"This is the worst night I've had in Kampala so far," Esther Nalumansi, 24, said on Tuesday evening as she hurriedly paced home.
Nalumansi's words resonated with the plight of thousands of Ugandan travellers in a scurry on potholed roads in Uganda's capital, Kampala, on the eve of President Yoweri Museveni's seventh inauguration ceremony.
Nalumansi, an accountant at Infinity Computers said she had walked over 10kms from Bat Valley theatre in Wandegeya, a city suburb, to Ndejje road at Bata-Bata- in Namasuba.
"Hmmmm... This has never happened to me. I don't even know what to say but this is selfishness over a one-day event," she added.
Panting as she trekked away the night, city cashier Jackie Draru, 25, said she had "walked over 15kms from Wandegeya to Gayaza and was seen nursing her feet" by press time.
A squared night for oceans of both pro and anti-regime elements wading the streets- ushered a section of afflicted and aggrieved Ugandans into Mr Museveni's next five-year term that commences with inauguration on May 12.
"I walked in the middle of the road trying to avoid crowds all heading towards the same direction. With the new Covid-19 wave scare, I hustled moving within corridors created by cars hoping the cars would not be moving in jam pretty soon," city resident Stella Amuge remarked.
That misery- doubled by drizzly clouds amid a cold atmosphere, on a night where hundreds of motorcycles were impounded- scores of people were seen stranded by the roads- making 'rescue calls.'
Quick movement on the night remained a privilege for people in private cars and scarce taxis before they were trapped in jam- with some coming to the rescue of pregnant women, mothers, elderly and children who braced the long walk on the roads at wee hours.
"The jam was unbearable. I felt impatient and moved out of the taxi and decided to walk 5kms from Kasubi to Nansana but criminals too were on duty and stealing from pedestrians. Luckily, I reached home well," Nansana dweller, Allan Rutagarukayo narrated his ordeal.
Rendered helpless on the night, a number of people sought refuge in urban guest houses, hotels and lodges for fear of being arrested on allegations of violating curfew times.
"I travelled from Masaka late in the evening. I am going to Kyaliwajala but I can't walk anymore. I am trying to find a lodge," Ms Mary Namukwaya, 56, revealed.
Heavily armed joint security operatives mounted check points nearly every 100 metres on major metro routes.
Several people could be seen taking advantage of the gridlock to jump unto cargo trucks that were also at some point intercepted after "intensified targeted operations by security officials."
"You officers are being harsh on us but you are still Ugandans. People are tired of walking. My lorry has offered to help and you are stopping us. We left our children home," one woman was heard pleading with the law enforcers past Spear Motors junction in Nakawa Division, Kampala.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga had earlier in the day warned that police had "taken a deliberate decision to aggressively" crackdown on motorcyclist and motorists for flouting an anti-Covid-19 imposed curfew.
"We work. Other people are studying and you cannot dictate upon everyone to be out of town by 6pm on short notice. I have never walked like this in my life," said Ronald Kamara whilst bustling, destined for Seeta, Mukono City.
President Museveni takes oath of office in an event that's expected to attract over 4,000 guests, including several heads of state from the African Continent.
After swearing, the 76-year-old veteran leader will embark on another five-year term as he seeks to rule Uganda for four decades.