Masaka Traders Shun KACITA Strike

2952 Views Masaka, Uganda

In short
Traders in Masaka have opened their shops despite the state of a country wide strike announced by Kampala City Traders Association-KACITA to protest the high interest rates.

Traders in Masaka have opened their shops despite the state of a country wide strike announced by Kampala City Traders Association-KACITA to protest the high interest rates. In 2010, Bank of Uganda increased the Central Bank Rate-CBR to 23 percent in an attempt to control the high inflation in the country. As a result, commercial banks also hiked their interest rates drawing protests from members of the business community and other borrowers.

Recently, Kampala City Traders Association-KACITA issued an ultimatum to Bank of Uganda to control reduce the interest rate. But their pleas fell on deaf ear after Emmanuel Mutebile, Bank of Uganda governor said the central bank would not intervene. This morning, city traders decided to close their shops for three days to compel government to respond to their concerns.

Last evening, KACITA distributed leaflets in Masaka warning traders there against opening for business today. But despite the warning, several traders in Masaka have opened for business as normal. Four super markets, Smart Shoppers, Downtown Super Market, Bonny Assay Super market, and several grocery shops in Masaka are open with business going on as usual. Several other traders along Kikuubo, Kayondo plaza, Buddu plaza, and Hobart Street have also opened their boutiques.

Henry Busulwa, chairperson Nyendo Traders Association accuses the super market owners in Masaka town led by Hajji Badru Bbale of being NRM agents who don’t care about the plight of other Ugandans. Busulwa says that the majority of boutiques in Katwe-Butego division have opened for business which has frustrated their call for Government intervention to reduce the interest rate.
Hajji Badru Bbale, the owner of Smart Shoppers declined to comment on why he opened in defiance of KACITA. Last year, Bbale was attacked at Masaka central Mosque for defying a similar call by KACITA not to open for business. Lawrence Byakatonda of Byakatonda and Sons Limited says that, he opened his shop because he is not concerned about the complaints. Byakatonda, who deals in clothes, explains that since he did not borrow money from the bank it is useless for him to join the trader’s strike. He claims that he started his business using his personal savings.

According to Byakatonda, with the land lord demanding for his rent money and children set to return to school, he cannot close his shop because he wants to get money to clear several bills. All banks in Masaka have opened for business. Noah Sserunjogi, the Southern Region Police Spokesperson says anti riot police is patrolling the streets to ensure that the peaceful strike does not turn violent.


About the author

Edward Bindhe
Bindhe prides himself on being a part of the society he writes about. He believes there is no way a journalist can understand his society unless it considers him a part of it. This is why he is dedicated to investigating the challenges of the "little person."

Bindhe says, "My work reflects the Uganda Radio Network unique approach to news." Not many Ugandan journalists would consider or even notice the re-emergence of Water Hyacinth on a lake. Bindhe does.

Truant children will attract Bindhe's attention until he gets to the bottom of their truancy: poverty and the need to work to earn bread for their families. These are the kinds of stories Bindhe is often after.

Edward Bindhe is the Masaka URN bureau chief. Rakai, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Kalangala, Mpigi, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts fall under his docket. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.

A Mass Communication graduate from Uganda Christian University, Bindhe started practising journalism in 2008 as a reporter for Radio Buddu in Masaka district.