Operators of bars and entertainment places in Mbarara are up in arms against a decision by the municipal authorities to register their places.
Recently, the Mbarara District Security Committee chaired by Resident District Commissioner resolved to register all pubs and entertainment centers.
The same committee resolved that all bars and entertainment centers must hire security guards to man their entrances and search those leaving or accessing the premises. The move is aimed at ensuring the safety of patrons.
However, the proprietors of the bars and entertainment are protesting the move, saying it is aimed at crippling their businesses. Moses Kikooko, who operates a bar in Byafura, in Kamukuzi division, says the directives by the authorities are unrealistic.
He insists that such restrictions should be limited to bigger bars and entertainment centers since most bars operate on a small scale and cannot afford to hire security guards as well as buy metal detectors to search their patrons.
Juliet Ndyagumanawe operates a bar in Kakooba division. She says the resolutions were hurriedly passed without consulting them. She insists that the bar owners and those running entertainment centers should have been consulted by the authorities before coming up with such decisions.
According to Ndyagumanawe, the most important issue is not registering businesses but being vigilant and security responding to emergencies in time when contacted.
Abel Byamungu operates a video hall in Rwebikoona in Kamukuzi division. According to Byamungu, the directives only favor the wealthy people who can afford to set up bigger and modern entertainment centers. Byamungu wants the decision rescinded.
Jaffar Magyezi, the Mbarara District Police Commander defends the move, saying it is for the good of all citizens and aimed at getting rid of criminals who usually take advantage of the laxity at such premises to terrorize unsuspecting residents.
He says they are already engaging the local council leaders to enforce the resolution as soon as possible.