Uganda Airlines Nsenene Hawker Arrested, Slapped with Public Nuisance Criminal charges

Kampala | RedPepper Digital – A Kampala city trader who was captured on video selling edible grasshoppers (nsenene) aboard a Uganda Airlines plane has been offered legal and financial aid by Kampala City Traders Association (Kacita) after he was slapped with three criminal charges by police including being a public nuisance.

Interestingly, it was the same KACITA that was calling 27-year-old Paul Mubiru’s head when the video went viral over the weekend. Mubiru was captured on video by his co-accused Najib Kiggundu, 25, last Friday en route to Dubai selling Nsenene to excited vendors inflight.

The duo returned to Uganda from Dubai on Sunday when they got arrested at the airport.

The duo has since made public apologies at Kacita offices in Kampala. Mubiru broke down when he was asked to narrate what prompted him to vend nsenene on the plane.

He said he was taking the nsenene to a friend in Dubai who had sent for them.

According to him, when one of his fellow passengers saw him eating the delicacy, he asked to buy some which he first resisted until he was offered Shs 10,000 per scoop, an irresistible price.

On seeing this, other passengers got excited and also wanted to buy – offering the same price, which made the business too profitable to ignore.

According to him, this is the point at which the video was recorded by one of the passengers. However, his narration does not explain why he carried on board a scoop that he was using to measure out the nsenene or the transparent polythene bags that he used for packing the nsenene in his hand luggage.

Mubiru who deals in mobile phone accessories is a frequent traveler recognized at the platinum level, and usually carries local food especially to Dubai for the very many Ugandans residing there. He admits that due to his regular travels, he is well known to the airline’s staff and even the CEO is known to him at a personal level since he frequently uses the airline, at least twice a week.

“Uganda Airlines offers us cheaper tickets, more kilograms of travel packages and it is also convenient compared to other airlines, and I arrive with my luggage at the same time which is not the case with other airlines,” he added.

Kigundu who captured the video narrates that he saw something interesting which could be liked by his Tik-Tok followers, which propelled him to capture it. He too deals in phone accessories and is also a frequent traveller recognized platinum level.

The vending episode stirred up mixed reactions in almost equal with some calling for Mubiru’s head for what they called tainting the country’s national carrier’s image while others praised his business acumen and prospecting a potential market at the earliest opportunity.

Kacita chairperson, Thaddeus Musoke Nagenda appealed to all Ugandans, government and Uganda Airlines management to pardon the two since they have apologized to the nation.

However, Musoke condemned the act of vending on planes which he too admitted he hadn’t been aware of as being illegal, since most of the time he travels, he sees people transacting in different items.

As partners, Kacita pledged to engage the airlines to ease the punishment to these traders so that they are not demoralized to do business. Musoke promised to offer the duo all the support it will take, both legal and financial, to see that they get through this.

It is also in negotiations with Uganda Airlines to start sensitization of traders on the dos and the don’ts aboard flights to avoid such from reoccurring.

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