JULY 11. Watching World Cup finals in safety of one’s living room

By Isaac Ssejjombwe

Eight years ago, many Ugandans lost their lives in the twin bomb attacks that happened at Kyadondo Rugby Club and Ethiopian Village Restaurant in Kabalagala.
The terror attacks left a lasting mark on many people’s lives and every July 11, we commemorate those who lost their lives in the attacks that killed 76 people who were watching the final of the FIFA World Cup between Spain and Netherlands.
The government used Shs1.8 billion to investigate and prosecute cases related to these bombings.
Seventeen suspects, majority of them foreigners, were arrested and prosecuted because of their alleged attachment to the terrorist group al-Shabaab which claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Ever since the attack, a lot has changed as regards the way Ugandans have their entertainment.
Security was tightened at most hangout places while others were closed down. Bars and other entertainment places started losing clients because of fear of terror attacks.
The government a few years later introduced what is termed as Digital Migration, a process in which broadcasting services offered on the traditional analogue technology are replaced with digital based networks over a specific period.
Ugandans were at first against this transition but they later became accustomed to it as it offered a variety of entertainment on television, albeit with costs.
Service providers such as GoTv, Star Times, Kwese and Azam came on board and competition to air a variety of programmes determines the bigwig in the game.
This being a World Cup year, many have opted to stay at home and watch the football games in the comfort of their seats as a number of channels unlike before show different games.
“I subscribe to pay tv and I can watch games on over three different channels. I don’t have to go to a bar to see the games,” explained Moses Lubega, a businessman in Kampala.
Kato Hassan, a lawyer who lost a friend in the terror attacks, says he was traumatised. He looks at every entertainment place as a potential target for terrorists and has never gone to them since then.
He welcomes digital migration because it brought the only solution to enjoy his game at home. Vincet Assimwe on the other hand still enjoys catching football in bars. “I can’t watch football at home. It’s boring. I like it when I’m with friends, sipping on my drink and chatting. It’s interesting that way than watching a game all alone at home,” he says.


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