Exclusive - In this issue we will compare Kampala city to London which will at the end of it all show us how far ahead or how far behind we are in terms of development. London is the capital city of United Kingdom and Kampala is the capital city of Uganda so here we go.
Zebra Crossings - In London motorists will stop and pedestrians walk without any fear of any car knocking them because that is what it is but in Kampala especially the post office zebra crossing if you are not careful you might break a leg or worse still loose your life as motorists do not respect pedestrians.
Tube Transport - Underground trains are the fastest link within the city centre and trains for upcountry however in Kampala trains are un heard of even at country level. Trains in Uganda are generally for goods.
Oyster Cards - While in London you can pay you transport fares weekly or monthly and an oyster card is given to you. This is what you use on buses and tubes(trains) until the paid for period expires. In Kampala it is common practice for a passenger to give a lot of money and in the process time is lost at petrol stations simply because the bus operator (conductor) is looking for loose notes.
Free Newspapers - Im not sure as to whether I have ever come across a free newspaper in Kampala or Uganda in general except a few flyers having more adverts than news. In London I particularly know of one paper which is free and very popular. It is placed at every corner of town and by 7:30am chances are that you are lucky to find a few left. If you happen to be there be on the look out for the Metro but while in Kampala you will have to buy because there are no free newspapers. May be subsidized ones used to be there in the past and this was possible by paying a quarter of the price and go through and put back to the vendor who could then sell it to another person, thus getting more from just one copy. This has however stopped because all newspapers are stapled. Removing those staples is another topic we will cover some time on our pages.
In Car Service Take Away - In London it is common to see a number of cars que for KFC chicken or Kentucky Fried Chicken. I mean you drive to a window, place your order and in a couple of minutes you are served while in your car and off you go and the other vehicle will follow suit. In Kampala you have to park your car and walk into a ''take away'' otherwise where there are more than four cars if it is not a jam then the cars are in the que for cheap fuel normally from shell petrol station.
Credit Cards - Credit Cards are the common practice in London. I mean literally everything is purchased with a credit card whereas in Kampala the ATM/Debit Card is the in thing. The purchasing power with a credit card is greater as opposed to a debit card which many at times relies on actual funds on your account and yet you do not use it to make any purchases unless otherwise specified.
Electricity - In Uganda we still have to go and pay for our bills at the counter. It has now improved slightly because most of the banks have partnered with Umeme (electricity firm) so that customers can pay their bills from the listed banks. In London you have a key that you fix in the fuse. Once that key is about to run out of power it will warn you by going off. That is when you know that you electricity life is running out so you plan to replenish. All that has to be done is to get the key out and take it to one of the supermarkets or 247 shops and pay a top up of whatever amount and power to that tune will be activated on the key and then you take back to the fuse. No lining up, no knocking at your door and asking for the previous bills or receipts, or worse still someone climbing up a poll out side your house, you simply take charge. If that isn't development then what is it!
Consistency - In London the word consistency is well understood. If you are to travel by bus say for instance whatever you see from one point is in most cases maintained up to another 200 kms or so. That is shops, malls, services, and so on and so forth. Implying that you do not need to move from one place to get a service, chances are that that particular service is available in that locality. Otherwise we are starting to see a similar pattern in Kampala though we still have along way. If you look at Ntinda at least four banks are there, supermarkets, a discotheque, Petrol stations and so you do not have to drive to the city center just because you want to use an atm. Now had it been London and we are starting our journey from Constitutional square heading to Jinja which is 87 kms away, then Mukono would be as good as Kampala road with everything similar in almost everyway and the same to Jinja town, but that is unfortunately not the case. By the time you get to Nakawa a lot has changed, Bweyogerere is very different from Kampala and it becomes worse the further you go out of Kampala. Watch this Space for Part 2.