Life being hard for the low income earners in Uganda and in light of the skyrocketing prices of individual basic needs and the inflation going out of the hands of the Central government,parents or guardians of the children in Uganda are finding it hard to sustainably maintain members of their families single handily, so they have found no better alternative except to engage their children in family income generating activities at a tender age.
A family which drew my attention and gave me a new push in the examination of the roles children play while they are at their parent’s homes,especially in a fragile economy like that of Uganda,belong to a woman of 44 years who was a typist and a receptionist of a defunct paper industry in 1997 in Jinja town before the market replaced paper bags with polythene paper bags- Kizza Gertrude Kigozi.
Kizza Gertrude Kigozi is blessed with two children- a girl of 11 years and a boy of 8 years.Both of them are attending school.The former in a private senior secondary school in Kampala and the latter in a government funded primary school in Njeru town council,Buikwe district.Like any other single parent in the country she is finding it hard to financially maintain her children,while they are at home or at school ever since her husband lost his job in a flimsy circumstances in the middle of 2009 ” Specioza Nakawesa my eldest daughter is in a boarding school.She pays shillings 550000 in school fees and takes a variety of things at the beginning of a school term including sugar for upkeep while at school.Likewise,although Vincent Saabwe ,my son is in a government school he needs money for transport and feeding as well as other personal belongings. I am a subsistence farmer and our land is not doing well” Kizza Gertrude Kigozi.
In order for Kizza Gertrude Kigozi to supplement the little income she gets out of the sale of her agricultural produce, she bought two mature pigs putting each pig under the personal care of her children ” this is the third time the pigs of my children are giving us piglets each and my children are taking care of them because they love them” she added.
I have found out that Vincent Saabwe and her sister takes turns in feeding the pigs except when Specioza Nakawesa is at school.Their mother told me that she sales a one month pig at shillings 50000 and a fully grown pig at a minimum of shillings 250000. The money she uses to pay for her children’s school fees as well as other requirements. Specioza Nakawesa and Vincent Saabwe says that their work to feed the pigs begin early morning of the new day,when they give them a mixture of Maize brand and water.” we clean the the temporary structure where they stay as a routine before we either leave for school or for other duties” They said.
Asked whether what she is doing is not a violation of children’s rights,Kizza Gertrude Kigozi said that children’s rights though important works for those who have.Is your opinion different from that of the mother of two?
In the absence of a National Policy on privately owned rented houses in Uganda,landlords are at liberty to cheat,harass and abuse the people who actually occupy their houses as tenants without the authority checking their powers.There are inadequate houses in the country put up solely by the Central government to accommodate those in need at affordable charges at the moment as it was in the previous political regimes.
This means that the people especially the teenagers who live Colleges and Universities add accommodation to the list of the problems they face as they look for employment or create their own income generating activities.Colonial governments and subsequent regimes in the country had identified this problem and build housing Estates they put under the administration of the Town Boards or Town councils- namely among the many housing estate build by the central government is Walukuba and Mpumudde housing estate in Jinja town,Nagulu, Bugoloobi and Ntinda in the city of Kampala.
With the population growth, the mentioned housing estates became inadequate and a liability to the administrative units where they are.Councils failed to maintain them by providing necessary amenities like public conveniences,roads and passages,community centers,playing fields and general rehabilitation of such houses.It become worse when the central government pulled out of the administration and ownership of industries in the country.” It became very expensive to provide meaningful services to the occupants of the housing estates under the administration of Jinja Municipal Council, that the authority decided to sale the houses to their sitting tenants with the conditions that the recipients build new houses according to the plans provided” Mawerere Peter,Walukuba/Masese division Town clerk said.
It is against this background therefore that people with enough money and land grabbed the opportunity and put up buildings in many parts of the country for accommodation and tap the available rent fees – became the known Landlords.Landlords build houses every where,in villages,towns and cities that became commercial buildings typically for business and residential purposes.Many houses were build at sub standards without latrines,toilets and other very important basic requirements,like kitchens and bathrooms but this did not deter them from renting them out.
