A two-day strike by Kampala traders gets underway with most shops in the city reportedly closed. Businesses in Kiseka market, Nabugabo road and Kikuubo lane are all closed. In Wandegeya, only supermarkets are open including Delight Supplies and MM supermarkets.
The traders, under the Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) are staging a strike on Wednesday and Thursday, to protest against government’s failure to control the depreciation in the value of the shilling against the dollar.
The traders met trade minister, Amelia Kyambadde on Monday in an effort to put of the strike but the meeting appears to have yielded no results. KACITA spokesperson Issa Ssekitto yesterday said they wanted to meet President Yoweri Museveni but instead met minister Kyambadde. He noted that their concerns have not been addressed and they are therefore pushing on with the strike.
Our reporter in Kampala says businesses in Kiseka market, Nabugabo road and Kikuubo lane are all closed. In Wandegeya, only supermarkets are open including Delight Supplies and MM supermarkets.
Police has deployed heavily on most of the business streets in the city. Our reporter says policemen are seen carrying guns and batons while police vehicles patrol the streets.
Early in the morning, KACITA reportedly dropped leaflets in different parts of Kampala detailing eight reasons to support the two day strike. These include the high dollar rate, the taxes levied by Uganda Revenue Authority, the annual trading licenses, and high government expenditure. The others are allowing foreign investors in retail business, investors who operate without proper registration or licensing and lack of government action on investors who mistreat their employees.
The traders are also complaining about high rent they are charged, which they say is paid in dollars. They also argue that the garbage collection fees charged by the city authorities are high. According to Michael Nyanja, the executive member of Kikuubo business community says each trader in Kikuubo pays 9000 shillings per month as garbage collection fees. He adds that the traders wanted to collect their garbage and charge each trader a monthly fee of 3000 shillings but Kampala City Council refused.
Some truck drivers in Nabugabo, who earn a living by transporting merchandise from the city to different parts of the country, were caught off-guard as they turned up only to find stores closed. Michael Nsabimaana had yesterday loaded mattresses on his lorry hoping to get more merchandise to transport to Kasese. But all those who promised him business never turned up this morning. He is now stuck with mattresses and says it does not make economical sense to drive to Kasese. Other drivers were seen just moving about in Nabugabo.