Why buying bananas from a street vendor in Kampala may end tourists in the cells


(Posted 04th May 2014)

After going into the bad books of global gay and lesbian groups a few months ago, when legislation was passed banning same sex encounters in Uganda – decampaigning of the destination appears to be an ongoing development over these laws – more fun was poked at our country over the so called ‘Anti Miniskirt Bill’, which too could end tourist wearing skimpy dresses or skirts in trouble after dozens of women wearing skimpy skirts were stripped by ‘outraged mobs’ with little police intervention at the time, seemingly to send a message that certain dress codes were no longer welcome in the capital city or beyond.

Now the next threat of going to jail has emerged in Kampala, as KCAA personnel last week apparently arrested at least a dozen people for allegedly buying items from hawkers, themselves banned from city streets but still operating when the long arm of the law is not in sight.

Some of our tourists in fact like to bargain a little over small items when they are approached by hawkers when they walk in the city. We normally take them to the National Theatre for the art and craft shops but then they go off into town and now imagine they might get caught by those strongarmed city askaris for buying maybe some bananas or a phone charger? If they would arrest a couple of tourists over such things our reputation may get a bad knock because it would sure be picked up by the international media. I wonder what Musisi [Jennifer
Musisi is the Executive Director of Kampala Capital City Authority] might say then, probably in her usual style mouth off that law breakers must face the music or something of the sort. Tourists do not know that buying from hawkers is illegal and because hawkers still are around, they might get caught up in a swoop. Oh Uganda where are we heading with such things, keeping the city clean is one thing but that might be too much for our visitors to understand’ lamented a regular source who passed the information from home while this correspondent was on the road travelling through Kenya.

All one can say is to warn visitors from abroad who come to Kampala to avoid buying from hawkers, no matter how nice they are and no matter what interesting items they have for sale, or else might find their vacation enriched with the experience to go into the KCAA cells. Welcome to the Pearl of Africa but do read the fine small print to know what can and what cannot be done while here.

%d bloggers like this: