Monday, April 18, 2011

Downtown Kampala

This weekend I went downtown twice: once to buy a cell phone and once to see Kampala's central market called Owino.  I'd heard that this is where all of the good produce in Kampala can be found.  From there, it is purhased by small vendors/market owners and then sold in other areas past-prime and at a higher price.

I was also a bit curious about the protests going on around the country, some of which are happening downtown, over a rise in the cost of living--namely the cost of mutatus (public transportation vans) have gone up by about 200 shillings, the equivalent of 7 or 8 cents US.  This rise in price profoundly impacts Ugandans who commute into the city for work.  As a result, citizens are walking to work in protest.

This part is a bit confusing to me, but since these protests were initiated by presidential candidate Kizza Besigye (lost the last three years of elections to Museveni, who has been president since 1986), the Museveni administration has made all protesting illegal.  Not sure how walking to work can be illegal, but apparently the police are trying put a stop to it.  On Thursday, Besigye was arrested and was "accidentally" shot in the hand by the police as he was brought into custody.  This has enraged members of Besigye's opposition party and led to further protests.  Rumor has it that a policeman was gruesomely killed by a mob of protestors over the weekend.  There have also been protests at Makerere University in downtown Kampala after Universty officials made a movement to double tuition fees.

I didn't find evidence of any protests while walking around downtown, but I did find the area to be chaotic.  Taxis and motorcycles called boda bodas seem to come at you from every angle, and streetside vendors shout Mzungu (meaning white person) at you as you pass by.  I definitely enjoyed my visit to Owino market.  Downtown Kampala certainly carries the excitement of a developing country, still a bit rough around the edges, but overflowing with enterprise and life!  Pictures below...

No comments:

Post a Comment