Gambia: Vendors Reoccupying Roadsides, Street Corners

Vendors are re-occupying roadsides and street corners following the nationwide road clearing exercise by the National Road Authority.

The nationwide road clearing exercise, which was conducted by the authority in collaboration with the Gambia Police Force and sister agencies, as well as road safety stakeholders, relevant ministries, and agencies commenced on October 19, 2023.The exercise was meant to expel vendors who were illegally occupying road side and street corners with their goods.

However, some months after the eviction of the vendors, they are now returning to the road sides and street corners with goods.

"I have to come back to this place to sell because I have no other place to go and sell my goods and I have to earn a living. This is my only source of living," Fatou Saho, a road side vendor at Serekunda Market,said.

She was evicted from her place some months ago, but she has now returned to her usual selling spot. She said she sells at the roadside because the main market is full to capacity.

"I have been looking for canteen but I still couldn't get one," she added.

Another street corner vendor in Serekunda market, Ida Ngum, said she has no choice but to come back to her usual spot to sell her goods.

"Since I was evicted from this place, I couldn't earn any penny to cater for my living because my source of living was cut off," Ngum said.

She added that her family faces serious financial challenges since her eviction from the roadside.

"My children go to school and they need food to eat. Where am I going to get that as a single mother? I earn my living from this road side selling," she lamented.

She said even if the security forces evict them from the road side again, they have to come back because they have no place to sell their goods.

For her part, Musu Kebba Suso said government needs to carefully look into the matter as the vendors are facing difficult times.

"Things are already difficult in this country and forcing us out of business is not helping," she said.

She said they are poor and vulnerable, and really want government to provide them with places to earn their living.

"But the government is not helping nor giving us any alternative or opportunities to make living. This is not helping the country. The government needs to reconsider its decision on this matter," she said.

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