With just over two weeks to Christmas, congestion has started building on the streets of Kampala as pedestrians and motorists come into the city for shopping.
Noise, traffic gridlocks are visible on most streets in downtown Kampala. Even amidst the scorching sun hundreds of shoppers are busy checking and buying products for Christmas.
The verandahs and entrances to the shopping arcades are all littered with merchandise ranging from clothes, kitchen ware, shoes, and confectionaries among others. It is now next to impossible for one to navigate through the streets especially Kikubo street, Nakivubo road, Luwum and William streets.
Namagganda Allen, a businesswoman dealing in handbags along Kikubo Lane, explains. “Town tends to be overcrowded and congested towards Christmas because people are excited and busy shopping commodities for the season.”
Namaganda adds that those in business make huge sales during this period. “When it comes to us who have businesses we celebrate because it is time to sell off our products,” she says.
For Kazibwe Vincent, owner of a kitchenware shop along Nakivubo Road, this is the time to offer discounts and make good sales. "We largely deal in kitchen and house ware appliances and towards this season we offer discounts on some of our products like fridges, kettles, water heaters among others as a way of giving back to our customers. And this business has been modest because we get customers. For example a fridge of 200 litres which would cost 1.3 million shillings, we offer it with a 10% discount,” he says.
But not all is rosy, as Kizito Alex, who owns a boutique in town, says that even thieves use this time to commit crime. “This season attracts many thieves, so people have to be so much careful. Because these thieves think that people have a lot money, many hand bags are grabbed.”
Transport operators in town are also excited because people are using the services more than usual.
John Kintu, who works with Global Buses, says that people tend to travel early to the villages and they also transport holiday makers.
Akundwe Claire, a student at Makerere University Business School, complains about hike in prices during this season. “The festive season everything becomes high and expensive as business people always increase the prices. For example, a dress of shillings 30,000 can be sold at 50,000. Besides, these people tend to rude. They know we have no option because this is their season,” she said.