This instruction, given by KCCA long ago, still holds water. You’ll be so busted if you step onto the grass under the watchful eyes of KCCA wardens (job creation). Fantastic, we now have green patches of grass around the City and it feels really wonderful. Especially to see that bodas still ride on it freely. But hey, who can manage bodas?
I’m missing concrete, and tar. In Kampala City, these are not enough. Narrow strips of concrete covered in tar, with some nice non-slip granite tiny stones sprinkled on top, framed by concrete slabs on one side, by grass on the other side, with some few deep shoe sole marks in them, footsteps that crossed on the day the tar was still soft and hot. Footsteps of progress, stability, respect for citizens.
Yes, the imaginary things above are pavements. They are gracing all city streets in cities that have proper priorities at heart. They exist to spare pedestrians from tragedies and accidents. They exist to give space and safety. And to try to grab your shoes on a hot and sunny day.
Our city, no. We don’t need this. We can afford to lose people to accidents every day and pretend that nothing ever happened. We can afford to employ people to arrest us if we step on the grass but can’t afford to employ people to make us pavements, so we don’t have to step on the grass in the first place. We can afford school kids falling into potholes, manholes and trenches on their way to school, dodging cars and bodas as they go. After all, if a child is knocked and dies, we have so many. We can afford to be so careless with our citizens’ lives and needs.
In my mind, I grow this grass of freedom and I see Jennies of this world not even daring to look. Because this grass is so green and bright that it hurts their eyes and they prefer to keep their eyes shut and hidden behind the dark glasses of politicking. This is the grass I won’t allow them to walk on. The freedom to say what hurts the ordinary person. The freedom to photograph it, spell it and expose it. The freedom to demand that the army of sweepers converts to the army of pavement builders. So we stop sweeping critical things like this under the carpet for another five years and our city doubles in size with nowhere to walk on.