Bar owners in Kampala are determined to uphold their right to bombard residents with deafening noise late in the night and early morning when decent people are expected to be sleeping.
At a meeting called last week by the Executive Director of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), the bar owners were warned that their music sound equipment will be confiscated if they continue blasting away in the night, but they are not willing to change.
These guys who make a profit from intoxicating patrons told Ms Jenifer Musisi, the capital city’s Executive Director, that music is such an important ingredient in the menu that it is in fact the customers who demand that the volume be raised especially after the midnight hour.
The bar owners also blamed the noisy cars on our roads for their need to raise the volume of the music.
According to these investors in the entertainment industry, as long as noisy cars are still moving on the roads, the revellers cannot hear the music properly and so the amplifiers have to be revved to near maximum to drown out the car engines.
Bar owners were reminded that according to the National Environment Management Authority rules, the maximum sound that can be emitted lawfully in public during the day is 60 decibels, and at night, the limit is even lower at 45 decibels.
However, to the chagrin of city authority officials, volumes of up to 99 decibels are common in Kampala.
KCCA says the period of grace that were given to bar owners to soundproof their premises expired long ago and that now they have no choice but to begin revoking the licenses of places that emit noise above the legally allowable levels.
At the beginning of the year, the environment police also warned the ‘Born Again’ churches that emit excessive noise in the name while “talking in tongues” to stop immediately. The churches have, however, continued with the noisy tongues and no action has been taken.
It could be that unlike bars whose sound systems can be confiscated, the police cannot take away the worshipers’ tongues and throats.
That would require either mutilating them to death or arresting the bodies that contain the tongues. But the worshippers would cry foul and accuse police of denying them their freedom to worship.
And these new churches have strategically positioned themselves as strong supporters of the ruling party, to the extent that one prominent preacher prayed hard and predicted the death of an opposition presidential candidate, which has not yet occurred, several years later.
It now appears that the rights of the majority to have a peaceful rest at night will remain tramped upon by both revellers and worshipers. Sobs!