American security agents turn Dar es Salaam into a ghost town.

Business in Dar es Salaam came to a near standstill on Monday as US President Barack Obama arrived in Tanzania on the last leg of his Africa tour.

While most Tanzanians on Monday welcomed President Obama’s visit, vendors in Dar es Salaam could not wait for the tour to end.

For one, there was not much economic benefit in the Obama visit for small business owners.

It was quite the opposite as traders were forced to close their businesses after local and American security agents turned the city centre into a ghost town.

There was tight security on most streets, limiting access to vital shopping centres throughout the city.

No customers

“I’ve received very few customers today,” lamented Ms Melina Macksmile, mobile phone aitime vendor. “As of noon today, I’ve only served eight customers. Usually; I would have already served 20 to 30 customers.”

Public service vehicle operators were among the hardest hit by ‘Obamania’.

“By now, I would have received at least four clients,” said taxi drive Said Pitemo, who had donned an American stars and stripe baseball hat.

Bigger businesses situated at the heart of Dar es Salaam also felt the pinch. “There is far less pedestrian traffic outside my shop,” noted Mama Senare, who owns popular Emmanuel shop on Samora Avenue. “Today, I’m stuck counting inventory.”

But food vendors along Mandela Road suffered the most after their kiosks were demolished in a city clean-up ahead of the Obama tour.-nation.co.ke

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