COVID-19’s crushing blow to Uganda’s business community
The death of Gideon Badagawa and Evarist Kayondo in a space of just three days is not just a double loss to the private-sector, but also the loss of its mouthpiece.
Badagawa, the former Executive Director of the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), was the unmistakable face and advocate of Uganda’s formal business community.
Badagawa sacumbed to COVID-19 on Monday June 21.
As if that wasn’t bad enough for the business community, more bad news
came in Wednesday of the same week that the grim reaper had claimed another pillar of the private sector in the names of Evarist Kayondo.
Kayondo, was the long-serving chairman of Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) the umbrella body for the largely informal sector that includes owners of big and small shops located in downtown Kampala.
The duo possessed an unfailing courage and swiftness in speaking out whenever the interests of the private sector were threatened.
From pushing for a more humane approach by tax collectors to articulating pro-business positions, Kayondo had stamped his feet on the sector that allowed him to stay on as KACITA boss for more than a decade.
And because of their readiness to speak out, they were therefore regular faces and voices for the media.
The duo’s demise has therefore struck a deafening silence for the industry, and a huge challenge to find new voices especially in a sector where few want to stick their necks out for fear of being targeted by the state machinery.