By Solomon Hamala
Traders operating along Saza road in Iganga Municipality have stubbornly refused to relocate their businesses thereby delaying the construction of the 5 kilometer stretch road.
Speaking to this reporter yesterday 21st April 2021, the Town Clerk Iganga Municipal Council, Ayoub Kisubi said they have been prompted to give the vendors an ultimatum of one week to vacate the road sides of the stretch. He warned that failure by the vendors to cooperate will lead to their prosecution.
He revealed that the delay by the vendors to vacate the road is delaying progress of the work.
“The contractor was scheduled to complete the work in a period of less than three months but they cannot go ahead yet people are still selling goods there,” he said.
Kisubi said the vendors had earlier been given prior warnings to seek alternative places like Abbey Mukwaya, Mutukula markets or relocate to the Iganga main market but they are hesitant preferring selling from outside.
He said any one found selling along the roadside after the one week ultimatum risks being arrested and prosecuted before courts of law for sabotaging a government program.
Kisubi said majority of traders who operate along the Saza road have stalls inside the main market but have instead rented them or given them out to relatives or siblings to use them.
“They are operating outside but have their own stalls inside the main market,” he said.
President Yoweri Museveni late last year commissioned construction of the 5 kilometer road as fulfillment of an earlier campaign pledge following an outcry from members of the public who had blocked him as he went to address a rally at the Iganga district headquarters in 2017.
Majority of the traders said they are willing to vacate the road if they are assured of another secure place to operate from.
Jafferi Kibwika said they have presented their grievances to relevant authorities saying the alternative places they had proposed were not convenient for them to operate from but no one seems bothered.
“These people want us to go and operate from distant places, now who will buy our merchandise,” he argued.
Kibwika said Iganga Municipal Council has been collecting daily market dues from all the traders operating along Saza Road for the past few years and would have used the collections to secure them an alternative place to operate from.
The LC 3 chairman Central division, Hajji Abdu Saleh urged the traders to secure an alternative place to operate from earlier since there will be no room for them even if the entire work is completed.
Saleh accused some selfish politicians of trying to fulfill their interests by inciting traders to protest the decision to vacate the road.
“People have been previously complaining about the poor state of the road and now some politicians are trying to sabotage it,” he said.