Lira market vendors decry poor market conditions

Vendors in Lira central market have come out to decry the poor working conditions they are subjected to.

The outcries come a week after President Museveni passed a number of directives aimed at slowing down the spread of the deadly COVID 19 cases.

The President ordered vendors in the different markets across the country especially those selling foodstuffs to start sleeping in the markets.

Vendors in this market though have said that the conditions in which the market is in are not conducive for them to live there.

Lack of proper sanitary conditions, electricity, flooding are some of the reasons that these vendors have raised.

It’s also said that majority of the vendors are single mothers and others are suffering from HIV which requires them to get medication on a daily a thing they can’t properly do with this directive.

Nancy Akako a market vendor said that they also had their own worries back at their homes.

“Some of us are renting and we have young girls at home yet some of our neighbors are not good people. Don’t you think they are going to defile these girls and many of the girls will conceive.” She said.

Despite this market costing government Ugx 28 billion to construct in 2015, it has a number of structural issues that vendors feel are a hindrance.

These vendors say that every time it rains, the market floods due to poor drainage.

They went ahead to say that there are no bathrooms and all toilets have been tendered out.

However, despite these concerns raised by vendors, the authorities say that some of those raised are beyond their control.

Bazil Edwoko the chairperson of the market vendors said they handle minor issues and the rest should be tasked to the government.

“The issue of water and electricity should be discussed by the government because I don’t have answers for it.” Edwoko said.

He also talked about the issue of road side vendors who have proved a problem to both the authorities and vendors inside the market.

Edwoko said that their jurisdiction stops at the vendors inside the market and those outside can challenge them.

Lawrence Egole the RDC urged the vendors to observe the SOPs

“They need to adhere to the SOPs. They need to have hand washing facilities and soap which majority of them already have. Above all we have been testing them. We have been doing the rapid diagnostic test and we have done it three times so far. Whoever we find positive with corona, we remove them from the market and advise them on what to do.” Egole said.

However, some vendors argue that though sleeping in the market could help in the curbing down of the spread of COVID 19, it was not logical enough.

These argue that there is no difference between them and people who are coming from home. They went ahead to argue that people coming from home can carry the virus and spread it to them.

The vendors are also still awaiting the mosquito nets which the president directed the relevant authorities to give out to them.

Authorities have however threatened to close the market if these vendors do not follow the Sops.

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