Ugandan traders’ protests leave Rwandans stranded

Several Rwandan traders were by Wednesday still stuck in Kampala as their counterparts in Uganda started a boycott to protest what they termed as commercial banks’ refusal to lower interest rates.

Several Rwandan traders were by Wednesday still stuck in Kampala as their counterparts in Uganda started a boycott to protest what they termed as commercial banks’ refusal to lower interest rates.

Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) announced a three-day closure of shops requesting that the Ugandan government prevails upon commercial banks to lower the interest rates.

 Many of the business people who buy merchandise from various Kampala wholesale shops, retreated to Jaguar and Onatracom bus terminals, as they pondered returning to Kigali today if the strike continues.

“Up to now, no shops have opened, and this leaves me with no alternative but to spend more money for another night here,” Celestine Nzaramba, a clothes trader in Nyabugogo told The New Times in Kampala.

Olivier Nshimyiryayo, a businessman in Giporoso, Remera was yesterday stuck at the Jaguar Executive Coaches terminal, after learning that he could not procure the goods he wanted.

“I arrived in Kampala today (yesterday) and I should return to Kigali tonight because I have failed getting items from my supplier in Kikuubo,” he told The New Times.

Jean Bosco Ngenzi, a trader in Nyabugogo who arrived in Kampala town yesterday said he would wait and return to Kigali tomorrow (Saturday) when the traders reopen their shops.

Business at Jaguar and Onatracom bus terminals was still slow yesterday as most traders adjourned their return journeys to Kigali until the strike ends.

Even those that had booked tickets have chosen to either return home immediately or wait in Kampala until Saturday.

Silver Muhinyuza, a ticket officer at Onatracom Bus Terminal, said they had registered very low traffic ever since the boycott started.

“The number of passengers is really low because many of them are changing their days of travel to Saturday when the shops here re-open,” he said.

The three-day sit down strike began on Wednesday and should end today.

According to a statement released by the Ugandan Government, President Yoweri Museveni will today meet the traders in response to their request.

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