Uganda seems to be the place with the most interesting and controversial laws nowadays. First there is the anti-homosexuality law that displeased a large portion of the world and got some people vowing never to visit the country again, then there is the Anti pornography law often referred to as the “mini skirt’ law which pretty much outlaws peoples clothing, and now it is illegal to buy from street vendors. Street hawkers and vendors were banned from the streets in Kampala. All these laws come with threats of going to jail, so there is no option but to obey the law.
The effect of these laws on tourism in Uganda is slowly unfolding, a number of tourist groups have blackballed Uganda as a tourist destination mostly because of the anti gay law, but Uganda’s tourism still seems to be thriving just fine. However, if tourists are being arrested for buying fruits, phone chargers and Ugandan crafts from street vendors, they probably will not need their home governments or tourist blogs to tell them to stay away from Uganda. Uganda safaris are quite adventurous and popular with tourists from all over the world, but the country’s string of controversial legislation might prove to be the thing that causes a decline in the country’s tourism sector. On the other hand, it could possibly attract more tourists, especially from countries that are supportive of these new laws, and also the country has received quite a bit of publicity from all over the world. An adventurous tourist would want to visit such a country to see what the situation truly is, especially if the country of destination offers interesting tourists packages including gorilla trekking, white water rafting etc.
The best thing to do perhaps is encourage visitors to follow the African news, or warn those planning safaris in Uganda, that buying from hawkers is illegal, and very short clothing might land the ladies in a jail cell. Whether that will encourage them to still come and visit is yet to be seen.
But KCCA is keeping Kampala clean and that should be applauded. Uganda is the pearl of Africa after all, and should be kept clean and beautiful. And for the truly adventurous travelers, it is still the perfect destination with a number of wildlife parks for interesting game viewing, gorilla tracking, and chimpanzee tracking, mountain climbing, white water-rafting on the Nile River, and very rich culture. Neither the homosexuality bill nor the mini skirt bill or the ban on hawkers can change that.