It’s too early for a City Carnival…

On 4th October 2014, the dusty city of Kampala was a host to scenes of fun, excitement, decorations and jubilation dubbed “Kampala City Festival” which was attended by scores of city dwellers. After the excitement is gone, every concerned inhabitant should care to question the carnival’s productivity and to what extent has it been able to solve the myriads of challenges Kampala city is facing!
Among the many questions to ponder on is: Why all our neighboring cities have no time for carnivals but are developing faster than Kampala? As a concerned inhabitant who grew up in this metropolis, it is probably that the authorities have fallen short of understanding what we seriously need to lift the city’s standard to an international level!
More than Shs. 800 millions ($300,000) was spent in organizing the unnecessary festival and yet this is another wastage of public resources that even adds little to uplift the city’s status. To me, Kampala is less developed and poorly managed, but as you know, developed cities like New York and London have the capacity to organize such mega events with less negativity for the reason that they are well modernized and highly developed. The city carnival is simply a copied western idea that won’t fit in Africa.
Besides, it is unfair to highly overtax ordinary people toiling under the scorching sun for survival and then use that hard-earned revenue in organizing an unproductive carnival! This is poor planning…
Furthermore, of what benefit is in having three mammoth events in a space of one week within Kampala? We had the Uganda Police’s centennial celebrations on 03rd, the carnival on 04th and the 52nd independence celebrations on 09th October but all cost significant tax payer’s money!
We need to understand that a lot of musical and leisure events do take place in the city on a regular basis and most of them are either free of charge or very affordable for attendance. So if such events exist, why do we need a city carnival? Instead of spending our little valuable resources in a carnival, why not invest it in upgrading the city’s poor infrastructures that can bring lasting impressions for our city?
There are risks involved in having such enormous gatherings in an unorganized and poorly managed city. To highlight a few; the security threats from Al-Shabaab militants, also converging masses of people to jubilate within small spaces like streets presents a serious risk of deaths and injuries as a result of possible stampedes.
Coming to productivity, the carnival was a big loss! How can the needful resources be spent organizing short-term jubilation to last for just hours but yet take no notice of investing in long-term urban projects? This leads to yet another query, Why would several stalled projects like the upgrading of the Old Taxi park and some markets fail to be completed in time yet the expensive carnival was completed within a day? Is this being short-sighted?
City dwellers need to realize the tricks and disguise being done in broad daylight. We shouldn’t believe all the sweet lies in forms of mere fun. Imagine the great works that the carnival money would have produced if it was invested in giving Kampala a shining look!
Nowadays, it’s so frequent to read about the criticisms directed at city authorities for mistreating people and making them suffer in their own country. But you cannot host a successful carnival amidst discontented and suffering city residents. That’s ridiculous! It’s better to ensure that these people are happy and well at ease then they’ll jubilate without constraints.
In addition, there are lots of political divisions in the city’s leadership. These should be sorted out quickly so that in the next carnival people can get together in peace, love, and joy.
I am not against the carnival but I feel it’s not the best or right time to have it, we are still building our great city, we are in the midst of the efforts, many western cities were built for centuries and it’s their time to jubilate, ours isn’t yet. However, let’s invest all we have to match them.
Spending such an amount of money in just a carnival is unadvisable particularly at this young stage when most of the city structures are in a deplorable state. Therefore, every concerned Ugandan has to query the carnival’s accountability, productivity and most importantly, it’s necessity in solving Kampala’s problems.
Note: This article was produced as part of my coursework assignment and not intended to provoke any particular thinking!


One Comment Add yours

  1. Nice piece of writing, keep up the good work!


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