Business Remains Dull At Freedom City Mall Days After Deadly Stampede

Business activities have remained visibly low at the Freedom City Mall on Entebbe Road following the tragic new year stampede on January 1, 2023, that left 10 revelers dead and several others injured.

The gigantic Mall hosts several business entities that include; banking institutions, hardware shops, boutiques, pharmacies, saloons, bars, hotels, restaurants, cinema halls, kids’ playgrounds, and supermarkets among others.

Police have since ordered the immediate closure of a section of the Mall, especially on the second floor that hosts the kid’s park and the concert hall as investigations into the tragic incident continue.

Jessica Nakibuuka and Juliet Nakandi who operate jewellery and mobile money shops respectively explained that sales have remained low and blamed it on the presence of security personnel that scares away clients seeking services.

Ismael Musoke who operates a men’s garment shop noted that Freedom City is always a bee-hive of activity but has currently registered very low traffic of people following the regrettable incident and the subsequent deployment.

Another concerned merchant who only identified himself as Gerald, a Sales Manager at Ndyanabo Diagnostics Ltd at the basement of the Mall observed that military presence always hurts business operations in such a time of predicament.

When URN re-visited the building on Tuesday, police and military personnel had been withdrawn from the area. However, the second floor, where the incident happened remained closed with only a handful of workers visibly seen.

On the fateful day, revellers numbering over 500 went berserk and caused a stampede that claimed the lives of the 10 attendees after the Master of Ceremony asked them to step out of the auditorium to witness fireworks display at the Mall’s parking yard to usher in the New Year.

Police have already arrested event organizer, Abbey Musinguzi of the famous Abitex Promotions and charged him with negligence after preliminary investigations implicated him in non-compliance with security, health and crowd control measures that led to the death of the victims.

Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga condemned Abitex for acts of negligence that resulted in the death of teenagers who were not permitted by law to attend adult concerts. Among the deceased revellers included an 11-year-old boy identified as Ibrahim Kizito.

On Monday, Maj Jessica Alupo, the Vice President visited the scene to condole with the bereaved families. Alupo extended five million Shillings in condolences from the Government to the families that lost their loved ones in the stampede.

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