Public pressure has compelled the organizers of the Eastern Trade fair to relocate the show to Mbale Senior Secondary School grounds. It follows a decision by a group of Mbale city residents, sports lovers, referees, and boxers to seal off Mbale City Stadium to prevent the trade fair from taking place in the facility.
The protesters stormed the facility on Wednesday and blocked exhibitors from accessing the stadium to set up their stalls ahead of the official opening of the trade fair on Friday, July 1, 2022, for fear of destroying the newly planted grass on the pitch.
The Mbale City Industrial Division authorities had rented the facility to M3k3 Trade Show Mobile Business Association and Prime Parties Uganda Limited to host the trade fair drawing protests from residents.
The protesters argued that prior to their intention, the authorities had neglected the facility leaving the pitch bare due to the nonsports events that place in the stadium such as the trade fair, music concerts, and overnight prayers.
Allen Makweta, a referee who joined the protest, said that they decided to block the trade show from taking place in the stadium to protect the green grass.
//Cue in: “Nga naboone omuntu nga….
Cue out:…RCC Washaki,”//
Mbale City Youth Councilor Umar Muteguya was involved in replanting grass in the stadium and says the facility has helped nature talent in the city, especially children from the slum areas of Namatala. He notes that once they allow grass to be destroyed again by the trade show, such young talents will fade away.
//Cue in: “Bagala chiteka ku green….
Cue out:…a trade show,”//
Yasin Matende, a sports journalist in Mbale City, says that the stadium is expected to host the FUFA drum matches this year, adding that once they allow the trade show to take place there, it will require over a year to use the facility again.
//Cue in: “Ela e’kisawee kye Mbale….
Cue out:…ku DA,”//
Mbale City mayor, Cassim Namugali, said that the facility was erroneously hired out for the trade show by some officials. He explained that although the trade fair is important, it cannot take place in the stadium whose grass has just been replanted.
//Cue in: “It can't be allowed….
Cue out:….toilet ezo ne pavilion”//
Micheal Kakooza, one of the trade show organizers, says that they have now resolved to shift the trade show to Mbale SS grounds. “We are at Mbale SS, we left the stadium,” he said before hanging up his phone.
Kirinya Ayubu is the URN Bureau Chief of Elgon/Bukedi Sub Regions . He holds a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communication from Islamic University in Uganda and a Diploma in Computer Science and Information Technology from the same University.