In this modern world, we want every able adult to have something to do. The world hates idle people. Someone must have something to do because that is how he earns something to eat. And eating is essential for life. In the Bible it is said that he who does not work should not eat.
In Uganda, people know this rule, although some of them do not work as diligently as they should. Others look for what to do in vain. Our government does not get tired of telling us to work. They even go abroad to entice INVESTORS in the hope that when they INVEST they may create jobs and ease the problem of unemployment.
Local people do INVEST in their own way. Some of them are barbers and some of them own saloons. Some may be street vendors. But the majority of them work in shops either of their own or are employed as shop attendants in shops owned by others. Some, even college graduates, for lack of something better to, do are taxi drivers! To these people the taxi park or the kiosks is their place of unemployment.
It is a truth that the physical look of Kampala needs a lot of improvement to make it look like cities elsewhere. We have to invest massively to repair our roads and buildings; we have to have green places in the city to make it look beautiful. We must modernize our markets so that both the sellers and the buyers are happy and we have to improve the drainage. There are many improvements we have to do in order to make Kampala better.
But we must know that we do all these things mainly for Ugandans who live and work in Kampala city. We must not create beauty in the city for the
sake of beauty. The city is not for visitors who come here and go away marveling at this beauty. Kampala is ours and will remain so forever.
Ugandans working in Centenary Park, those working in shops around the taxi park, those in taxis and those in kiosks who cannot relocate their business where they were mercilessly and brutally sent away.
It is not possible to get rid of petty traders. They are found everywhere in the world. Kampala cannot be an exception.
In Uganda today when people are looking for jobs that are not there, when citizens are creating their own jobs through their own initiative, when life is not easy at all, it is unwise to destroy the jobs that are there simply because you want to make Kampala green and beautiful. For you to destroy buildings with their furniture without any warning is heartless. To pull down some buildings in wetlands and leave others untouched is very unfair, to say the least.
How can one create unemployment by dismissing those found in the job and then recruit new ones in their stead? What effect does it make on the economy?
John Ssebaana Kizito is a practical economist and Dispatch Columnist.