By Spy Uganda
Kampala: More than 2 million Ugandans are at risk of losing their sources of income after authorities ban hawkers in the countryside.
Minister of Security Maj. Gen. Jim Muhwezi said the government banned hawkers from moving around villages because they are a source of insecurity.
He issued instructions to local government leaders and representatives to ensure immediately that hawkers do not operate anywhere in the country.
Muhwezi said the government received information that there are criminals moving around villages, especially in the Western region, masquerading and pretending to be hawkers or traders.
“This practice of moving in villages selling items should not be allowed as it’s a source of insecurity. Those who want to do trade should do so in trading centers,” Muhwezi said on Jan. 11 in a letter to district security bosses.
But the deputy chairman of the National Hawkers Association, Simon Kizza Kizito, said on Tuesday that the move may backfire.
“We have over 2 million registered hawkers all over the country. They all have been earning a living from hawking goods but now they have nowhere to work,” said Kizito.
He said insecurity might increase because those who have been made jobless will likely resort to getting involved in theft and robbery.
Hawkers, mostly youth, have been walking around villages and towns carrying an assortment of items, including plastics plates, cups, chairs, clothes, shoes and food items.
More than 30% of youths in Uganda are unemployed, according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics.