Tuesday, April 14, 2009


So on our way out of town our truck, a Toyota Hilux, had the clutch blow up. That was my thought anyway, but it turned out that parts of the flywheel let go and had their way with the release bearing that the clutch works together with, which ended up disintegrating the bearing and sending tiny bits all over the bellhousing. Carnage at low speed (thankfully) ground us to a halt in a mall parking lot in Kampala, and after getting the truck towed to a mechanic Jamie and I were left to find something to do.

We’d heard that the Parliament buildings offered free tours so we decided to check them out. The police at the front gate had not heard of anything but checked us for explosives anyway and let us pass to the main security checkpoint. The main security checkpoint had not heard of any tours but checked us instead for firearms and advised me to not wear a hat, and sent us over to reception. Reception had not heard of any tours available, but said we could try and find out more by talking to some police on the other side of the building and told us to walk around… so, free in Ugandan Parliament, we made the best of the situation and walked around aimlessly, giving ourselves a free unguided tour.

It was a bit strange to be walking around Parliament as a tourist with no purpose but no one seemed to mind (we sure didn’t have anything dangerous on us by this point.) We found the other police point and they told us that they had no idea about tours, but we should leave all of our bags with them and go walk upstairs through a door for some reason. We said, “ok”, and left our bags and walked through a door. The door opened and we were welcomed by a booming voice coming through speakers just over our heads saying “The Aye’s have it”, and we realized we had walked into an active session of Parliament, at that moment passing a new Bill into law and making amendments on the fly. Something to do with information technology and how it would affect Uganda. Very cool stuff actually.

When we’d had enough we just got up and left. Very similar to the Canadian system as it turns out, from what we could tell. The amount of transparency geared into the Parliamentary process was really good to see with an open gallery for the public (and misguided tourists like us) and recorded and televised sessions. No pictures of the inside so these will have to do.

From Parliament

Inside the gates of Parliament

From Parliament

The Ugandan flag

From Parliament

Jamie does not have any explosives on her

From Parliament

And Sean does not have any weapons on him

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