During the time of Ssebana Kizito as Mayor of Kampala something dangerous to the safety of Kampala city happened.
We woke up one day and all the previously open spaces in the city had been sold and fuel-filling stations were fast and furiously being erected. Not only were these highly inflammable stations being built close to each other, the City Fathers were not bothered. Not even after terrorists started bombing fuel stations in their terror campaign in their chosen areas.
Ugandans being what they are, soon moved back to their preferred political debates – a very popular pastime that consumes all our otherwise productive time. No wonder Uganda Revenue Authority has recently been sounding alarm about worrying shortfall amidst government failure to pay salaries regularly.
So when this week Police issued a terror alert targeting fuel stations, petrol tankers and oil companies, we decided to awaken the debate of petrol stations all over our streets. Some are so close to shopping malls that one shudders to imagine if there was an accident or a terror attack like has happened in neighbouring countries what would happen.
The threat of terror attack is real. The likelihood of a petrol station catching fire is real. And the threat of fuel catching fire and burning everything in its way is very real. Fortunately this particular danger is avoidable. It is avoidable by simply building these stations in an area that is confirmed to be a secure place to lives and buildings.
This should be a pre-requisite before licensing and any operation. This is the standard all over the world. That is why we would like to ask why the Police is not bothered by close proximity to these dangerous businesses. Can you imagine the magnitude of damage, and God forbid, if there was an attack on petrol stations at KISEMENTI in Kamwokya or the petrol stations in Ntinda?
We are not being alarmists; we are simply saying the obvious in order to help police to help us. We strongly believe that it is time we seriously thought of relocating petrol stations from our homes and our businesses. Not only is it dangerous to sleep or work next to a petrol filling station, it is simply stupid and irresponsible. The beneficiaries know this whoever they are.
BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TO KILL US IN YOUR GREEDY PURSUIT OF MAKING MONEY AT ALL COSTS.