A few years back I posted something about how small thinking comes at a high price.
The post got quite a number of likes, shares and comments from people who seemed to agree that in Uganda we generally ACT then THINK.
So, this year KCCA decided to undertake street naming around the city. My good friend David Sempala was excited that the 20 meters of tarmac that lead up to his house was named after him. No offence to David, he is a great guy and I have seen first hand his efforts to engage his community and transform it.
Here is my problem:
KCCA has successfully spent a sizable amount of tax-payers’ money naming roads, streets, lanes and closes for those who know where they are.
So what if I am on “Kyamulibwa” Road? Or Even Ssempala Lane? – It is meaningless for now!
I doubt David, the man after whom a lane was named would call anyone and direct them to Ssempala Lane in Kisasi and they find him.
He would have to mention the mango tree, the mobile money ka-shop and the boda-boda stage; where you would ask someone to ride ahead of you for 500/= to get you to his gate!
In my Kiwatule neighbourhood, there’s a T-Junction with 3 signs in one place. If they had really planned, a pylon sign would have worked perfectly.
As the Americans put it, they successfully built a bridge to no-where or simply put LIPSTICK on a PIG!
If KCCA had thought first and acted later the money spent on naming streets would not be a waste it is likely to be.
I think it has little impact on how we navigate this city. If however, it was designed to recognise our local heros like Sempala who are making a contribution to the city, it is working!
How about the KCCA planning directorate sit down and map out the city properly with clear co-ordiates for the different towns/trading centers /boroughs /Miruka etc and make those road markings count for something?
For example, If I see:
I can tell that the Sempala in Wandegeya isn’t the same as the Sempala Close in Nakasero.
But we are thankful for the hard work otherwise!