A most despicable, scandalous and un-African happening took place outside the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), grilled entrance that took place last Friday afternoon. The Police, KCCA guards and the street traders engaged in a tug-of-war with the body of a dead woman who had drowned as a rope. This was a result of the KCCA enforcement officers harassment of the hawking street traders in a politico-trade dispute.
The woman, Olivia, a street trader, hawking her merchandise, was chased by the KCCA guards off the street from Kitgum House, towards the deep drainage channel at the backside of the Electoral Commission offices. To escape them, she jumped into the channel – and drowned! KCCA’s publicist, Peter Kauju, made a ridiculous light moment of this incident in an unacceptable explanation; that she had not been chased. Then, why should she have been running away?
In protest, the hawkers were taking the body to the KCCA offices, to underline their predicament. This is the only job activity available to them. If they cannot sell the items they are dealing in, how will they make ends meet? Mark you, the level of un-employment is un-explainable.
KCCA has been, either unwilling, or unable, to come up with acceptable measures to make these people make a living and survive, so that at the end of the day, they can retire to their abodes with, at least, a sense of happiness and achievement. So, what are they to do? Harassment, such as took place, is not the answer.
Another vile aspect of the KCCA guards’ aggravation was a woman who was arrested with her two children, one whom she was carrying, and the other, not more than two years old. The incredible brutality of the mother’s arrest, and by implication, their (the children’s arrest) was/is simply indefensible.
Such acts will be indelibly etched in these children’s minds; and they will probably grow up to believe that this is the way grown-up people like to carry out their public duties. These people (the Police and the KCCA guards) do this as if they have no children of their own. If this is how they treat other children, what is to prevent a justification in having them treated similarly when the tide is turned against them?
It comes at a time when the Police has arrested more than 70 of its own officers for acts contrary to the performance of their duties of doing things according to acceptable standards of humanity and law. One wants to think that this is an indication of the acts of cleaning up its house and getting its image in line with a moral aptitude in which both the affairs of State and human behaviour should be exercised.
What took place outside the KCCA offices was a complete negation of this image. It has shown the citizens once more that there is a great resistance towards getting Ugandan officials to behave responsibly and with the publicly-accepted correctness that is demanded of them in the positions they occupy in the service of this country. The Government should insist on the observance of these rules and behaviour.