The Kampala Resident City Commissioner, Hud Hussein has distanced himself from “smart city”, one of the youth vigilante groups purportedly enforcing law and order in the city.
The youths who often wear black T-Shirts and light green reflector jackets with the inscription “smart city”, have in the previous days been seen enforcing law and order in the city alongside law enforcement officers from Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA and police.
The group which has been involved in operations to evict street vendors has been accused of operating unprofessionally, beating vendors, and destroying their property.
Addressing journalists at the government-owned Uganda Media Center, Hud said smart city is not one of the groups they use to enforce law and order in the city.
He explained that they use professional people working with different security agencies during their operations. According to Hud, they are yet to establish who is behind “smart city”.
Last week, a fight erupted between street vendors and smart city members after the latter came to evict street vendors in the night and confiscate their merchandise. The following morning, the youths returned again to evict the street vendors armed with sticks and clubs. The two groups fought leaving a few people injured. The Deputy KCCA Spokesperson, Robert Kalumba then said they would investigate the event. Now, the RCC says they are yet to know who these people are and what their terms of operation are.
Hud says when one hears the name “smart city”, they think of the group of people working professionally yet there are reports to the contrary. He says the KCCA law enforcement is done by authorized law enforcement team helped by other security agencies.
He gave an ultimatum to street vendors and hawkers to vacate by January 16, 2022. He says if they don’t comply, the vendors “shall be helped” to go off the streets. But this is not the first time the RCC is making such statements.
Last year, he gave a ten days ultimatum, which didn’t work and he extended it to January 10th, 2022, which also didn’t work. He has extended it again. Hud says that they are avoiding using force, which explains the repeated deadline extension.
Isma Mubiru, the chairman of Fuba Tukole Hawkers and Vendors Association, says that KCCA should work on the ordinance, which was drafted to guide operations of hawkers and street vendors in the city. The ordinance provides licensing of street vendors and designating streets where they can operate from and time among other provisions.