Food vendors operating outside Makerere in particular have been heavily impacted with the closure of the University as it was through the students who would purchase food items that they would earn income for a living.
Residents of Makerere-Kikoni a Kampala suburb that borders the western part of Makerere University are shedding fresh tears after their hopes of resuming business were dashed by government’s denial that education institutions would soon open.
The government’s denial of allegations of reopening of schools on the 20th of September that was circulating in the media has had a hard blow particularly to hostel owners and food vendors
As the country was caught unaware by the Covid-19 outbreak, schools and Universities were closed as one of the measures to curb the spread of the deadly virus in March. However, this has left many people who depended on these institutions without work and they have been living in hope for the day the re-opening would take place. Now it transpires that this is not about to happen.
Among the heavily hit people in the area are landlords of small rentals. Their suffering has been occasioned by the majority of their tenants failure to play the rent arrears.
According to Steven Bukenya, a landlord in the area, their rentals are largely occupied by students so he has lost half of his tenants as a result of closure of the University.
“Many of my tenants have quit the place because they are students and they cannot continue paying rent yet the University is not going to be opened any time soon,” Bukenya laments.
Other losers are the food vendors who were also left without customers. These used to sell their food to students so the closure of the University came as a nightmare to them.
Mama Paul, a local lady who sells food is also stuck without any customers and laments, “The University was closed, for us who sell food, it was the only way to survive.”
The ministry of education through the permanent secretary on 12th September denied allegations that the government was preparing to reopen schools for candidates and institutions for finalists.
However the Ministry advised the public to wait for the authentic information about the re-opening of schools that will be issued by the Ministry of Education and Sports or the Permanent secretary.