She took one glance at her new born baby and smiled before it was whisked away by the midwife. Her smile was wrecked with fatigue and relief from the 18-hour painful labour she had just endured. She was glad it was over and was looking forward to some sleep as well as being a mother for the first time. She smiled at the thought of how happy Musa would be because he now had an heir.
The events that followed happened so quickly. All Maria could remember is her eyesight got dimmer with every passing minute and the ambient sounds of the hospital surroundings kept fading.
With the little strength she had left in her body, she cried out, ‘Mu… mu… munyambe… Help me!’ She called out but no one would hear her. The doctor and mid-wives had gone for their break tea. She was alone in the post-delivery recovery room. She tried to get up but was too exhausted to move. Her green hospital gown had now turned brown. She had been abandoned and was hemorrhaging to death.
She was dying.
“One hundred… two hundred… (Licks his fingers…) three hundred… four… five… six hundred thousand shillings! How many people do you know that make this much money in a day?”
Musa was a very hard working man and always worked very long hours, late into the night. He was on the road every morning by 4am because his taxi route was a very busy highway but he somehow managed to make almost 12 trips to and fro every day. Him and his colleagues always challenged each other to make as many routes along the ever-busy highway. Every extra trip earned him extra money. It was instant cash! Kagwirawo!
This particular evening, he is very exhausted but decided to make one last ride back to the capital city, Kampala from Jinja. It is almost 9pm but there were still many passengers at the stage rushing back to Kampala for the weekend. He had also been called by his neighbor that his ‘ka-sweety’ had been rushed to the nearby medical center to give birth earlier in the day. He was exhausted but the excitement of becoming a father kept him going as he ignited his 14-seater taxi and sped off to Kampala.
Fulugensio was a committed, loyal and hardworking man. He loved his job because the harder he worked the happier his ‘muyindi’ boss would be. He had been rising through the ranks and was looking forward to finally becoming the boss of all sugarcane transporters at Sugar Corporation of Uganda Limited (SCOUL). This meant he would no longer have to drive those slow dreadful tractors ferrying sugarcane from the sugarcane plantations along the Kampala-Jinja highway to the factory in Lugazi.
One evening while wrapping up his shift a little after 9pm, he successfully steers the tractor dragging a trailer loaded with tonnes of sugarcane on to the busy highway. Its dark, cold and he can hardly see where he’s going. He uses the occasional light from other road users for course correction. He’s driving by intuition, a skill he has mastered over the years. As he snails towards the factory, carefully navigating his way, he notices that several drivers keep hooting at him as they overtake. He laughs to himself because he knows his vehicle does not have a single light or reflector to aid other road users and honestly, he does not really care. He keeps hobbling on, slow but sure like a marathon runner closing in on the finish line.
Suddenly, he hears loud screaming, hooting and a loud ‘BAAAAANNNGGGGG’ that drives him off the road.
Every one of us knows someone with a story like this. It is a very common occurrence on our roads, in our schools, in our hospitals and everywhere around us. Many productive Ugandans have lost their lives because of either their own negligence or that of our leaders.
When will we ever learn?
When will we take charge of our own destiny, that of our children and this nation?
Everything rises and falls on leadership.