Hundreds protest in Uganda capital against Chinese traders

Uganda People Defence Forces (UPDF) soldiers parade during a passing out ceremony, in this April 16, 2014 file photo, at the Singo military training school, northwest of Uganda's capital Kampala. (AFP)
Updated 20 April 2017
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Hundreds protest in Uganda capital against Chinese traders

KAMPALA, Uganda: Years of growing animosity at Chinese traders turned into a protest by hundreds in Uganda’s capital on Wednesday against what local businesses called unfair competition, while the mayor warned against the tensions turning into xenophobic attacks.
Hundreds of Ugandan traders protested in Kampala, some carrying placards urging Chinese traders to leave. Many Ugandans accuse Chinese traders of moving to this East African country as serious investors but then setting up businesses in small trade. Many Ugandan merchants want the Chinese restricted to large business ventures.
Kampala Mayor Erias Lukwago, who supported the protest, said the government must protect local traders to prevent the protests from escalating into attacks against foreign traders.
“We are likely to have xenophobia here. That’s where we are heading, unless they come up with measures to protect indigenous traders,” the mayor said.
Inexpensive Chinese goods have long been popular in Africa, and in the last decade Chinese merchants have started eliminating the middleman and setting up retail outlets of their own, much to local merchants’ chagrin.
Ugandan police spokesman Asan Kasingye called Wednesday’s street protest illegal and “should not be accepted by law-abiding people,” because it targeted a specific group of foreigners. Chinese merchants operating with valid papers will be protected, Kasingye said.
Ugandan immigration officials routinely deport groups of Chinese found operating without valid work permits. Many others operate legally across the country.
Perspective foreign investors in Uganda must provide evidence of $100,000 in planned investment and obtain the necessary trade licenses, according to official guidelines.
In 2011, riots in Kampala largely targeted foreign merchants, echoing the 1972 expulsion of the country’s Indian middle class by dictator Idi Amin.


New UK Brexit chief: We may not pay exit fee if no deal

Updated 19 min 50 sec ago
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New UK Brexit chief: We may not pay exit fee if no deal

LONDON: Britain’s new Brexit chief has suggested Britain might not pay its 39 billion pound ($51 billion) divorce bill if no trade agreement with the European Union is reached.
Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab told the Sunday Telegraph that there must be “conditionality” between Britain making the exit payment and its ability to create a new relationship with the EU.
He says “you can’t have one side fulfilling its side of the bargain and the other side not, or going slow, or failing to commit on its side.”
Raab replaced David Davis, who resigned two weeks ago to protest Prime Minister Theresa May’s “soft” Brexit plan.
Britain and the EU remain far apart on terms of a new trade setup. May’s Conservative Party is also deeply split over what Brexit policy to support.