Tired of walking to work

Eva Lubwama

In their recent demonstrations, opposition politicians may have walked to work but can they put their money where their mouths are and effect real change?

Here in Uganda, we like to have fun, with or without our politicians – who, after all, are still a novice bunch. They are only just learning to get to grips with this thing called multi-party democracy.

The problem is that the opposition guys have taken the word ‘opposition’ liter­ally, and they have decided to live it to the letter. Their day job, it seems, is to oppose each and every thing that the gov­ernment comes up with. And to enhance their ‘oppo’ status they have resorted to holding what they call ‘walk-to-work’ protests.

These are days when the big shots and bigwigs tend to entice the gullible down­town youths and people like me to follow them as they walk to work. Now, these bigwigs already have huge SUVs but on these special days at least they choose to walk to work, and along the way they urge other people to walk beside them in their protest against so-called ‘bad gov­ernment’ and the ‘bad economy’. But this does seem rather strange, because the youths and all those others who are inter­ested already walk to work every day of their lives!

So the question is, who is walking to work the most? Is it the bigwigs or we poor people who have to foot it to the city every day?

To make matters worse, when the po­lice come to confront the demonstrators as they disrupt the roads for other users, it always ends in tear gas and splashes of coloured water. The last time I looked, the water was pink and it was great fun, as all the ‘oppo’ leaders were drenched and had taken on a rosy hue from head to toe. It was a classic sight.

Every time these protests and rallies are staged, the police come out with such force that some people get injured, others lose property and businesses are affected. When such chaos erupts, the after-effects can irk the local population and some no longer welcome the rallies in their areas.

While we all suffer one way or another, my gut feeling is that these ‘oppo’ leaders are doing this just to get media space on CNN and the BBC, and that helps justify their foreign funding. Correct me if I’m wrong!

Sometimes I sympathise with them but, of late, I have wondered about the motive behind all the chaos, as I see no impact at all. As it is, the so-called ‘bad govern­ment’ is getting entrenched even more, just as my pockets are getting drained by the day. I really don’t know when these ‘walk-to-work’ protests will bring in any change so that we stop feeding on tear gas and get something more substantial in our pockets. And by that I mean money!

About the author:

Eva Lubwama is Editorial Director of Crane Publishing House, Kampala


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