By Solomon Hamala
Reluctance by roadside vendors to halt operations along Saza road in Iganga municipality has delayed the completion of renovation work on the 2.1 kilometer stretch contracted to DOTT Services.
The over 2500 roadside traders have on three occasions been given notices to vacate the road to enable the contractor finalize on renovation work on the 3.5 billion road project in vain.
DOTT services was supposed to have completed work on the road in August last year but has been delayed as a result of failure by the road side traders to vacate.
According to an official of DOTT services who spoke on condition of anonymity since he is not authorized, majority of the traders destroy work that has already been done making the contractor incur double losses.
“Instead of using the available resources to do some other work you are forced to first make repairs where necessary,” he said.
According to the source, the road is expected to have an island in the middle beautified with flowers besides having solar powered security lights installed after every ten meters.
Renovation of the road is a fulfillment of President Yoweri Museveni’s campaign manifesto in 2016 after travelling along the road as he headed to the district headquarters for a rally.
Following public outcry from members of the public especially traders who complained of the poor state of the road at the time, President Museveni promised to carry out the renovation to enable farmers easily transport their produce for sale in the main Iganga central market.
The Mayor Iganga Municipality, Bamu Lulenzi urged traders to voluntarily vacate the street to enable the contractor complete work on the road before handing it over to authorities.
“Am even afraid we might lose this offer yet it was in the final stages,” he said.
Lulenzi said he has on several occasions urged the traders to vacate the street but suspects they are being influenced by some politicians who want to fulfill their selfish interests.
“Whenever you talk to them they respond positively but later change, “he said.
The outgoing town clerk Iganga municipality, Ayoub Kisubi said weak law enforcement had made it difficult to implement council resolutions to have the traders vacate the streets within the agreed period of time.
Kisubi said majority of traders who own stalls within the Iganga central market have also decided to operate from outside during late night hours creating huge traffic jams along the road during rush hours.
The district police commander Iganga, Kenneth Muheirwe said the roadside traders risk their lives since they are likely to be run over by fast moving vehicles heading to either direction.
However the traders who spoke to this website said they have resolved not to vacate the street unless Iganga municipal council secures an alternative area where they can operate freely.
According to one of the traders, Safina Namukose, a potato seller along Saza road, there are few stalls within Iganga central market yet customers prefer buying from outside to avoid the foul smell caused by stagnant water in Iganga central market.