By Kalungi Kabuye
You have to give it up to the executive director of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), also known as Jenny; she knows how to wake up and rile slumbering Ugandans. In her efforts to make Kampala an actual city she has come up against all sorts of attitudes to battle with.
The latest has been vandals, and she fails to understand how people can actually steal manholes covers and cut parts from street lights. These are all supposed to serve the community they live in, so how can they turn around and destroy them? She was so perplexed that she said the only way to stop them was to maybe give them brain transplants.
Of course the usual whining and ranting begun: “how can she say that? Is she the cleverest person in Uganda?” one wrote on social media.
“Why is she being so arrogant? She should have used nice words, we are all Ugandans,” another complained. Others said that people were poor and desperate, that is why they steal, and so should not be abused. Another said Jenny should be more tolerant of thieves, and get them jobs.
First of all, I do not understand all these complaints. Arrogant? Nice words? So if I call you names and say you are the scum of the earth in a polite way, that will be okay? And you will smile and plead guilty and be proud you are Ugandan?
Tolerant? These are fellows who at the first shout of “thief” in their community will gather rocks and bricks and batter the poor suspect to death, whether guilt or not. And they shout for tolerance? They do not tolerate thieves in their community, so why should KCCA or the authorities do so?
trueKampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) executive director, Jennifer Musisi touring road construction projects on Jinja road last week. PHOTO/Wilfred Sanya
But in a sense I do agree with Jenny, it will probably take generations before most Ugandans understand the concept of an orderly society. So some sort of brain transplant might be needed after all.
Here is what I suggest, instead of those Makerere whiz kids spending a lot of money and developing electric cars that will never run on Kampala roads; or trying to build spacecrafts to go into space, they should sit down and come up with a procedure that will change Ugandans’ attitude towards law and order.
They should come up with some sort of instrument or machine that would zap all people convicted of stealing and vandalising infrastructure within the city.
Many of those caught and convicted beg for forgiveness anyway: “please forgive me, it is the devil that tempted me to take the manhole cover, I will not do it again.” Of course you will not, zap!
This guy did what? He threw garbage in the drainage and he claims he did not know it was bad? Zap! Now you do. What about the guy who deliberately crosses the grass and trod on the flowers, ignoring the rightful crossing? Zap! Zap!
And those taxi drivers, who will stop anywhere at any time; change lanes frequently, drive on the sidewalks and create third or fourth lanes in traffic jams? Zap! Zap! Zap! And zap! Those fellows have such thick heads it needs a lot of zap juice to bring them into line.
I doubt if the Makerere kids will ever make a big enough zap machine to change boda boda riders, so we will have to find a place to ship them to. Somewhere a long way from civilisation, where ex-mayors live.
And finally traffic policemen, we should get undercover guys that will zap any policeman found taking a bribe. And for those cops at traffic lights, who think they are clever than the computers that run the lights? And make drivers wait for almost 30 minutes while the lights have changed at least 20 times? The biggest zap to them all, and no after life for them.
And we shall look down on Uganda, and it will all be good, because it had become a better place.
You can follow Kalungi Kabuye on Twitter @KalungiKabuye
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Jennifer Musisi, Ugandans and brain transplants