Is Kampala a safe City at Night?
Spending time at night has got different perceptions to different people. Some people feel this is the only time they have to rest, others it is the only time for them to enjoy, and to those who operate business it is the best moment of the day to make money. Night time reception also varies according to the setting of the area. For example, the rural setting has different characteristics of the night as compared to the urban setting. In this article, we are particularly taking a look at the life at night in Kampala. There are significant differences between life during day at dawn in the city. These range from the rate of traffic jams to the kinds of business operations and the state of security for the city dwellers. It is interesting to find out that people who have lived for quite a time in Kampala enjoy a comfortable life in the city during the night as compared to day time. With reasons such as less crowd, quite an ambiance environment and prevailing security in the city.
Mr Mubiru Stephen, 51, an engineer who lives in Buziga for the last 35 years says that if he wants to feel the beauty of Kampala, he has to wait for the evening hours to take a walk or a ride around town.
“If I move in town during day time, I end up cursing why Kampala is called a city; the crowd seems to be poorly managed. There is even what I call pedestrian traffic jam.” Mubiru laments.
According to Mubiru, however much there are some criminal activities in the city that are scary, he still finds his best moments in Kampala at night.
“You have always heard about robbers and pick pocketers; those thugs have their own dark spots which I always dodge. Why would I pass in a corridor at night?” He explains.
Business at night
Most people enjoy happenings to relax their minds from day time duties and they can do this by walking down to a nearby bar, disco club or at a dinner.
According to Henry Ouma, the marketing manager for Club Ambiance based in Bakuli, a Kampala suburb says that a big turn up of his club customers flock in at 9:30 pm until late hours of 3:00 am or 4: 00 am and he believes it is the same case with bar operators whom he has interacted with.
“I have seen people come to relax all the stress they had during day and they leave at 3:00 am. I have seen some people who even foot to their destinations and they get no trouble.” Ouma said.
According to him, this is an indication that there is no any such big trouble spending time at night in Kampala.
Transport at night
However has not taken a taxi in Kampala at night before may feel it is a nightmare to board it. Movement around town is as normal as during day time. Sometimes, transport fares even drop from day time charge. For example, taking a taxi from town to Ggaba during day costs Ugh 1,500 but by 11:00 pm it drops to Ugh 1,000. The same applies to those who move from Kampala to Kireka or to Luzira.
Joseph Kiiza, a taxi driver along Kampala-Ggaba route says that he has lost passengers to motorcycle riders because people fear that thugs highjack people at night in taxis.
“It is true that used to happen. Thugs could hire taxis but they only do that when they have someone they are targeting.” Kiiza explains.
State of Security
The state of security at night in the last year (2018) has not been so alarming as compared to the previous year (2017) where over 20 women were gruesomely murdered in an unresolved cause up to date. The level and style of the killings made the Minister for Internal Affairs Gen. Jeje Odongo call it witchcraft purported by a cult which could be living in Kampala.
Between the months of May and November, 2017, a total of twenty three women aged nineteen to thirty eight were gruesomely murdered in different parts in the rapidly growing major urban Centre of the country. According to the Police, only four of the victims were identified as sex workers whereas nineteen others were women who operated small scale businesses around Kampala.
These murders sparked out fear and terror around the city and almost every woman lost courage to move at night in Kampala. The public was left and danger and had not much to do except casting blames to the Uganda Police for the impunity that was highly exercised in the State’s major security organ.
State Responds On 16th September, 2018, President Yoweri Museveni unveiled 24 hour CCTV Cameras along major streets of Kampala in what
he termed as a Smart and Safe City Solution. While briefing the media that day, the President said Kampala will be a smatter, safer and clear city in a period on nine months after installation of the CCTV cameras.
The President’s intervention was as a result of the women murders and increased rates of day light cold blood murders which included the recent murder of Arua Municipality Member Of Parliament Col. Ibrahim Abiriga (RIP), the Assistant Inspector of Police ASP Felix Kaweesi among others and the increased rates of kidnaps which saw victims murdered too.
On 1st January, 2019, former Police spokesperson SSP Emilian Kayima and Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Owoyesigyire Lucas while addressing the media at Kampala Central Police station (CPS) on what transpired during the New Year celebrations, said that the Uganda Police Force as an institution is set for a good service this year. In a statement issued, they said that as a security body responsible for the security and safety of its citizens, they are equipped enough to make Kampala and the country at large conducive for everyone.
“What we (Police) ask of you is cooperation with the Police Force.” Kayima said.
Story By: Noah Omuya