By Singh Katongole
When I heard that the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Executive Director, Jennifer Musisi had ordered the arrest of people buying from street vendors, I dismissed it as another of those proverbial cock and bull stories.
But alas, she was serious and this drove me into reflections.
While the KCCA chief has done a commendable work in different aspects of life, management gurus always ask us to measure our actions because of the consequences.
It goes minus saying that everyone need an organised clean capital void of confusion as it was characterised during the era of Nasser Ssebagala and Sebaana Kizito.
Surely it would be ridiculous to think that Musisi doesn’t mean well for the city but it is not always the story of the end justifying the means.
I am tempted to think that Musisi has fallen into the trap often chorused by people of the other political divide that because she isn’t in an elective officer, she can treat the people the way she wants.
The relationship between the Musisi and people of Kampala is with no doubt incestuous; they are dependent on one another and sometimes annoy each other. She will need them to raise revenue, and coercion will not help but sensitisation.
Do we need an organised city, free of congestion and dust – yes but at what expense?
Good as it may, as leaders we need plan our actions to resonate with our society’s need and particularly our people.
We must acknowledge that in societies like Uganda, small income businesses are what one would call a nursery bed for entrepreneurship. And you don’t just kill this sector.
In many of the countries I have seen, there are designated places where people vend their stuff, needless to say that even model economies like UK have them.
And this is not like asking pigs to fly, Musisi can designate a day where we have our poor people go about their businesses. All around this country we have market days, can Kampala people be given a street where people pry their business.
KCCA can decide to charge a hire license for the selected day. For the KCCA director would be like shooting two birds with one stone – raising revenue and rally people to support your programmes.
While the country continues to suffer from foreign pressure due to its stand on moral values, we must not offer change to disorient people. What Musisi needs is full backing of the people she is helping change the face of the city.
The issue of arresting customers is rather a bridge too far for Musisi. It has ramifications across realms. Imagine an innocent where a tourist who buys a handkerchief off a hawker on Ben Kiwanuka Street and is mugged by KCCA law enforcers, what image is being portrayed internationally. We needn’t open new war front.
In my view, Musisi has a lot on her table including roads, which I must say she has tried to fix. The building have no plans , we still see plaza sprouting without ground parking yet this is what is need to decongest the city.
Finally, in peace building and democratising, what forms the fabrics of society’s standards aren’t the laws but the unwritten covenants that have pitied us as brothers and sisters.
The writer is the NRM Deputy National Treasurer / former Rubaga North MP
Buying from Kampala vendors could land you in prison
KCCA auctions impounded vendors’ goods
Railway encroachers petition over looming eviction