Habits I wish Ugandans leave in 2022

Author: Vivian Agaba. PHOTO/FILE/COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • It is irritating to see anyone carelessly litter rubbish in public, it makes me question their upbringing, and the state of their homes.

As we usher in the New Year with excitement, and looking forward with hope for a happy and prosperous 2023, there are common vices still prevalent among many Ugandans that I wish as a people, we leave behind in 2022 because they have direct or indirect impact on all of us.

Littering. It is irritating to see anyone carelessly litter rubbish in public, it makes me question their upbringing, and the state of their homes. I have seen people, including those in private and public vehicles, eat things like sugar canes, mangoes, maize, and other food stuff, and throw rubbish through the windows. Others eat while walking, and throw rubbish anywhere, which ends up clogging our trenches and water channels. This puts peoples’ lives in danger of suffering from diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and malaria resulting from contamination of water sources with bacteria.

Early 2020, the government enacted a new law that criminalizes littering. According to this law, littering is an offence, and on conviction, the offender will be subjected to a fine of up to Shs2 million or imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or both. I think this law needs to start biting harder. The Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Urban Development together with other partners like KCCA should enforce this law so that culprits are punished, and others see and learn from them.

Hosea 4:6 states: “My people perish for lack of knowledge. Some Ugandans may not know the consequences of such acts. It is important for concerned ministries, agencies, and other relevant stakeholders to conduct community outreaches, and educate Ugandans about the dangers of scattering garbage targeting mostly urban cities, where littering is common. Sensitization is key to mindset change. To those that have been littering, ‘Repent’ (Mwedeko).  Let us keep our cities and surrounding environment clean, we cannot be our own enemies!

Indiscipline on the roads. This Christmas season alone, over 55 people have perished in road crashes, while scores were seriously injured. Contributing factors, reckless driving which involves (excessive speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol, overtaking other vehicles, and private numbered plate vehicles that abuse traffic rules. Many Ugandans are dying in avoidable accidents, and the problem seems to be getting worse.

The police annual crime report released in 2021 revealed that 4,159 people died in road accidents in the same year, and boda bodas alone killed five each day. For crying out loud, these are too many lives lost as a result of reckless behavior on the road. My question to the government through the Ministry of Works and Transport is; what new working strategies have you put in place to address this crisis in the New Year? Something must be done!

My prayer for the next annual police crime report is to hear that road carnage in Uganda has drastically dropped.

To individual drivers, motorists, and pedestrians, be disciplined, follow the traffic and road safety laws and regulations. Stop playing around with your life, it has no spare parts.

Girls who ask for ‘urgent money’. On a lighter note; I came across a tweet I thought I should share here. Someone tweeted asking, ‘what habits do you want Ugandans to leave in 2022’ Many tweeps who were mostly young men said they want women to stop asking for ‘urgent money, transport, and airtime, which if they don’t get, they are mad at the men. Fellow ladies, let us all remember that these men are also struggling in this hard economy. Let us work hard, make our own money to avoid being embarrassed over small monies like transport or airtime.

Vivian Agaba is a journalist, and communications consultant.