Kiyembe traders protest arrest of their Chairperson Dan Waswa

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Members of Kiyembe trader’s association closed their shops on Duster Street in Kampala this morning to protest the arrest of their chairperson, Dan Waswa. 

They blocked traffic along Nakasero market and William streets forcing other traders to close their shops for fear of chaos. According to the traders, police and Uganda Registration Services Bureau-URSB officials arrested Waswa on Tuesday evening for allegedly obstructing the arrest of some traders accused of selling products that are meant to be distributed by an unidentified importer.  

The traders say the URSB officials backed by police raided about five shops and confiscated all electronics including main-switches, Breakers and changeovers manufactured by Harvel plastics in Dubai, saying that they were illegally on the market. Waswa intervened to inquire how URSB, which is responsible for registration, had gotten involved in regulating products on the market-leading to his arrest. 

On Wednesday morning, traders staged a peaceful demonstration by closing shops to protesting the continued seizure of their products and the arrest of their leaders by different government bodies on baseless grounds.  Ibrahim Begale, one of the traders says that it’s not the first time for such unscrupulous people claiming to be from Uganda National Bureau of Standards-UNBS or URSB to conduct such operations and impound their products with intentions of extorting money from them.  

Some traders, whose products were confiscated, said the police and URSB officials couldn’t explain the problem with their products yet they imported them legally.    

Some of the traders said that they can longer compete with Chinese businessmen who are flooding the market with cheap products, who they suspect to be behind the scheme to chase them out of business.

To cool down the traders, police released Waswa without any charge. Addressing the traders shortly after his release, Waswa said he wants the Uganda Registration Services Bureau to come out and clearly explain the sole distributors of the said products.  

URSB has not yet commented on the matter as repeated calls from our reporter to the public relations officer went without reply.

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