Traffic Jam in Kadutu Market

By Bruno Baguma

One Saturday, when was about thirteen, I was playing football with my friends, when I suddenly remembered I had promised to meet my mother at her clothing store at Kadutu market to collect the groceries she had bought and carry them home. I arrived late and tried to explain that I’d run into a traffic jam, but my mother was very unhappy with me nevertheless. She just gave me the bags of food she bought earlier and said, “Just bring these home. We’ll talk about this later.”

I headed home, feeling guilty. The market was still extremely busy, with people everywhere. The route from my mother’s shop to our house involved climbing about a hundred meters of stairs, and it took me more than thirty minutes to make my way through the throng. I didn’t know some robbers had strategically positioned themselves along the stairs, forming a united, thieving front.

Members of the gang disrupted the flow of pedestrian traffic, forcing everyone to come to a halt so that others could easily steal people’s possessions. I was so focused on making my way through that I didn’t notice any of this. It wasn’t until I had finally made my way through the crowd that I discovered that my bag was significantly lighter. Nearly all of the food inside had been stolen.

I recall feeling very anxious about what had happened. When my mother got home, I cried, convincend that my final day on earth had come. My mother listened to me patiently, and fortunately, she was understanding and kind. She went to the little neighborhood store to buy food for the evening.

So much crime occurred around Kadutu market that the mayor decided to impose traffic and circulation rules, making it harder for criminals to hide in the crowds. Many welcomed the change, and I was relieved, having been the victim of a robbery myself. The rules worked well and the crowds that normally populated the market soon disappeared. But more importantly, the rules made a significant impact on me and my family. Before, my mother had to close her shop early and rush home due to fear of robberies, but now, she could keep her shop open longer, and we all felt much safer.

29 June, 2023