By Our Reporter
The Lango Parliamentary Group, a loose coalition of legislators from Lango sub region has tasked government to urgently develop trade regulations and investment codes that will regulate the operations of foreign businesses in order to ensure that they do not compete for opportunities with the locals. The call was made following a public meeting held at Uganda Technical College in Lira town on Monday.
The resolution comes at the backdrop of clashes between Ugandan nationals and Asian Traders in Lira municipality following the death of 11-year-old, Dickens Okello, a pupil of Alito Primary School in Kole district, a month ago. The child died after what was believed to be an attack masterminded by two Asian nationals, later identified as Vayas Fravey and Madmay Gaga, both cotton traders at Odokomit Ginnery in Lira town.
According to the deceased’s sibling, his brother was trapped by barbed wire while running away from the businessmen who were chasing after them in a white double cabin pickup with tinted glasses. He adds that the two men, who first lured them with biscuits and money, strangled his brother.
In the aftermath, a group of youths waged attacks against Asian traders prompting them to close their businesses in Lira town. Police used live bullets and tear gas to quell the protests.
A number of supermarkets in Lira town are managed by foreigners mainly from Asia. Several others are involved in route sales, produce and livestock production. Under route sale, Asian traders move with a truck loaded with assorted items like sugar, cooking oil, and soap among others to sell to traders in rural areas.
But Dokolo South MP Felix Okot Ogong says they are concerned about the high rate of harassment, abuse and underpayment of casual workers employed by the foreign traders managing various businesses within Lango Sub region.
Dokolo North MP Paul Amoru says foreign traders must engage in value addition which involves manufacturing but not retail.
This is the third time that leaders of Lango are passing the same resolution seeking a ban on foreigners engaging in retail businesses.
Two weeks ago, Lira District Council passed a resolution banning all foreigners from operating petty businesses including route sales. Lango Cultural Foundation, a cultural Institution of Lango headed by Yosam Odur, Lango Paramount chief recently passed the same resolution.
Joseph Olet Magezi, the head of Arak Ocola Iyam-Yam clan welcomed the decision by the legislators and urged the legislators to negotiate with the government to allow payment of a blood compensation of the 11-year-old Dickens Okello, Kole pupil allegedly murdered by two Asian traders.
In Lango Culture, blood compensation is referred to as Culu Kwor, a payment which is done by the accused to comfort the family of the deceased.