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Kololo Bar Saga: Atmosphere Lounge Blasts KCCA’s Highhandedness, ‘Illegal Closure”

Management of Kololo-based Atmosphere Lounge has decried what it described as “unfortunate” and “illegal” the decision of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to close the popular hangout. 

On the afternoon of Friday 22 February 2019, KCCA officials sealed off Atmosphere Lounge, saying the bar was polluting the area with noise and flouting public health regulations as well as lack of operational licenses.

But the bar’s management said this is untrue as it recently acquired modern sound proof material and continue to operate with all the necessary authorizations. 

It further said research by credible institutions proved that Atmosphere Lounge was complying with rules on noise pollution. 

KCCA is also accused of not formally communicating to the bar’s management about its decision not to mention unrelenting harassment which threatens the business employing 54 people.

On Friday afternoon, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) sealed off Atmosphere Lounge in Kololo, Kampala. 

The bar’s management was surprised to learn from KCCA’s social media handles that the authority closed Atmosphere and Big Mike’s bar in Kololo on Saturday for pollution and flouting public health regulations as well as lack of operational licenses”. 

On the contrary, KCCA closed Atmosphere Lounge at 3:00pm on Friday without explaining to the staff or management the basis for their actions. 

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Instead, KCCA chose to communicate its illegal decision to the public using social

media. 

It should be noted that the restaurant and lower bar section remain open to the public as we engage KCCA to resolve these issues. 

We would like to emphasize that a noise assessment report has exonerated Atmosphere bar and lounge but the hounding has not stopped.

A noise assessment report conducted by the reputable1 Pinnacle Enviro’ Consult in March 2018 concluded that Atmosphere is complying with KCCA regulations on noise pollution. 

“We observed that Atmosphere Lounge which was nearest to plot 36… the music from it on the next two days that we measured sound levels was too low,” the only official report commissioned by Kololo residents reads in part. 

Secondly, the bar recently procured and installed sound proof equipment worth $50,000 to absorb sound from the speakers.

We also have on numerous occasions invited KCCA to inspect our sound proof systems with no success and instead we get threats of closure.

Management believes this is a case of harassment considering other bars operating from the same area of Kololo remain open.

Most importantly, no notice or meeting whatsoever was ever communicated to us, a clear act of bad faith by KCCAA officials – which is a total breach of good business principles and offends the rules of natural justice.

Management believes KCCA, which recently confiscated sound equipment from Atmosphere Lounge, has been under pressure from an expatriate who vowed to ensure all bars in his Kololo neighborhood are closed by KCCA after failing to achieve his objective through courts of law. 

Management further expresses concern over alleged remarks by the same individual that he would orchestrate a negative media campaign against our business. 

Atmosphere is not aware of any concerns or complaint by anyone or entity whatsoever regarding anything that constitutes flouting of health regulations. 

The business has since 2015 been operating legally with all the required authorizations. 

For KCCA to take arbitrary action against Atmosphere without issuing any notice and on baseless grounds is illegal and will be addressed legally. 

Atmosphere Lounge’s management is a law-abiding and the entity is a source of livelihood for 54 employees who are stressed by KCCA’s recent actions. 

We are awaiting opening the upper section to ascertain the loss occasioned to us by this arbitrary closure. 

We shall endeavor to seek justice in the courts of law to protect our 54 workers and our clients to whom we owe a service.

We request KCCA to respect the rule of law and not condemn unheard  genuine business owners and tax payers instead of being influenced by persons with sinister motives hiding behind the guise of noise pollution.

The strange behaviour by KCCA as we await court’s decision on the case reeks Malice and an intention to defeat the ends of justice. Management.

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