities have failed to lobby food items for vendors who were affected by the lockdown.
“We resolved to open businesses as a means of saving their livelihoods and families contrary to the presidential directives,” said Waniaye.
Musa Mude, another vendor says that government should devise means of lifting the lockdown from the markets as part of their stock is expiring in the storage facilities
.Mude adds that, save for lack of food, most vendors lack funds to service their loans and the continued stay away from their workplaces will affect their financial strength to sustain the already struggling business enterprises.
Arafat Kato, the acting Mbale police commander says that the numbers within the market were overwhelming and they came in to boost police operations.
Kato further advised vendors to patiently wait for the presidential guidance in his phased lifting of the lockdown.