Business today came to a standstill in Kampala where city tycoons have closed a number of shopping arcades at the height of a bitter row on the ownership of Qualicel, Nabukeera and Jamboree Plazas.
The shops have been sealed off since Tuesday night, reportedly on the orders of city tycoons Drake Lubega and Mansur Matovu commonly known as Yanga. Hundreds of traders today’s morning remained stranded outside the buildings.
The traders had reportedly declined to pay monthly rental fees to the two businessmen because the same buildings are claimed by the family of the later rally ace Charles Muhangi. The misunderstanding between the tenants and the tycoons heightened two weeks ago after a demand note was issued for tenancy fees which had already been given to Muhangi’s family.
“We paid Muhangi and we cannot pay again. At that time we knew Muhangi as our landlords. We’re victims of wars we’re not aware of,” one Abwooli Muzamir told our reporter this afternoon.
The buildings, which had been at the centre of controversy for years, were handed back to Muhangi on the advice of the Solicitor General last year. Muhangi died a few weeks after the landmark decision.
Kampala Metropolitan police spokesman Patrick Onyango said police has intervened to ensure stability. He added that the buildings will remain under the watch of the army and police personnel until normalcy is restored.
“We’re basically there to protect traders and the buildings. We tried to speak to the management of the buildings but we did not reach a resolution,” Onyango said.
Meanwhile, police have arrested seven people on accusations of inciting violence in the area. By press time they were under Kampala Central Police Station (CPS) custody.