KAMPALA – Gamba n’ogu”, a female driver said as she handed over her phone to the cop who had responded to a swelling crowd following an accident off Kyanja Ring Road. As I waited for the line of cars to drive off so that I could join the road, a hot brown lady complete with big shades, driving a black BMW, rammed into my car. In a few minutes, Boda boda riders joined in, playing jury and judge, told the woman she was the one in wrong. That her number was the picture of someone didn’t help things. I tried to explain to her that she was in the wrong and she couldn’t get it. The number of cars was building up, causing jam with many impatiently hooting and others yelling. It was a total mess! Businesses along the road came to a standstill. When the cops arrived, I was like this is going to be easy. Then, there was the phone call! I couldn’t tell who it was from but he (I am assuming it was from a man) must have had ‘big balls’. The cops cleared the way and off the lady drove off. A simple, “Gamba n’ogu,” (talk to this one) and I was there on my own, watching the person who had knocked me drive away and Boda boda riders looking on helplessly.
This is not an isolated incident. Working on Ggaba Road means that I often have to find where to hide when a ‘VIP’ is cruising recklessly on that road, complete with sirens. They pass through the road blocks with ease. From Bad Black, Meddie Sentongo, and most recently Brian White, this road has had its share of untouchables. People who have a right of way somehow, drive numberless cars or dodgy numbers from neighbouring countries and driving recklessly with complete disregard of the other road users. Strangely, many eventually turn out to be ‘gold dealers’ or ‘Swindlers’ as Bad Black refers to them. So what makes them untouchable? A little money here and there! That’s corruption!
We are so used to corruption that it’s now become systemic. Everyone and everything needs some Ka money to survive. With a Ka little money, you can literally do anything – often illegal – in this town.
This is not healthy. It’s so bad that when I move with the kids and we are stopped by cops, they ask for money to bribe. This is bad! It’s bad now and will be terrible in the future. To get a vaccine, you have to know someone who you can call and say “Gamba n’ogu” to be allowed in. To get into some night clubs when clubs were open, it was easier if you knew someone above. Inside, tables would be reserved more often for the untouchable types with dodgy sources of income. Order open bar or throw cash around to whoever cared, gossip tabloids would give them Kilometres of space in the newspaper pages and they would dominate the online and electronic media. Many girls lost their ‘goats’ to these people. Their claim to fame; knowing someone above!
Why then should our children work hard to go to school if the respect is given to these fellows? Why should doctors, work hard and engineers make extra effort to discover new inventions if the idols people have, are these phony men and women? These people with sirens on their cars that are always in a rush need to be brought to book. ‘Conning’ people needs to be loathed and we go back to respecting really respectable people; the soldiers, the doctors, the good citizens, the honest teachers and others for a better society tomorrow. This mafia-ism will kill our society!
The writer, Dr. Innocent Nahabwe is the CEO Galaxy FM