The tragic accident that claimed the life of two-year-old Ryan Ssemaganda at City Hall on Wednesday could have been avoided.
The toddler, whose mother had been arrested for engaging in illegal vending activities and was being held here, was run over by a car belonging to Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) as it reversed in the parking area.
Many questions remain unanswered but from the little that is known so far, avoidable circumstances conspired to cause this tragedy. Some have blamed the driver of the vehicle, who was subsequently arrested, but this could have happened to any other driver. In fact, parents have killed their own children in such freak accidents.
Others have blamed the relatives of the child’s mother who let the child to loiter on its own in the parking area. While indeed there was an element of negligence, it has also been reported that the mother was not permitted to breastfeed her baby.
Why not? Being a mother of a two-year-old, some leniency should have shown to this particular suspect. There was no need to punish the baby for the crime of its mother by denying it food.
A lot has changed for the better about Kampala since KCC metamorphosed into KCCA. The potholes on the roads are fast disappearing, the streets are cleaner, more street lights are working, the congestion is reducing, etc. However, one thing that hasn’t changed much is the conduct of KCCA’s law enforcement officers. Their highhandedness is unwarranted.
To do the things that have turned Kampala around in a relatively short time, some residents will have to pay a price. Their stalls might be destroyed, their workplaces removed or indeed their merchandise seized. Therefore, resistance is to be expected.
However, this can still be done with a human face and sensitivity to people’s needs and feelings. KCCA ought to engage with communities and local leaders to cultivate a smoother relationship with ordinary city residents.
This incident should help KCCA to reflect on how best to do a commendable job without necessarily alienating a lot of the intended beneficiaries.
Source : The Observer