Business Resumes at Zai Plaza

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In short
A survey around buildings on Luwum Street such as The Arcade Plaza, Jemba Plaza and Eagles Plaza shows that most shops cost between Shillings 1 million-12 million each month.

Business returned to normal at Zai Plaza on Luwum Street in Kampala central business district on Monday following a strike by traders over the weekend over rental increments. URN visited Zai plaza today and found the shops that were locked on Friday fully operational.
  
Some of the traders told URN that they decided to open their shops after finding difficulty to engage their land lord Mansoor Matovu of the abrupt rent hike. The traders rose up in arms when Matovu hiked rent by Shillings 900,000 each month. Jennifer Namanya, a dealer of electronics says she has been paying Shillings 600,000 for the small electronic shops.
 
 
She however, says the increment means she will have to part with Shillings 1.5 each month. She notes that the traders met over the weekend and resolved to reopen. "We saw that the landlord was not agreeing, and yet we have already paid for this month," Namanya said. She says that although the decision is unfair, they have to stay because of the location of the place.
 
 
Some of the traders told URN they don't have any tenancy agreement with their landlord. A lady who preferred to remain anonymous told URN that other traders are considering relocating to other buildings. She states the land lord has assured them that whoever wants to leave will be given two months for free before they can vacate the premise.
 
 
She says although nobody has left yet, many people are looking for other options since the place building is now expensive. Brian Were, a mobile phone dealer says he has been renting in one the shops at Shillings 250,000. He says the increase means he will part with Shillings 350,000 each month, since he has to share the rental fees with his colleagues.
 
 
A survey around buildings on Luwum Street such as The Arcade Plaza, Jemba Plaza and Eagles Plaza shows that most shops cost between Shillings 1 million-12 million each month. A space of one and a half meters could cost between 300,000 and 900,000 for those renting depending on the location.
 

Government is in the process of establishing a landlord-tenant policy to help guard against exploitation on both sides. According to the Minister of state for Housing Chris Baryomunsi, in most cases tenants have been exploited by landlords through elicit evictions and unjustified rent increments.

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.