This is Disturbing News
by lute wa lutengano
There is a new hobby in town called 'traffic-jam-busting'. I am told it is an
import from Nairobi. And it is normally practiced in the afternoon from around
4.30 pm as Arushans leave offices for home.
To take up this hobby one must have a car. It involves one leaving his or her
office and joining the bumper-
to-bumper traffic jams on all the roads leading to the several suburbs of
Because this traffic jam is time consuming, when one comes across one of the
many strategically located watering holes – read beer groceries, pubs and
restaurants – one parks his or her car and walks in and decides to wet his
throat with those frothy liquids for a reasonable time until such a time when
the traffic eases.
He or she can repeat this exercise whenever one comes upon these rampant traffic
jams. Now this explains why there are several pubs straddling the main roads in
Arusha. These are 'traffic-jam-busting' pubs.
My colleague whose office is at the Arusha International Conference Centre is a
staunch adherent to this hobby. He normally knocks off at about 4.30 pm. Because
of the traffic jam, he does not even go to his car. Rather he walks to the Via
Via joint at the Old Arusha Boma. There he quaffs two or three bottles of beer.
He then goes back to collect his car and joins the snaking traffic jam until he
reaches the mother of all traffic jams along Boma road. There he branches left
and drives into Equator Hotel. At Equator he swills another two or three beers.
By this time the Boma Road traffic jam will have eased. He therefore joins the
thinning traffic jam and drives until the Arusha Clock Tower roundabout, where
he meets the father of the Arusha traffic jams along Old Moshi road.
He suffers this traffic jam until he reaches the Anglican Christ Church area,
where as part of the 'traffic-jam-
busting,' he does not enter the church to pray, rather he drives into Matonge
Pub for another beer quaffing
session. It is almost 8.00 pm when he drives from there and onto the AICC
Kijenge Club to celebrate the 'traffic-jam-busting' exercise. By the time he
reaches home, in Njiro area, it is about 10.00 pm. and he is now 'tired and
emotional' as the British would describe anyone who is actually drunk.
Now this is a serious problem. This scenario is repeated along all Arusha roads.
Woe unto one who uses public transport because one will spend almost two hours
in a chock-a-block 'daladala' to cover a distance of not less than ten
Come morning. One can not practice his 'traffic-jam-busting' hobby due to time
constraints. All are therefore forced to spend a lengthy time bottom-warming and
revving along the same roads as they try to reach their
offices and business premises.
Now Arusha is a City. Whatever criterion the powers that be used in reaching
this decision is water which has long passed under the bridge.
However, I was almost beginning to believe that some of major problems facing
Arusha will now be addressed to in a manner befitting a newly elevated city.
Everyone knows about our narrow and congested city roads. They not only need to
be expanded but new ones need to be put in place to ease the now notorious
The new city has serious problems of garbage collection, street lights, drainage
systems, recreational parks and community sporting grounds, just to mention a
few. But what do we hear? Reports coming out from the
municipality... sorry, City, say that the city fathers have decided prompt to
build an appropriate head office in line with the elevated status.
The Arusha Mayoral office says an amount of Tshs 87 million/- has already been
set aside for the construction of a City Hall. And this is only the starting
amount for what the office says would be the Arusha City Hall, with
international conference facilities and offices including the office of His
Worship The Mayor.
The City Hall will be located adjacent to the offices of the former Arusha
Municipality. Actually construction is going to begin before the end of this
year, it was announced.
This is disturbing news. Is lack of a befitting Mayor's office the biggest
problem afflicting Arusha? Come on, take a break. With such plans, however, I am
sorry to admit that the 'traffic-jam-busting' hobby is here to stay.