KAMPALA- Dozens of city traders have staged a demonstration protesting a decision by their landlords to block them from accessing their shops until they clear their rental arrears.
The traders claim that the landlords want them to pay rent for the months the shops were closed during the lockdown.
The protesting traders converged at Mabirizi Complex and Kikuubo Street drawing the attention of police, which used teargas to disperse them.
The affected traders operate in buildings such as Premier, Capital Center, French Plaza, Pentagon City Nabugabo, Qualicel Bus Terminal and Market Plaza among others.
Some traders told us that it is shameful for their landlords to demand for rent arrears well knowing they haven’t been working for close to four months.
Musa Lubega, a tenant on Pentagon Arcade that belongs to Drake Lubega explains that they haven’t been able to access their shops because the security guards can’t allow them in.
He says they have pleaded with their landlord for lenience in vain as he claims that the government is also demanding taxes from him.
Rodgers Bakesiga, a tenant on French Plaza that belongs to Mansur Matovu alias Yanga says that they have to first present a receipt showing that they have cleared the rent arrears before security guards allow them in.
Drake Lubega, the proprietor of Qualicel shopping center, says he couldn’t meet his tenants who turned up in large numbers because of the physical distancing requirement.
Lubega explained that he hasn’t reopened his buildings because he is still working on the Standard Operating Procedures-SOPs to avoid infection.
He also revealed that he is fully aware that his tenants don’t have money and will allow them to operate and get money to pay him.
This reporter tried to contact Mansur Matovu for a comment but he neither picked nor returned calls from our reporter.
President Yoweri Museveni has repeatedly asked landlords in the past not to harass their tenants. He advised the two parties to come to an agreement on the rent arrears.
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