By Charles Okecha
We are grateful to private bus operators for being available to provide services especially to up country passengers ever since the Government withdrew from running public enterprises and retreated to privatisation.
There are, however, issues that have remained unattended to which have to this day eluded even our Members of Parliament(MPs) and, if we remain silent, neither will the 20th Parliament act upon them.
We are at the brink of the festive season and have had 11months to prepare for the end of the year but year after year, transport fares are hiked, accidents increase due to overloading and overspeeding and nothing has been done so far.
We only wait to read tragic stories and view grisly images in our newspapers. I suppose, beginning this year,something can be done. Let some of these KCCA buses be shifted to upcountry routes to remedy the situation within that hectic period. There will be a fundamental change!
Again, the lives of these upcountry passengers are always at risk in several other ways. One of them is lack of places of convenience. To relieve themselves, they have to enterthe bushes.
Suppose a poisonous snake bites a passenger, in some of these distant places by the time one receives treatment it may be too late. Or perhaps a wild beast could easily end one’s life altogether!
Two buses may suddenly arrive at these spots and when people move out for short-call one could easily find a mother-in-law in the act. Since there is nothing to show which area is for gents and which one is for ladies what an embarrassment? Will the bus company help to pay the ensuing fines as pertains to some cultures?
The lives of passengers remain in danger due to cholera, typhoid and dysentery for lack of basic items to keep hygiene like soap and water.
Though sensitisation may be done to help passengers stay in good health not many may take heed and some may not afford buying water and detergents for their journeys. Besides, why carry along all such stuff especially being a man?
There is one spot after Mukono after which a stopover at Namawojolo for chicken, meat, liver and gonja a direct exposure to germs.
Still the communities around remain exposed to stench and germs during heavy rain seasons,when short calls end up being long and our female counterparts end up disposing sanitary items at these joints. I pity police officers at traffic check point after Mukono, I wonder where they go to attend to such needs and how they feel when it rains or winds blow.
Very often our dear tourists board these very buses. These are people from more affluent nations which have developed far beyond providing basic sanitary services like urinals and toilets.
Don’t you think in their minds they consider us closer to baboons than them? We are tempting them to think such racist thoughts if we cannot settle such simple issues which do not require foreign aid to settle.
Please let action be taken to reduce accidents and hiking of transport fares beginning this festive season. And let the Ministry of Health and bus/taxi operators consider constructing toilet facilities at some points along the way to help travelers.
For God and my country.