The issue: City functions
Our view: The JAMAFEST organisers should have borrowed a leaf from Kampala Capital City Authority, who have for the past three years, held city carnivals without such inconvenience.
City dwellers and motorists were last Saturday unusually treated to long hours in traffic jam, causing an outrage, and rightly so, among the public.
Reason? Police had sealed off part of Jinja Road starting from Kitigum House to Fido Dido on Kampala Road to enable Jumiya ya Afrika Mashariki Utamaduni Festival (JAMAFEST) to take place uninterrupted by motorists entering or leaving the city centre.
While the intention of the carnival, which brings together cultural dancers and exhibitors from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya and Tanzania to promote African culture is worthwhile event, the planners should have done a better job. The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, under whose ambit the event fell, should have publicised the festival weeks before the D-Day.
For instance, newspapers, radios and television should have been used to inform the public much earlier about this festival. In the event of a constrained budget, social media, where most Kampala residents spend a lot of time, should have been explored weeks in advance. Instead, a police alert about the day’s activities only reached many people on Saturday morning when it did rounds on social media platforms.
Also, what the organisers forgot is that many people in and around the city use Saturdays to run errands, including shopping, that they are unable to do during the week. Saturdays are also popular for marriage events such as weddings and Kwanjula (traditional marriage ceremonies).
Besides, many corporate organisations such as banks treat Saturday as a working day. Interrupted traffic flow could have made many who work within the city centre to report to work late after walking long distances to their offices.
The less publicised blockade, therefore, meant that many people were caught off guard. For example, a female yesterday shared a story with this newspaper of the frustration they got at a wedding reception. Her relatives had been wedded from Our Lady of Africa Church in Mbuya at 10am.
The entourage then decided to go for a photo shoot at Speke Resort Munyonyo before joining the rest of the guests at the reception venue in Bweyogerere, Wakiso District. The reception had been slated for 3.30pm, but due to the traffic gridlock in city suburbs, they couldn’t make it until after 5pm. No one would love to go through such on their wedding day.
The JAMAFEST organisers should have borrowed a leaf from Kampala Capital City Authority, who have for the past three years, held city carnivals without such inconvenience.