Without a doubt, constant power outrage and high levels of violent crime remained the most troubling and pressing problems at the recently completed Vvumbula festival that was held over the weekend at the banks of the Nile.
This year’s Vvumbula took place at the Source of the Nile Gardens in Jinja.
The event’s environment is in crisis due to the escalating crime rate at every edition.
According to a source who attended the event, crime and violence threatened the welfare of revelers and service providers.
Beyond the direct effect on victims, crime and violence inflicted widespread costs, generating an environment of fear for all citizens and bad business for those that wish to involve vendors in such kinds of events.
What was done prior to the event?
According to the organizers, interviews were conducted with representatives from the organizing committee of the event, the festival and tourism partner organizations, tourism funding partners, and tourism support sectors to make numbers.
They said that, with an aim to build awareness throughout the engagement process, a comprehensive promotion campaign using social media, newspapers, posters, and radio to get the word out and drive people to background information and editorial content to entice them to come for the festival was done.
The organizing committee noted that local business development opportunities, opportunities to showcase the natural beauty and indigenous and cultural heritage of the eastern town, and an increased sense of community pride were what most people forecasted ahead of the festival.
Participants projected opportunities for business boosts, the sharing and preservation of local culture and history, and connection to local culture and history, bringing greater awareness of other cultures to the residents of Jinja and the revelers that went to hunt for fun.
However, stakeholders noted that the festival was challenged by things like power cutoffs by the management, limited festival planning at the community level, a lack of infrastructure for the vendors, and a lack of coordination among festival organizers and vendors.
Consequently, these, combined with other risk factors like large-scale migration from urban areas, drug trafficking, ineffective policing, the widespread availability of improvised weapons, drug and alcohol use, and the presence of small organized gangs, contributed to the prevalence of violence and another bad day for the vendors who had paid and anticipated an organized environment.
Despite the great risk of injury and the lesser risk of detection, the sale and distribution of narcotics within the festival premises proved lucrative for those engaged in the trafficking, which was established in structured networks with suppliers, distributors, and couriers.
All through the festival, certain characteristics were common to both perpetrators and victims of violence. The majority of victims and perpetrators of violence were young men of low socio-economic status and poor prospects for income generation who seemed to have witnessed violence at close range.
Disadvantaged, disenfranchised, dispossessed, influenced by a constructed stereotype of masculinity that embraces violence, and threatened by surrounding social and economic forces, young males felt empowered by the possession of knives. With an assortment of them, they instilled fear, settled disputes to their satisfaction, and commanded respect by threatening other revelers.