The traders stared down the government and went on strike yesterday. Today, they have successfully completed the second day of this three-day thing. Kampala is a different place from what you are used to.
There are those who are regretting the absence of Kizza Besigye and his ‘great unwashed.’ See, now that this factor is absent from the equation, there is no one to blame for the troubles. Since the traders simply decided to stay away from work, no one will be on the street shouting, “Agende” and getting shot in the head in the process. The President, however, still found it opportune to throw a barb at the “political class” for fomenting the chaos.
According to report, the President planned to meet all Kampala traders on Saturday after a meeting they had today failed to resolve the impasse. The Governor of the Bank of Uganda, Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile tried to make the ‘great unwashed’ understand that it wasn’t up to him to force commercial banks to reduce lending rates.
So the pundits have given us their thoughts. According to Daniel Kalinaki (Google him, or go to the Daily Monitor website), this is futile since these traders are still going to import the stuff they are crying about. True, we are a sorry society of consumers who cannot even be bothered to make our economy better by sacrificing.
But that is not the real tooth ache; there is money being lost and it has been proved by the bankers that somethings have gone grossly wrong. I am not an economist; maybe that’s why I cannot understand how it is okay to make me pay more or longer because I borrowed money from my bank four years ago.
The banking sector had better come up with something to redeem its image among the traders before its too late. Talk is already going around that people are planning to keep the money in their rooms, in their mattresses. Of course if this is to happen, a whole new spate of robberies and home break-ins can be expected. No one wants to go down that route.
But what is the solution? We know that these are the effects of capitalism. We copied a system we did not fully understand and look what’s happening.
The painful thing is there is said to be a solution, a simple one at that. Islamic banking. Or simply establishing a traders’ bank. Unfortunately, those who are gaining from the status quo are not ready to move to another model just yet.