Traffic paralysed as floods cut off city roads


For a minute, she seems puzzled on what to do next. The sound of her crying baby can only be told by the sight of his sad face as he continues to sob under the heavy downpour of Wednesday afternoon.
Lost for a solution, she breastfeeds little Harry in an effort to calm him down. In a split second, she straps him onto her back and starts taking slow, careful steps across the road so she can join a group of people already crowded under business stalls in Usafi Market, in Katwe.

Pedestrians stand on the sides of the flooded

Pedestrians stand on the sides of the flooded road as KCCA staff try to unblock water passages to reduce on the flood water.
Further on, near Nakivubo Blue Primary School, the gate is closed and youth, with trousers folded, call out to the stranded. They are willing to carry them shoulder high or on their backs, above the knee-level high floods, to ‘safe haven’.

One lad, carrying an elderly lady, jokes about the senior citizen having to pay a little more than earlier negotiated because he is not sure of the subsequent steps owing to the potholed nature of the roads that could not be seen at the time.

Pedestrians struggle to cross the flooded road

Pedestrians struggle to cross the flooded road at clock tower junction next to Usafi Market in Kampala after the heavy downpour on October 10, 2018

In response, her lips split into a weary smile, not too happy about the young man’s joke, perhaps pained at the state of roads in the capital city of a country in which she has lived long enough and probably seen better.

The carriers have seen an opportunity in a challenge, and are happily making quick money. From the Kibuye round-about and all the way to Shoprite mall, motorists and cyclists are seen struggling to drive and peddle through the gushing rain waters. Others areas affected include Ggaba and Jinja roads.

Pedestrians who couldn’t wade through the water

Pedestrians who couldn’t wade through the water were carried by those who took advantage of the situation for a fee between Shs500 and Shs1,000.

At this point one cannot help but ponder over two sayings; rain is a blessing and water is life. It is a worse sight on the roads that connect to and off the Queens way on Entebbe road.

Boda Boda riders are heard sharing notes on how to manoeuvre the floods.

Motorists manoeuvre through the flooded roads

Motorists manoeuvre through the flooded roads in Kampala city following a heavy downpour on October 10, 2018. PHOTOS BY EDGAR BATTE

“Once in the floods, maintain one gear lest your engine goes dead,” they keep shouting in Luganda, a local dialect.
Three drivers get stuck in the murky waters and in a fete of panic, call for help from on-lookers to get a push out of the floods. Young and old folks, without umbrellas or place to take shelter, endure the heavy rains as their clothes get soaked and tightened onto their shivering bodies.

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