Traders under their umbrella body, Kampala City Traders Association-KACITA Uganda Ltd are to pay over Shs215 million in which they withdrew their case which was seeking to restrain city landlords from charging rent from tenants for the three-month lockdown period imposed by the Government in 2020.
Through their application at High Court, KACITA had said it is unfair for the landlords to demand for rent yet traders were not working. They also wanted a declaration that the traders are not liable to pay bills for the premises for their shops during the lockdown period.
Upon easing the lockdown in June 2020, the landlords insisted that the traders will have to pay for the period they have not been working.
The landlords who were sued included; Crane Management Services, Ntake Bakery Ltd, Apple Properties, Godfrey Kyeswa, Aponye House Limited, James Mugabi, Drake Lubega, Ham Kiggundu, Matovu Alias, Christine Nabukeera, Daudi Mutebi, Joseph Yebaza, Ahmed Zziwa, Tom Kitandwe, Godfrey Kirumira, Twese Enterprises and Mutaasa Kafeero.
The suit stated that on March 30, President Yoweri Museveni issued directives, which, among others, led to the closure of all arcades and shopping malls in the country, for 14 days. “The health ministry subsequently issued the Public Health (control of COVID-19) (No.2) Rules, 2020 to give legal effect to the directives issued by the President.”
“These rules made impossible for the members of KACITA and other traders operating from shopping malls and arcades owned by the defendants to access and do any business from the rented spaces,” the plaint reads.
Executives of KACITA wanted to pit tenants against landlords by saying they shouldn’t pay rent in total lockdown and to use the Covid-19 pandemic to get money from landlords. However, the case was later withdrawn by KACITA and then High Court ordered them meet the costs of the suit to the landlords.
The city landlords through their lawyers Ssemambo & Ssemambo Advocates have drawn and filed the grand total of the suit and has been calculated to be UGX 215,914,500.