Businesses Remain Closed For Fear Of Protests In Torit

This article was last updated on May 26, 2022

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A number of business operators in the market who expressed disappointments over the matter blaming the Mayor who ordered for their relocation from the present disputed marketplace to another newly established Torit Model Market, closer to the UNMISS within Ilangi residential area.

It is alleged that on Saturday 9, a group of the area inhabitants moved door to door at Omoliha Market ordering the business operators not to open their shops or businesses today so to allow demonstrations to take place in the entire town of Torit Capital over relocation of the Market.

The group, according to the sources who pleaded not expose their names, revealed to Gurtong they have no problem except they fear attacks because they were ordered to obey their advice not to open businesses.

The newly appointed Mayor Stephen Osfaldo Lobali had tried to organize the market for development by relocating the vendors from the currently messed up market to the recently established Torit Model Market.

The Deputy Mayor Marko Lokitoe Lokuta confirmed the incident describing it a strange concern that has ever witnessed in the history of Torit town.

He accused a group led by William Eddy Mute for instigating the current disturbing matter saying he deceives Nyong Payam residents to follow his wrong thoughts which could easily cause confusions and confrontations with the government.

He revealed businesses have been instructed to reopen.

Last week, Omoliha Market vendors stormed Torit Municipal Council Mayor’s Office demanding that the mayor should buy all their commodities as part of compensation due to absence of customers at the new Model market where they have been relocated.

Carrying with them their wide-ranging vegetable goods up to the office of the Mayor, the group also demanded the Mayor office to provide ready shops at the newly built Market in order to enable them simultaneously lodge and put up their goods for sale.

Despite the issued Order, the group also insisted that the distance to the new market, Torit Model Market, is extremely far from human settlements and is equally isolated without reliable customers to buy their products.

In response to their cries, the Deputy Mayor Marko Lokitoe insisted that the order must be respected the way it was ordered saying all the vegetables the vendors are possessing be moved in order to be sold at Torit Model Market.

He warned, failure to do so, will force the office of the Mayor to take tough measures against them.

The Torit Municipal Mayor issued a local order directing vegetable vendors, butcheries and groceries to move from Omoliha Market to Torit Model Market.

The relocation of the Vegetable Vendors, Butcheries and Groceries from Omoliha Market to Torit Model Market took effect from 1st November, 2013 and should have been completed within seven days, according to the standing order.

The market was constructed by the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), through the UN Development Programme (UNDP), with support from South Sudan Recovery Fund (SSRF) through donation from a Multi-Donor Trust Fund, and was officially opened in November 2011.

The governments of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Norway provided contributions to the SSRF.

The new market serves as a “model” for constructing marketplaces, with set infrastructure standards.

The market is equipped with separate blocks for vegetables, fish and meat, and has accessible storage facilities for surplus goods.

It is enclosed in concrete perimeter fence; the market has its own elevated water tank, a borehole and a pump, as well as separate blocks for wash areas and toilets.

The model market and the road equipment were part of a US$ 2.6 million livelihoods project intended to address the lack of market infrastructure, increase crop productivity and facilitate commercial development in Eastern Equatoria.

The state is one of the three ‘Greenbelt States’ in South Sudan which the government is developing as the country’s food basket, by boosting its commercial agricultural production.

Currently, South Sudan is dependent on basic commodity imports from neighbouring countries.

The facility would strengthen local trade and commerce, enhance the market infrastructure and build the capacity of small producers and traders, with a particular focus on women.

Further, food storage facilities were built to ensure surplus goods are safely kept for selling on the next market day.

Six storage facilities were constructed in Magwi, Lafon and Budi counties with the Management and upkeep of these facilities being turned over to the women groups.

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