HUYE – Local authorities in Huye town have ordered all hawkers operating within the town centre off the streets or face penalties.
Many of the hawkers are women and youth who sell various merchandise including clothes, shoes and fruits.
Though there are no official figures of hawkers in Huye, it is clear that their number is increasing by the day.
In an interview with The New Times, Pascal Sahundwa, the Executive Secretary of Ngoma Sector, where the town is located, said that those caught selling goods on the streets will have them confiscated and slapped with fines.
“This is meant to get rid of all street vendors and bring order and neatness. We have discussed the issue in security meetings and we have agreed with security organs that we must take measures against them,” Sahundwa said.
“We are determined to stop this because the business is causing losses to traders operating in stalls and shops as well as the state”.
According to Sahundwa, goods seized from the hawkers are donated to various orphanages, hospitals and other vulnerable people in the town.
He urged hawkers to form cooperatives to help them rent space for their activities.
“We have always advised them to get together and operate legally. Many of them are young people who instead of engaging in illegal activities can join their hands to develop themselves. We have examples of cooperatives which have helped their members to improve.”
A female hawker who spoke to The New Times on condition of anonymity said that they are still on the streets because they cannot afford to rent stalls in the town’s market.
“We will only stop operating on the streets the day authorities give us affordable places. We cannot afford the high charges in the market, it is beyond our ability,” the mother of one said.