Sunday, 25 November 2007

CHOGM leaves, Christmas arrives

Normality has returned to Kampala after the whirlwind visit of the Commonwealth Heads of State. Gun-toting Special Police Constables are no longer grouped menacingly on every street corner, the centre is regaining its normal bustle and lecturers have started attending class again (sorry ran away with myself there...). Reporting on the event in the British press focused more on 'Brown escaping trouble' - the summit is arranged 3/4 years in advance - and on the personal stuff - Sarah Brown's curtsy, the Queen's handshake with an HIV positive man etc - than on the summit itself. Given the blandness of the final communiques I can't blame them but there was no need for some of Daily Mail correspondent Benedict Brogan's sweeping judgements of Uganda on his normally excellent blog. One of his gems and my reply:

It is too early to judge what CHOGM might mean for Uganda in the long-term but one hope is that Kampalans will no longer tolerate pot holes and dark, dirty streets. If we can scrub up when the world comes to visit there is no reason why the City Council can't maintain a decent level of order all the time. I get the feeling, however, that cash will be hard to come by after the billions of shillings spent over the last few months and therefore all the good work will slowly unravel.

Totally off-topic, I stopped in at supermarket last night and did a double-take when 'O Come All Ye Faithful' came over the tannoy. Looking around I saw plastic Christmas trees for sale and tinsel appearing in the shops. I'm used to ridiculously early Christmas celebrations from Cambridge, where it was not unusual to be eating mince pies in mid-November, but certainly didn't expect it here.

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