These are the people who make life of their house occupants very difficult.They rent out houses expensively and like to collect money in American Dollars and always demand prompt payment of rent.These are the people who collect rent without formal documents,like receipts that are used as acknowledgement of payments of rental fees.These are people who keep the tenants especially women in fear on addition to demanding sex whenever female tenants take long to pay rent These are the people who do not want to hear that their houses do not have required amenities and lack water.They always burk at their tenants saying that if they ( tenants) can not bear with such conditions in what they call meantime they should live their houses empty to those who desperately need them. Many houses on market leak and owners do not care to rehabilitate the roofs provided the tenants continue to pay rent.
Such unholy conditions that house hold occupants go through under the angry hands of their Landlords notwithstanding,landlords use the Local council executive village members,the police,and the courts of law to rob and harass their tenants who seemingly become stubborn ” I stayed in a leaking house with four of my children,without a latrine and bathroom for ten years.Whenever I paid the monthly rental fees to my elderly landlord I was made to sign in an exercise book brought by him whenever he come to collect the money from me but kept the book without giving me a copy to acknowledge that I paid his rental fees even when I demanded for it severally.Matters become worse when my landlord demanded for sex which I refused.He lodged a suit in Njeru town council Magistrates court that I had defaulted 135000 shillings and demanded for a six million shillings for so called Damages.I am now pondering to use the services of women lawyers to help me out of this problem” Kigozi Gertrude of Buziika village lamented.
She added that landlords use the ignorance of their tenants and harass them in the courts of law ” they use the law and attach our hardly acquired property when we fail to pay the so called damages.What generally surprises us is that those in leadership positions keep mum when they actually see that their is no equity between the tenants and their landlords.” the law does not actually favor the poor and the vulnerable class of people” Kigozi Gertrude concluded.
Silence is now the order of the day when it comes to social issues and human harassment in a country like Uganda.People who are supposed to intervene are actually driven by the love for money and corruption.Unless the Parliament comes out this time with an Act governing the relationship between the tenants in privately owned houses and the landlords,the latter will continue to take advantage of its absence and make life of the former even more difficult.Meanwhile,local and central governments should once again invest in the building of rent able houses because it is a lucrative business.Lawyers,magistrates and any one working in the courts of law should not only look at the money that a suit lodged against a tenant bring but at the truthfulness of the matter and the financial ability of the accused as they pronounce judgement against the accused.What do you have to say about this commentary my dear reader?.
Traditional healers in Low developing countries is a force of Health practitioners to recon with.It has helped people especially rural dwellers where health services is difficult to get.Human beings are happy when they are health and strong.Unfortunately some time people fall sick and even die from diseases such as malaria,which is caused by mosquitoes breeding in stagnant dirty waters.Diseases like Typhoid,dysentery,bilharzia,polio,kwashiorkor are caused by keeping our surroundings dirty and the most affected class of people are the poor who cannot entirely afford to pay at lump sum medical fees provided by the Government established Health centers where they reside.The gap between the rich and the poor in the low developing countries is extremely big,that is, at many occasions bridged by Traditional healers when it comes to health services.
Traditional healers has an inexplicable powers that they use to solve problems of those who seek their help.And many people from all walks of life actually seek their help.To say the least they believe in their supernatural powers.
Politicians find redress in the Traditional healers,especially at the time of political campaigns.Those who want to acquire and protect their property use them simply because they need to feel secure from their fellow men and animals that may attack them, from hunger and lose of already acquire property.The security which cannot be provided by their leaders or Governments.One politician who is now a Parliamentary representative in the parliament of Uganda conferred to me when he said,” since the time of our great grandfathers,we have always felt the need to be spiritually satisfied in order to live in harmony with each other and the environment.We need both physical well being of our bodies,as well as spiritual well being in order to live happily in our environment” He added that the known Health existing systems cannot provide and that the people find redress in the Traditional healers.
