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Kampala traders have a point; listen to them

Shop-owners in downtown Kampala on Wednesday brought business to a standstill as they protested the unregulated influx of Chinese traders, who they blame for their flagging fortunes.

According to the Ugandan traders, the Chinese have put their Ugandan counterparts at a disadvantage because they are able to import goods from their home country, using favourable credit sources, thus enabling them to sell the same items at lower prices.

There is also the longstanding question as to whether Chinese and other foreign nationals, who ordinarily come to Uganda as ‘investors’, should be engaging in small retail business.

Indeed, this is not the first time the Ugandan business community has resorted to such action to make their point, and it will most likely not be the last. The danger with the problem remaining unresolved is that it is increasingly taking on racist overtones, and that is very dangerous. The government must not wait for it to become a full-fledged xenophobic war before acting.

Images of indigenous people targeting foreigners in international media outlets are very bad for Uganda, a country that has once before expelled an entire community on account of its race. Such images do nothing to help Uganda’s quest for investors and tourists that will help create jobs and bring other economic benefits for Ugandans.

To avoid such tensions, the rules that govern investors and traders should be made clear and enforceable. It’s no secret that in many countries, a Ugandan would not be allowed to set up a retail business.

The lack of clarity regarding who an ‘investor’ is, by definition, and what he/ she can or can’t engage in has created a laissez-faire situation whereby everyone, including foreign businesspeople, do whatever they wish in the Ugandan market. 

That is how Chinese businessmen have come to get involved in sand mining, of all things!

The authorities need to step in and decisively address the grievances of the Ugandan business community in relation to unfair competition and, if necessary, offer limited protection.

All responsible governments do that for their people. But as that happens, Ugandan traders must not engage in racism as that will delegitimize their cause.


+4 #1 ainembabazi 2017-04-21 09:23
The top leaders of this banana republic regime encourage foreigners to do all these things.

Foreigners come here and, among others, are given free land, get their waived, the government pays taxes for them.

How do you do all this to a person who claims to have enough money for investment here?

Some of the so called investors are given free money, think of Agoa, while others are given banks, diaries at just 1 (one) shilling.

The country is being taken for a ride by incompetent rulers. By the time they leave power, the country will be owned by foreigners. No wonder, Ugandans are servants of foreigners in their own country. Cry, Ugandans cry.
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+1 #2 Mubiru 2017-04-21 19:08
So called Chinese supermarkets have spread all over Uganda, even in remote villages, like aids the killer disease. .

These Chinese mistreat black Ugandans who they employ only as guards and porters to fill empty shelves.

No Ugandan is allowed to handle cash. They don't trust anybody except themselves. Their fake smiles are intended to dupe the Uganda buyers of their merchandise on whom they solely depend for their survival.

UK had to put restrictions on their investments in some industrial plants because of fear of being "eaten" up. In Uganda they are treated as "special" creatures at the expense of the natives.

This inferiority complex towards foreigners including exploiters is the main reason why they behave like semi gods to the extent of raping our girls and women with impunity.

These jobless nonentities in their countries are the "expert" masters of trade in Uganda and treated with the pomp as redeemers of our dormant economy.
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0 #3 Empayippayi 2017-04-22 15:27
Time to remove Museveni & Co. from power.

That is the only way to end foreign domination in all spheres of our life.
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