East Africa: South Sudan War Killing Uganda Traders Softly

As the war grinds on in South Sudan, more and more Ugandan businesspeople who fled the fighting and are back here in the country are feeling the pinch of inactivity.

Many traders are stranded in Kampala since the clashes in the South Sudan capital, Juba, broke out a fortnight ago between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and his First Vice President Riek Machar.

The clashes have cut off many Ugandan traders who operate in Juba and other parts of South Sudan. Tomson Asiku, a dealer in eggs and vegetables, said in a Monday interview, that for close to two weeks now he has not taken any of his merchandise to South Sudan.

Asiku said before the recent clashes, he used to ferry eggs and vegetables at least twice a week to Juba. He said he is already feeling the financial pinch. Asiku said some of his goods were looted during the clashes. Equally hit are shop owners in downtown Kampala who sell a lot of merchandise to South Sudan-bound traders.

One such businessperson is Abdu Muhira. He said the resumption of the conflict in South Sudan has simply worsened an already-bad situation because South Sudan-bound purchases had already declined.

The most affected categories of businesspeople are transporters who have literally nothing to ferry to South Sudan since for over a week now Juba-bound trucks and buses have not been operating.

Arua and Nebbi parks in central Kampala have over 100 transport agents and hangers-on for various buses and trucks, meaning those affected are in their hundreds.

Abdul-Karim Hassani, a booking clerk for Juba-bound buses, said he and his colleagues are walking a tight financial rope since clashes resumed in Juba.

The hustle and bustle that characterizes Arua and Nebbi parks is also gone, creating space for traders from the countryside and a few from Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Source: The Observer.

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