A married woman in a peaceful discussion about the importance of Traditional healers said that they provide the women folk with portions that help them to stay in harmony with their lovers or husbands and their relatives who seem to be in opposition of their relationship.” Women are weak and frail yet they want men for protection and care,but at times men violate their rights by beating them and denying them the basics of life” She says that courts of law take long to provide justice to them and the police side with the offenders to delay or sometime destroy the evidence.She affirms that the only cheap and available alternative is the skills of Traditional healers.A trader in the outskirts of Jinja town added that he uses portions fetched from a traditional healers to call and keep buyers.” Traditional healers are a friend in need” he concluded.
However, people in Uganda has found Traditional healers at the fore front of committing dangerous offenses like rape and child sacrifices-Child sacrifice is the ritual killing,mutilation,or removal of the body parts of a child for witchcraft,ritual practices or sale,Sarah Kanyonga the Uganda country manager of a Non Government Organization,LIVELY MINDS,explained when she talked to me about the vice.She said that the terrible crime has been on the increase in Uganda and the people point an accusing fingers on the Traditional healers,the allegation they always deny.” It is forbidden to appease our spirits with human blood and such un holy sacrifices are not accepted by our gods” Muhamood Batambuzze,a prominent traditional doctor who resides in Nyenga Sub county,Buikwe district, pronounced innocence over the accusations. ” I suspect there are a group of people that has outwitted the police and the government who kill people and take us traditional healers as scapegoats” he concluded.
Another prominent person in the politics of Uganda said that some known individuals in the World manufacture weapons of mass destruction which are used at bay to continuously kill people and they are left Scot free,just for the sake of National security ” but when few individuals are killed by possibly traditional healers to appease the spirits,people rise the alarm that life is being trampled upon.I do not understand the hypocrisy that move in the blood streams of those people in leadership”
Traditional healers seem to be a necessary evil that people cannot do without because they need their services in the absence of enough modern doctors and the exorbitant sum of money they need for their services.What do you have to say about this DEAR?
During creation of this earth or it’s evolution God was kind that He blessed our land with natural endowment that has helped the people to develop whenever used well,but on the other hand made havoc if handled irresponsibly.Nature have provided the people in different areas with physical features including landscape, soils, climate and the presence of valuable materials and highlands which decide to the large extent where man will settle,what food can be gathered or grown,where livestock can be grazed and where industrial development can take place and the prevailing winds brewing off the rivers,lakes and the oceans.
In the same breadth Mbabirire village,Kabizzi parish in Nyenga sub county Buikwe district have it’s share out of the generous hands of God’s creations.Mbabirire village is famous for its Highlands including a Rock that has marveled both residents and visitors and brought wealth in terms of money and attraction.The name of the rock is MAYINDO
Are you coming out of Kampala and you have loved to visit Mbabirire? then get off the vehicle at Bulumagi village as you head to Jinja town.A motorcycle commonly known as a Boda Boda will take you to Mbabirire trading center at shillings 2000 only.For those of you coming out of Jinja,branch off Jinja-Kampala road at Nile beer factory and follow Nyenga Buikwe-Kiyindi road.You may board a Taxi to Kiyindi trading center from Jinja taxi park or Kampala taxi park.When you alive in Mbabirire village where the famous Mayindo rock is located you may wonder why such a village and it’s residents are engulfed in abject poverty.Roads are poor with a lot of pot halls and drunkard men and women. The village grow maize,beans,sorghum,banana,vanilla and coffee.Most men in this village get their daily incomes out of the sale of fish,sand and granites and many rear animals like cows,pigs and sheep but on a small scale.
ZINNUNULA KYAYIKYAKULUJJA GITTA WILSON
After a bumpy and a tiresome journey. I alive at Zinnunula Kyayikyakulujja Wilson Gitta’s home in Mbabirire trading center.I was earlier on told by shopkeepers I found in Nyenga trading center that Zinnunula Wilson Kyayikyaakulujja Gitta is a chosen custodian of Mayindo rock and a traditional doctor who has super natural powers and wealth.I was told too that Gitta serves Buganda kingdom in the capacity of a parish leader and National Resistance Movement Government as a parish party chairperson.I was eager to find and talk to a man who has according to village standards worked him self out of poverty in a village full of treasure but with a poor populace.I wanted to see a man religious leaders in the sub county call a Witch but I was worried and doubtful whether I would find him at his home because I had not made an appointment with him.I only played that my God and his gods keeps him stack at his home as I arrived.
