KAMPALA – A total of 3,000 traders operating in three city arcades have petitioned Parliament, saying the wrangle between tycoon Drake Francis Lubega, aka, Young, and the family of deceased businessman Charles Muhangi is affecting their businesses.
Lubega and the Muhangi family are wrangling over the ownership of Qualicel Bus Terminal Shopping Centre and the former was controversially granted ownership of the property last month, evicting the Muhangi family.
However, the traders under their umbrella body, the Kampala Arcaders Advocacy Forum (KAAFO), said they are being forced by Mr Lubega to pay rent for November and December yet they had already paid the money to the late Muhangi.
“On February 20th, Mr Drake Lubega and Mansoor Matovu were forced back as the landlords and through their supervisors, they have instructed all tenants to pay arrears which were [already] paid to Muhangi. This indicates double payments by the traders,” the petition reads in part.
The traders threatened to close their shops and march to State House Entebbe if their grievances are not addressed.
Hajj Hussein Kato, the chairman of Kaafo, urged government to create an account where the tenants can always deposit their rent.
“It is obviously illegal for tenants to be asked to make double payments. We had paid to Muhangi and we can’t pay again. Government should come up with an account where we can always deposit payments and when the rightful owner is determined, he just withdraws the money from the account,” Hajj Kato said.
Mr Lubega and the late Muhangi battled for decades in court over the ownership of Qualicel Bus Terminal and the Bus Terminal Shopping Centre; a conflict that later sucked in government agencies like the Police and the Solicitor General.
President Museveni met the warring tycoons last year in a bid to try and mediate the row and reportedly advised them to pursue an out-of-court settlement but Muhangi died in December before an amicable solution could be successfully explored.