After the reopening of the Monitor and Pepper Publications on Thursday, some newspaper vendors say they are back to normal business after 11 days of what they called inactivity. Herbert Kintu explains that he was barely earning when Red Pepper and Monitor were closed. He earns 250 shillings for selling each copy of the Red Pepper, 200 for the Daily Monitor and 130 shillings for each copy of the New Vision.
After the reopening of the Monitor and Pepper Publications on Thursday, some newspaper vendors say they are back to normal business after 11 days of what they called inactivity.
The two publications were closed on May 20 as government searched for information linked to a controversial letter written by General David Sejusa. The Coordinator of Intelligence Services alleged in the letter first published by the Daily Monitor, that there was a plan orchestrated by President Museveni to eliminate dissenting voices as a way fast tracking his son to the presidency. First Son, Brigadier Muhoozi Kainerugaba, is now commanding the elite Special Forces.
The vendors were among the people affected by the closure, as most of them earn a living from selling newspapers. For the 11 days that the police siege was in effect at the two media houses, there was neither Daily Monitor nor Red Pepper on the stands.
But along Kira Road in Kampala on Saturday morning, Herbert Kintu flagged the day’s copy of Daily Monitor to passersby and whoever could afford a copy of the several newspapers he was carrying.
Kintu says business has changed for the better since Friday when the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper resumed business.
Speaking to our reporter, Kintu says that during the 11 days that the two publications were closed; he would force readers to buy the newspapers he had. But now, it is easy to sell, a customer buys all three news papers including New Vision, Red Pepper and the Daily Monitor.
On a daily basis Kintu says he receives about 50 copies of newspapers from all the publishers, but by midday today he had run out of copies of the Red Pepper and had to ask a colleague to give him more to sell.
With a smile, Kintu explains that he was barely earning when Red Pepper and Monitor were closed. He earns 250 shillings for selling each copy of the Red Pepper, 200 for the Daily Monitor and 130 shillings for each copy of the New Vision.
By 11:00 am, Bosco Barekye, who was vending along the 8th Street in Namuwongo near the Monitor Publications, said he had only one copy of the Daily Monitor left while Red Pepper had been sold out.
The closure worried Barekye as he thought he had to go back to the village because people were no longer buying what he had. He says it was difficult to sell only the New Vision.
Charles Mwesigye, who vends newspapers just outside Nandos on Kampala road, says his sales have been normal. Mwesigye who is an agent of the East African Newspaper notes that customers would complain that he only had copies from one publisher, which meant they would not buy and he barely survived.
As we spoke to Mwesigye in less than five minutes two readers came asking for the Red Pepper. One reader who declined to be named said during the publications’ closure he was only seeing one paper which did not make sense for him to buy.
Along Parliament Avenue, the female newspaper vendors said they spent most of their time during the 11 days sleeping because business was not booming. Some days they would come but to sell other merchandise such as envelopes, pens and sweets. This according to them was not good for business since the closure came at the time they needed money to take back their children to school. But now, business is back to normal and even better, with hope that they can recoup the losses incurred.