UGANDA, Soroti | Real Muloodi News | Business at the new Soroti Market came to a standstill following a clash between the police and Joan Acom Alobo, the Soroti City Woman Member of Parliament.
On October 26, the Member of Parliament, flanked by a group of Soroti City Council leaders, had gone to meet with market vendors and its Executive members to discuss the problems faced by the business community.
Alobo was to hand over items such as aprons to the vendors to have a clean business community.
According to Alobo, on Monday, she reportedly sought permission from the Resident City Commissioner, City Internal Security Officer and the police authorities to visit the market and talk to the vendors.
However, she was surprised to find the police deployed heavily to block her from accessing the market. The police blocked the entry points, leaving the MP out, which caused a verbal exchange between her team and the police.
The vendors blamed the police for blocking the legislator from talking to her voters for no apparent reason.
According to the Commander of the police officers on the ground only identified as Eilu, their superiors directed them not to allow Alobo and her team to access the market.
“We shall not allow you to enter the market right now. We have been told you have no permission to access this place, so go back and get permission from the East Kyoga police regional headquarters,” Eilu told Alobo.
However, MP Alobo argued that she had informed all the authorities about her visit to the market.
“On Monday, I informed the Resident City Commissioner, City Internal Security Officer and the police about my visit to the market, so who has given you the power to block me from talking to my constituents?” Alobo questioned the officers.
Meanwhile, according to Peter Pex Paak, the Soroti Resident City Commissioner, he had told MP Alobo to seek guidance from the City Internal Security Officer and the City Clerk.
When talking to the reporter on the phone, the East Kyoga police Spokesperson Gregory Oscar Ageca said that they could not allow Alobo to address the vendors because of Covid-19.
“We know that the president banned social gatherings of over 200 people and by allowing the legislator to address the vendors who are over 1000 in number, totally violates the presidential orders,” Ageca explained.
Ageca also added that with the terror attacks happening in the country, they could not allow gatherings.
“We also have fear, now that the country is experiencing sudden bomb attacks by yet to be identified perpetrators, anything may happen,” Ageca added.
In her response, Alobo blamed the police officers for politicising the matter. According to her, they blocked her from visiting the market because she was from the opposition.
“I had planned to pass my message to the vendors using the Radio address system connected inside the market premises,” Alobo said.
The legislator’s visit comes a week after Raphael Magyezi, the Minister of Local Government, gave the City authorities a grace period of three weeks to resolve the mess of allocating space to vendors.
The minister demanded the city authorities give him the list of market vendors currently occupying stalls at the Main Market. The minister’s directive followed allegations by the market vendors that the space was allocated to city officials and unknown vendors.
After failing to get a spot in the new market, some dissatisfied vendors took the council to court, seeking compensation of over one billion shillings.
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