EVEN THE POOR MATTER
By Wabuyi Denis
Walking along Naboa road today, headsets in my ears I was almost knocked by a motorcycle commonly known as boda-boda in Uganda. The volume on my headsets was full blown as I listened to Inspector Jill's new hit "Khamuyile". Of course, it happened because the Boda guy was driving on the wrong side of the road. My companion was fast to call him a rogue and went on to ask when Mbale will also get some sense and chase boda-bodas from town.
"They are a total nuisance" she said amidst visible concern and frustration. All this went on while I just hummed. My mind was still drawn to the song because near fatalities and such reckless driving is so common in Uganda, claiming thousands every year especially by motorcycles.
However, in spite of the indiscipline exhibited by these cyclists I have never been convinced that we shall solve any problems by banning them from our city. A boda-boda is a typical depiction of our nation; confusion. These have been assisted by the matatus, government vehicles and especially the so called big wigs who make and break laws all in the name of right of way.
This confusion runs in our heads or heads of many people; the one who taxes aid meant for hunger stricken people, those that choose to loot the national coffers in the name of handshake just because this time they did their job without slacking, the Minister who takes electricity to villagers who can't afford candles and expects them to install it legally at a cost of over a million (when they cannot afford to buy a kerosene lamp of 8,000).
These are just a few examples of confusion running through our heads. If you want more, go and ask the Presiding officer who declared Oulanya winner without knowing how many votes he got and the courts which dismiss a person for forging academic papers and let her contest again.
Therefore, turning our anger onto these poor chaps who ferry us at a fair price, help us beat the Kampala traffic jam (a result of another confusion) is being unfair. So many of us, including you who are disgusted with boda-boda may one day be rescued by the very Bodas, some of you use them everyday but remember to curse just because one made a mistake.
I however want to remind us that when we side with the powerful to oppress the poor and the weak, we be digging our own graves. After removing the weak and the poor, they will be coming for you.
It happened recently when the traders of Park yard were being evicted in that horrendous manner. Some of us were quick to judge, justifying the act all in the name of organising the city, making it better. But let us face it; getting rid of people to keep Kampala clean is the highest degree of madness that we can exhibit and all those who side with them have a special place in hell prepared for them.
As you organize your town and kick out the Bodas, there is a child whose source of school fees is being destroyed, as you kick a vendor out of Kampala, there is a cancer patient who is being treated with the money from that vending. He would sit home if your government educated children, if your hospitals offered reasonable medication.
Therefore, I implore that if we have lost all our morality, let us at least recollect some apathy in us and remind ourselves that even the poor need protection; most of them are not poor by choice. Those of you who have ever lost a job because of actions beyond your control know what am talking about.
Remember that today you're cheering the revolutionaries evicting vendors but tomorrow it maybe your company being downsized due to government action or blackmail. Karma is a bitch! revolutions eat their children.
As I hop onto a boda-boda to Busiu, let me turn up the volume as I listen to Inspector Jill's "Khamuyile"!