Vendors operating from Hoima central market on Tuesday, January 31, 2023, briefly closed the market protesting power disconnection and the consequent water crisis leading to poor sanitation.
The vendors complained that the disconnection resulted in denying them using the washrooms since there was no water for flashing the toilets; prompting them to close the market for fear of contracting diseases transmitted through poor sanitation.
Mr Favour Ssentamu, one of the vendors in the market, said vendors, buyers and motorcycle taxi riders staging around the market use the same flash toilets adding that disconnecting electricity makes the market unhygienic since they all use the same washrooms for nature’s call.
He wondered how the city authorities accumulated more than Shs16m in arrears of electricity bill yet they paid to zero balance.
“Electricity and water are vital in keeping the market washrooms in a hygienic way because one has to flash the toilets after easing themselves there. Right now, the flash toilets are full to the brim because of lack of water to flash away the fecal matter. Buyers, sellers and motorcycle taxi riders staging around this market use these washrooms. We pay taxes of all sorts including rent and electricity to the authorities but we wonder that power and water are disconnected. Let the authorities come out openly and expose tax defaulters in this market,” he said.
Mr Edward Mujuni, another vendor, said although they engaged the Hoima East Division city clerk for action against the disconnections and poor sanitation in the market, nothing positive yielded.
Mr Milton Asiimwe, the Hoima East Division city clerk, admitted that there was power and water disconnections in the market, urging the vendors to calm down as the authorities worked on the matter.
He said the system of spending money changed adding that once collected, it is taken to the Bank of Uganda before it is sent back to the district after some delays yet services have to be offered without delay.
However, the clerk promised that the accumulated electricity bills will be settled as soon as the Bank of Uganda wires the money to the city account.
The Hoima East Division Resident City Commissioner (RCC), Mr William Donanto Kasigazi, said he negotiated with Umeme to reconnect the market in addition to discussing with the city council authorities to ensure that the market is streamlined for better operations.
The market was later opened and business resumed as normal.