Scream if you are getting robbed at Entebbe airport 

Author: Angella Nampewo. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • ‘‘ The citizenry may not have much but stand warned if you try to oppress them”

When all the videos about extortion at Entebbe airport came out on Tik Tok, Twitter and  other social media, there was one that caught my attention in particular. The person in the video was not a victim of extortion. They were just giving a prescription for the epidemic at the airport. This guy said some things that resonated with my rebellious spirit. There is no English equivalent for the action he recommended that we take at Entebbe airport when confronted with extortion. In short, he advised that if an airport employee was attempting to do something that you knew was clearly wrong or illegal, such as asking for money to allow you to get onto a flight for which you are properly booked, you should sound that deadly alarm that the Baganda call ‘enduulu’. 

I have since tried to imagine what would happen if someone started asking me to send them mobile money for something outside of the legal requirements or miss my flight.  In all my daydreams, there was pandemonium at the airport and  maybe I  was carried away kicking and screaming  but  I will certainly not take the whole  thing lying down. You see, unlike many Ugandans, I find it hard to be humble under oppression. If I have not understood what you mean, I will speak up and ask. If you start asking me for ungazetted fees, I will open my mouth and sound ‘enduulu’. 
  There is simply too much oppression in the queues at government agencies where we go to get services, to which we are entitled as citizens and  for which, I may add, we pay taxes to make possible. 

It is high time someone reminded these officials in the smart government uniforms that they work for us and not the other way round. If any patriotism courses are being organised, I would say take these people first to re-orient their thinking. It is an open secret which organisations top the list of centres of impunity. If I started listing them here, I am sure many of you will join me before I hit the bottom of the list.  All I can say is that immigration and citizenship processes are among  the most torturous in this country.
Sometimes when you encounter these people at their almighty desks, you wonder if their parents are Ugandan because who would raise such monsters who treat fellow citizens like dirt? I wonder if the sheer love of money can explain all the sadism in our agencies? 

How can we be so mean to fellow citizens? And after you have oppressed someone’s children so much, how do you expect kindness for your own? Clearly, the thieves at our gateways aren’t being very clever either. If we run these agencies down, as we surely will, with this kind of malpractice, where will you or your kin earn from tomorrow? If you prevent anyone in sight from taking their flights, even you won’t have anyone to steal from a few months down the road. 

Let the current crisis be a lesson to all the people who have made it a habit to act like small gods while serving in public offices. We shall expose you. And if you try to take our already scarce Ka money under questionable circumstances, be ready for loud protests. 
It is high time we started to think of this country as our home, and a home for us all. This country and the resources in it belong to us all. The fact that you are fortunate to hold a job and are in a position of power does not make you more Ugandan than the rest. 
The citizenry may not have much but stand warned that if you try to oppress them, they are coming for you with all that they have got, even if it is just that loud, piercing voice of protest: Enduulu!

Ms Nampewo is a writer, editor and communications consultant     [email protected]


You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.