By Isaac Mutema
Just a few days before the latest rains delivered floods which led to fatalities, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja had paid a visit to Mbale. She had gone to the east to counsel the people to relocate from the mountains and rivers.
Nabbanja told them relocating from the mountains was to their advantage. She said the heavens were about to open the rain taps. And that the rains were going to arrive with floods.
The premier knew what she was talking about absolutely. The learned people at the meteological department had painstakingly briefed her.
The experts had told Nabbanja to tell Ugandans to stay out of harm’s way in order to avoid the coming floods.
Nabbanja took time off her tedious schedule. She left everything and drove all the way to Mbale and elsewhere to deliver the message from the experts.
Her candid message was quite very simple. The potential victims had to leave. Or else, wait and suffer the wrath of the floods that was an accident waiting actualization.
Nabbanja left. The people ignored her advice and persisted in their tragic follies. The rain came just as Nabbanja had been briefed by the experts it would. Truly, the rains came along with floods.
What we now hear from Mbale is sad news of ten fatalities left behind by the floods which burst the banks of River Namuyonga.
But what if the people had listened to Nabbanja and moved? We wouldn’t be shedding tears over the loss of precious lives now lost as well as properties.
Floods have ravaged Mbale several times in the living memory. When they have visited, the floods have left in their wake dozens of people dead and hundreds of others injured.
To say this is not to suggest that other valuable properties such as homes, personal belongings and gardens as well as livestock and poultry have been spared by the floods. A lot of properties have been lost to these floods.
We know that those floods have become a continuous menace because the victims themselves have continued to stand in the way of harm and defiantly so.
The politicians, who are supposed to know better than encouraging defiance above life, have persistently advised the people to go on and stick to their follies.
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After the floods have finally arrived and killed people, as they surely do, the same politicians would turn around and blame the government and everyone else but themselves! If that’s not hypocrisy at its best, I beg to be educated what it is then!
The broke government which is still struggling to feed the Karamojong and other victims of starvation elsewhere, alas, is now supposed to look deeper into its almost empty treasury to again find money to feed the victims of the fresh floods in Mbale.
But when are we going to work on other important things as a country. If we keep on endlessly treating as well as providing relief to people who let their follies blind them to calamity?
Don’t we have some kind of law somewhere capable of reining in fatal defiance? If so, let’s us use it to clean the mess. If not, let’s enact those laws and as a matter of utmost urgency for that matter. We can’t keep on and on losing lives without doing something to stop the causes themselves.
We hear that government pledged to resettle people living recklessly up in the mountains and those staying dangerously on the banks of rivers.
We understand that some funds were actually appropriated for that function. We now want to know where those funds are or went.
This request, since the people supposed to be resettled say the government have not resettled them. All in all, nature punishes. It punishes tragically. Beware, one jokes with nature at his or her greatest peril.