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Remorseful nsenene vendor offered legal and financial support by KACITA

Paul Mubiru and his co-accused Najib Kiggundu have asked for forgiveness. URN photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The trader who was captured on video selling nsenene (grasshoppers) on board a Uganda Airlines plane broke down into tears while begging for forgiveness from the nation. And for their remorse, Paul Mubiru and the other passenger who shot the video are going to be given legal and financial support to go through the court action after being charged by police on three criminal counts.

Twenty-seven year old Paul Mubiru and his co-accused Najib Kiggundu, 25, who captured the vending episode on a video which went viral, tendered their apology at KACITA offices in Kampala.

Mubiru broke down when he was asked to narrate what prompted him to vend on the plane, the nsenene which he  said he was taking to a friend in Dubai who had sent for them.

He narrates that it all started when one of his fellow passengers saw him eating nsenene and asked him to sell some which he first resisted, until he was offered shillings 10,000 a scoop, an irresistible price which swept him of his feet.

On seeing this, other passengers got excited and also wanted to buy offering the same price, which made the business enjoyable with a readily available big market paying cash, hence he couldn’t control himself, and he opened the nsenene fest. This is the point at which the video was recorded by one of the passengers.

Mubiru who deals in mobile phone accessories is a frequent traveler recognized at the level of platinum, and usually travels with local food especially to Dubai for the Ugandans residing there as his market.

He admits that due to his regular travels, he is well known to the airlines 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 kilogramme of travel package 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 traveler recognized as platinum level.

On Saturday 27th November, the nsenene vending video went viral on social media. This raised concern, with many Ugandans having mixed reactions over the vendor’s act and its consequences.

Police reacted by preferring 3 charges against the dual one of which is public nuisance.

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. Additionally, they were just tempted since nsenene is a delicacy in Uganda and it has been scarce of late.

However, Musoke condemned the act of vending on the plane 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.

KACITA 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 on plane to avoid such from reoccurring.

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