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Why such apathy to uncivilised conduct?

By Vision Reporter

Added 14th September 2005 03:00 AM

SIR — We normally think of the break-down of law and order in terms of violent crime. This, unfortunately, normally draws a concerted public outcry that forces the relevant authorities to take action.

SIR — We normally think of the break-down of law and order in terms of violent crime. This, unfortunately, normally draws a concerted public outcry that forces the relevant authorities to take action.

My concern is the acceptance of actions which are really illegal and outrageous but which gradually become the norm. Even the authorities simply look on in acceptance. I will cite a few examples: the daily traffic jams at Kalerwe market in the morning.

If you are not through this area by 6:20am, you should expect to spend anything from 30 minutes to an hour to cover a three- hundred metre stretch! It is not potholes which cause this. the road is actually excellent. It is because the entire road is converted into an offloading bay for the market, with trucks double-parked.

Wheelbarrow pushers fill the road! Add to that drivers who routinely create multiple lanes until vehicles going to town turn the road into one way.

These are not just the taxi drivers as many of us would like to think. I have seen many decent-looking men and women (certainly not ladies and gentlemen), taking the lead or joining in. spice this up with boda boda riders swarming around like flies on a carcass and you have a fair picture of Kalerwe in the early morning. Someone should calculate the cost to the national economy.

Whoever is responsible for the management of this road should take immediate action. The garbage trucks dispose of garbage efficiently by creating an “even distribution” of garbage around Kampala. Everyone knows this is wrong, but we all watch and accept that garbage trucks must spread garbage all over the roads, and no one lifts a finger!

Associated with this challenge is a strange new behaviour that has also become a norm — dumping garbage at the edge of the most convenient road near your house. Just drive through any suburban townships. I know this happens in Mpererwe. Never mind the health hazards. Even if we say we are poor as a country, which I do not believe, must we combine it with being dirty?

I am always impressed by the huts in remote villages — clean with a swept compound and, no, they do not dump their garbage at the front of the house. We know diseases like cholera indicate unsanitary communal behaviour. Someone should calculate the cost to our dignity as a people.

The boda boda riders (yes, the boda boda riders!) will come at you from the wrong direction! Now, this I can live with because, by being careful, you can avoid the otherwise inevitable accidents. The point I am raising here is zebra- crossings. the riders wait to cross along with school children and other pedestrians!

The problem is that the boda bodas are motorised and the children are not and I have actually seen them in Wandegeya hooting at school children to get out of the way! The latest habit as all areas get built up is for houses to direct their drains into the nearest road — foul water and all.

Degradation of the roads and health hazards are an inevitable consequence. This behaviour makes the mechanics who have converted newly-repaired roads into their repair yards look like angels.

Somewhere in this country, there are departments and people employed at our cost, to make sure that law and order do not break down in this fashion and paralyse society.

The City Council, the divisional headquarters, the Ministry of Works, Housing and Communications, the Police, the Ministry of Health; the Ministry of Local Government and all the citizens should do their part.

But then again, we often pay them so little that the payment is pretence. Maybe we should not blame them for pretending to work in return.

F. F. Tusubira
Directorate for ICT Support
Makerere University

Why such apathy to uncivilised conduct?

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