Kampala City Hall Court yesterday, February 26, charged a group of street vendors with offences relating to trading without a valid licence within the city.
Five women, believed to be of Karimojong origin appeared with their breastfeeding babies before Grade One Magistrate Patrick Tarisuna.
Two of the accused pleaded guilty to the offense and were sentenced to a caution and suspended sentence of six months.
The other three were sent on remand at Luzira prison until this Friday, March 2.
State Elijah Ndamurani informed court that he would amend the charge sheet to include charges of child trafficking.
The group were arrested this afternoon from areas of Mutundwe in Makindye Division, Kampala, following an operation carried out by KCCA law enforcement officers .
According to the charge sheet , the accused are engaged in illegal selling of groundnuts, mangoes and biscuits along the streets.
Last week, KCCA spokesperson Peter Kaujju told PML Daily that the authority is to screen all street preachers, beggars and street children amid reports that some of them are criminals who are terrorizing unsuspecting members of the public.
Mr Kaujju said that they have received various complaints from the public that some street preachers and children between 10 and 18 years have participated in several murders and aggravated robberies in Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono districts.
Mr Kaujju added that the authority reached out to church leaders who send preachers on the streets and they agreed to issue identity cards to all of them, showing their churches of origin in order to eliminate criminals.
PML Daily has discovered that street begging has become a lucrative business, with men, women and children now increasingly hitting the streets in different parts of the city.
Originally, it was young children begging at traffic lights and streets, especially on William Street, Ben Kiwanuka and Dastur streets in downtown Kampala. However, adults have joined the trade, with expectant mothers and men now fighting with young children.
According to Mr Kaujju, most of the beggars are persuaded to come to Kampala for employment while the children are promised sponsorships. But when they find these not available, they are forced to beg on road sides.
Rachel Akol a street girl we talked to said she was brought to Kampala by a family friend to attend school but to her dismay, she was made to work as a housemaid.
Mr Kaujju adds that they have tried to take back some of these people to their homes but they return for what they term as “greener pastures in Kampala”.
He said then that KCCA were organising an enforcement drive to arrest these beggars and arraign them before courts of law since most of them are mentally and physically fine, which gives them no reason to beg.