They say strikes have not worked for them in the past
Hussein Kato (C) addressing the media while Francis Ddamulira (L) and Rose Sabiiti look on. Photo by Kenedy Oryema
A cross section of traders under their union Kampala Arcades Advocacy Forum have vowed to boycott the intended strike by Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) over rent regulations.
On Tuesday, KACITA issued a nine day ultimatum to Parliament, which expires this Thursday to come up with a revised law on rent of business in the city or else they go on strike.
Addressing the media on Sunday at Skylight Shopping Arcade in Kampala , Hussein Kato, the chairman of the group said traders will not participate in KACITA’s intended strike because strikes have not worked for them apart from causing loses and bodily harm to them.
“We have had several strikes but with no impact. As traders, we shall not be part of this intended strike. Today you are told to close your shop, the next day you are told to open but with no solution to the problem. We are tired of this confusion. We believe it’s time now to sit with the government and we get a long lasting solution,” Kato said.
According to Kato, there is no need for the enactment of the new law by Parliament when the Rent and Restriction Act of 1949 is still in existence.
“This law is very clear on the rent and it only needs to be implemented. It suggests rent for every trader according to the space. What else do we need,” he said.
During the meeting, another trader Ibrahim Mboowa alleged that some people in KACITA use strikes to fish money from the government than solving the trader’s problems.
“KACITA has been in existence for 20-years but why is it that they have failed to get a solution to our problems, if their motive is not to get money from the government?” he asked.
Kato also said that although the senior presidential adviser on political affairs Moses Byaruhanga directed city land lords to let the tenants pay their electricity bills to UMEME directly, some of them refused to comply.
“Some landlords charge each tenant sh1m for electricity which is still unfair to us as traders because we do not use all that power,” he said.
KACITA’s spokesperson Isa Ssekitto said they have no problem with any parallel group doing whatever it wishes but they are not turning back on their intended strike.
“We are very much aware as KACITA that there is a lot political agitators who want to pull us down but we are moving forward,” Ssekitto said.
Ssekitto said they have already approached the speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga over rent regulation since Rent and Restriction Act of 1949 is a law in abeyance.
“We cannot deal with the law which is like a castrated goat,” he said.
He disclosed that they will have a meeting on Tuesday to develop a strategy for the strike which he said will not stop from closing the shops but even marching to Parliament.