KAMPALA – Traders in Kampala have warned President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni that they will stage a massive protest in the city center if their demands were not met by July 13.
The announcement was made by the traders’ leaders who had gathered in Kampala on Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Addressing reporters, the leaders who had a backup of Makerere University researcher Dr. Stella Nyanzi said the government should immediately open arcades and boda bodas and also announce a relief package for traders affected by a coronavirus.
Their demands included increase waiving rent and taxes and increasing working hours.
“If the demands are not met we have decided to hold a protest starting July 13,” the traders announced.
The traders say they have lost both money and goods mostly those who deal with perishable products.
Police have since arrested a number of traders including Kampala Woman Member of Parliament hopeful Dr Stella Nyanzi.
In his recent address, President Museveni said arcades would remain closed because they pose a bigger threat in spreading COVID-19 pandemic.
He reasoned that the premises accommodate overwhelming numbers of people including clients and traders.
Owners of arcades, including Mr. Hamis Kiggundu, Mr. Sudhir Ruparelia, Mr. Godfrey Kirumira and Mr. Rashid Ssemambo, have told the government that they are not ready to waive rent arrears for their tenants.
According to the landlords, they have bank loans that they are paying on top of paying utility bills such as water and power for the buildings.
The landlords made the revelation while meeting Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde late last month.
Ms Kyambadde was conveying his message from the President, in which he was appealing to the landlords not to demand for rent arrears of three months when the traders have not been working due to the lockdown over Covid-19.
However, Mr Kiggundu said they can only give ample time to the tenants to pay their arrears but not forgiving them.