On Monday, a workmate and i walked all the way from Mapeera House to Centenary Park, or what’s left of it, before we could get a bodaboda to take us home.
This might come off as a fitness thing, but it isn’t. He goes to gym, i don’t even bother because i’m sparingly small. And, i am the type to drive from the main house to the latrine if i stayed in that sort of homestead. Basically, i am lazy and any chance to drive, let’s do this.
We walked because the traffic jam was terrible. The worst i have ever witnessed. Both bodabodas and cars were equally stranded and walking was the only logical option. The jam was almost worse than the traffic jam on 3rd June, Uganda Martyrs day. Martyrs day traffic jam remains a record holding annual sort of traffic jam.
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Without exaggeration, cars were parked in the middle of the road. Kampala road straight through to Jinja road was a parallel parking lot. As we walked, i could read envy in the eyes of frustrated car owners that could not abandon their cars to foot or take a bodaboda home.
Passengers in taxis, abandoned them and as we trekked to the next most convenient spot to grab a bodaboda or taxi, we noticed the crowd was only getting larger. The crowd grew and when we finally hoped on a bodaboda, we noticed that the crowds did not reduce until Banda. Basically, people walked home.
All the ‘panyas’ / shortcuts we took were literal parking lots. Frustrated passengers sat in the heat from our poorly ventilated taxis (poorly ventilated because well, they don’t have Air condition and you can only hope that the window on your side slides open.)
It rained on Monday, so one can rightfully blame it on the rain. All the same, It’s not only last Monday that has had this level of intense traffic jam. It has become a daily scenario now, but why?
Kampala Traffic has over the last 6 months grown to an unbearable level. Sure, Government wants to build flyovers allover the city. But we’ve heard this since 2010 and nothing has been done so far. Also, given that our MPs have turned the Parliament into a kickboxing ring, room to discuss flyovers remains another ‘dodged’ agenda. For now, the only things flying over are the seats MPs are throwing at each other.
Then, looking at how quickly UBA number plates have been exhausted and how UBB is nearing it’s end, we can attribute the traffic to citizens buying more cars. Which is shocking because the economy isn’t doing luxuriously well. One wonders where all the money is coming from. Then you remember that Europe is dumping all it’s Diesel cars and this means they cheaply flood the internet thus ending up here.
We could also blame this on traffic police officers. Apart from speaking on phone nearly all the time and occasionally running out of breath blowing their whistles, they are overwhelmed with traffic control. As people that stand at the center of the traffic at junctions and traffic lights;- which i think we should switch off to save Yaka whenever traffic police officers are deployed, they have no visibility of what lanes are bringing in the most traffic.
They work on assumption according to the norms of what lanes bear the most traffic at what time, and yet given the unpredictable traffic, this is never the case. They do help, sometimes. Most times, they are irritating men in cream uniforms that hold your lane and forget about it till 21 minutes later. So there is another demon if you will.
Author: Ian Paul Byamugisha
Ian Paul Byamugisha is a writer/author/novelist and car journalist. As a writer for Newslibre, he writes car reviews, cars news, tech news and anything that one might find interesting to read. Currently working on a spy novel collection titled “Arthur Vintage.”