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Mbarara Traders Oppose Closure of Roads During City Festival :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Mbarara Traders Oppose Closure of Roads During City Festival

Allan Karakure, the City Commercial Officer and chairperson of the organizing committee, assures that this year's Mbarara City Festival will feature an array of activities including street expos, exhibitions, medical camps, blood donation drives, cultural performances, and music and dance shows.
The letter directing the closure of Roads
Mbarara City traders are expressing their discontent with the City Council's proposal to close certain streets during the upcoming 2024 City Festival. The festival, which is the second edition of the two-day City Trade, Music, and Art event, is scheduled for June 21st and 22nd at Independence Park.

Organized by the Mbarara City Council in collaboration with the Private Sector Foundation Uganda, the event aims to attract businessmen, traders, and corporate companies interested in participating, under the theme “Celebrating Mbarara City as Regional Trade and Hospitality Hub.”

According to Assy Abireebe Tumwesigire, the Mbarara City Town Clerk, streets including the High Street from Bull Monument and other connecting roads will be closed for the two-day festival. The City Council envisions attracting tens of thousands of traders and revelers from neighboring districts and countries like Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and DR Congo, aiming to create a vibrant business environment and foster socio-economic transformation. 

Tumwesigire emphasizes the need for pedestrian and reveler cooperation during this period. However, James Nindugaomwiguru, a trader at High Street, expresses concern that despite the festival's intent to boost local businesses and the economy, the street closures will adversely affect traders not participating in the event.

Denis Mushabe, another trader along the High Street, believes that closing streets for a festival situated approximately 100 meters away is unjust. He threatens to protest if the city authorities maintain their directive, arguing that they need access to their workplaces.

Allan Karakure, the City Commercial Officer and chairperson of the organizing committee, assures that this year's Mbarara City Festival will feature an array of activities including street expos, exhibitions, medical camps, blood donation drives, cultural performances, and music and dance shows. He emphasizes the importance of maintaining traffic flow despite the festivities to accommodate the large number of participants.   

Mayor Robert Mugabe Kakyebezi echoes Karakure's sentiments, stating that this year's event aims to commemorate the milestones achieved since Mbarara attained city status on July 1, 2020. “This is not just a gathering, it is an investment to mark the growth and resilience of Mbarara City as a thriving hub of regional trade and a paradox of hospitality, adding that Mbarara City has a history of trade and commerce with a diversity of businesses to support its economic growth”.