100 Kampala Shops Closed

By Vision Reporter

HUNDREDS of businessmen and women operating in dilapidated buildings in Kampala city centre yesterday joined city idlers after their shops were closed in a massive operation.

By Cathy Ntabadde and Kenneth Aruba HUNDREDS of businessmen and women operating in dilapidated buildings in Kampala city centre yesterday joined city idlers after their shops were closed in a massive operation. The operation, which affected over 100 shops (see list in left-hand column), including those on buildings owned by business tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia, was spearheaded by Kampala mayor John Ssebaana Kizito, the Town Clerk Gordon Mwesigye and Central Division Town Clerk William Tumwine. Business came to a standstill when crowds of people watched the mayor, accompanied by his deputy Hassib Takuba, secretaries for health, Francis Lubowa, for works Amis Bireke and other Kampala City Council (KCC) technical staff, order the closure of the shops. A number of traders pleaded to the authorities to give them more time but Tumwine insisted he had personally issued notices to all those concerned on May 20, 2002 to repair their buildings. He said this was a period long enough for them to have done the necessary repairs. Holding big padlocks, KCC law officers locked every shop that was housed in untidy buildings. Some traders said they thought the threat to close the shops was just a joke. “Give us some time, we shall renovate in the course of the week. Our boss is not around,” said an Indian employee at Rafiki Trading Company on William Street. The move, aimed at keeping Kampala clean and neat, commenced at Ruparelia’s building on Johnstone Street, plot 6. Another building belonging to Ruparelia on William Street was also closed because it was in bad shape. When contacted by Tumwine, Sudhir who is currently in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, said he would renovate the buildings when he returns. Most of the shops closed are on Johnstone, Luwum and William streets, Snay Bin and Wilson streets and areas around Nakasero Mosque. The Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry offices and Uganda Baati, all on William Street, were among the premises closed. Ssebaana commended owners of buildings that were renovated and requested them to keep them clean. He warned owners of dilapidated buildings to renovate them before they are closed forever. “We shall open these shops when the landlords renovate their buildings,” he said. Tumwine said landlords were ordered to repaint their premises, provide a dustbin, repair pavements and install security lights. Ends

100 Kampala Shops Closed