God answered my prayers Wilson Kyayikyakulujja Gitta Zinnunula was at his homer reading a book authored by president Museveni -The Mastered Seed,as he waited on his wife to put morning food at his table.After introductions Gitta told me that he rarely moved out of his home on Sundays,adding that he was very happy to get known to somebody he had earlier on longed to see.
Back to business, Zinnunuula Kyayikyakulujja Gitta Wilson told me that Mbabirire the village I had gone to receives enough rain and its famous for it’s density population.This means a large number of people to each square kilometer of land.By far the largest group of people are Baganda who provide about 60 percent of the total population.As time goes on it is predicted that the Baganda share of the total population will increase still further.” Mbabirire village has a variety of people including Alur,Nubians,Ateso and Bantu” Zinnunuula Gitta said.
I asked him about the Rock Mayindo and he gave me this story ” I and my ancestor found Mayindo well placed where it is today surrounded with other two twin similar rocks pointing in the air a few meters from where Mayindo is.These two separate rocks are known by the villagers as her children” He told me that Mayindo is a female rock.” yes! it menstruates and has the features of a woman” Gitta affirmed, his point when I asked him why.” whenever Mayindo has to move to the nearby lake Victoria she uses another rock made in form of a boat which is on the Eastern side of Mayindo.
MAYINDO A PROVIDER AND A TOUR ATTRACTION
“Mayindo is blessing and an asset to this village.It answers every problem brought before it- let it be finance,barrenness,education,hunger,name it Mayindo provides the solutions” Gitta said. He went on to say that people from within Nyenga sub county,the surrounding areas and far away flock to Mbabirire to beg Mayindo for blessings.” Many come from Buddu, Ssingo, Buwekula,Kyaddondo and from the lands of the Kyabazinga in Busoga,Mumbere in Kasese and Ikumbanya in Bukedi and others as far as Nairobi in Kenya and Mwanza in Tanzania.A team of people from Texas in America surprised me when it come to tour Mayindo and make some studies about our famous Rock and the role it plays in our society.Apart from the traditional role people attach to this rock Mayindo is a tourist attraction” He said.He told the World that many people who visit Mayindo and they are answered in whatever form and currency came back for Thanks giving ceremony ” when they come back they bring with them many gifts including food,animals and money.We organize parties,eat and drink and celebrate through out the day and night for the job well done.The whole village has to leave every thing it does and come for marry making and jubilation” He said.
One boy of about 9 years conferred to the World that whenever such Thanks giving parties are organized none of them goes to school.Zinnunuula said that the powers of Mayindo are not easy to explain but are simply supernatural or beyond the understanding of a human being ” Look here I begged Mayindo for one car SHE gave m three.I wanted a good house and a beautiful wife she answered me with a wife who bore me 9 children,four are at the Universities.I am indeed blessed by Mayindo”
The area where Mayindo is hold with much honor and reputation.One is not allowed to move on it while in shoes and it is a no steal zone.Money is placed underneath and it stays there for days until Zinnunuula Gitta picks it from there.The marvels of Mayindo do not cease.One time a Woman picked some money from Mayindo and stealthy wanted to go home but lost her way until dawn. It is said she returned the money where she got it from and actually found her way home
In spite of the abundance favors and blessings of Rock Mayindo the people of Mbabirire languish in poverty.One wonders why people come from far for blessings and express happiness after their wishes are answered with gifts and parties and those who stay in the village foot and go without enough food.Many children in this village stay half naked and sent out of school many times for fees contributions.Zinnunuula Kyayikyakulujja Wilson Gitta has all the answers:”A prophet is despised in his area of birth” He concluded.