ach Christmas season, Brian Tusiime, a resident of Kifumbira zone in the Kampala city suburbs of Kamwokya looks forward to joining his family back home in Kisoro district for the D-day.
Tumusiime comes together with other Bafumbira in Kifumbira and other city areas to pool resources and hire dozens of buses to transport them to Kisoro at an affordable fare for the festive season.
He, however, says that this hasn’t been the case since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in Uganda occasioned by two nationwide lockdowns.
According to Tusiime, the lockdowns affected his earnings making it difficult for them to raise the required transport fares to travel for Christmas.
Tumusiime is not alone. Edward Kainja settled in Kifumbira in 1985. According to Kainja, he would travel back home until he relocated his family to Kifumbira in Kampala. He says the buses are now charging between Shillings 70,000 and 80,000, which is costly for many families.
According to Kainja, he and his family members are currently unable to travel to Kisoro for the festive season because of the high transport fares coupled with a lack of resources.
Joseph Musinguzi, a Boda-boda rider, says that most of his colleagues have decided to ride to Kisoro for Christmas due to the increased transport fares. He, however, decries the high fuel costs.
According to Musinguzi, they used to take fill up their tank at Shillings 40,000 but they now require Shillings 60,000 and motor oils from Shillings 18,000 to shillings 21,000 since it’s a long journey where riders need to service their motorcycles well.
Maurine Niyonsaba says that she wanted to go and visit her mum and dad in Kisoro but she couldn’t afford the transport fares this season.
Bukenya Mutaka, the LC I chairperson Kifumbira zone, says that most Bafumbira residents have not been able to go for Christmas this season due to financial constraints restraints resulting from the COVID-19.
He explains that the Bafumbira used to save money in their different groups that they could use to hire buses to transport them to their respective villages, which didn’t work out as usual.
According to Mutaka, the Bafumbira would hire more than 20 buses, which would collect them from different centres every Christmas. The Bafumbira are scattered in different parts of Kampala such as Kamwokya and Kyebando among others.
Emanuel Kabogere, one of the coordinators of the buses, says that this time round its Christmas unusual for the Bafumbira community as most of them won’t be able to celebrate with their families back home.