History has made an interesting return, in true history fashion. Remember those days we read about in history when the Maasai were not thrilled about a big metal snake being built in their land? I think we have the same problem in Kasese.
“We” in this case is really used liberally depending on what side of the issue you want to fall. If you think it’s a good thing that the system is miffed that railway sleepers have been disappearing in Kasese, then maybe you’ll pour out some liquor. But if you think this is another case of blind people trying to have sex with themselves, then you’ll probably throw up your hands exasperatedly. And then put then down again. Maybe, like me, you’ll laugh.
A few years ago, when the power load shedding was really bad, when we were in the dark every night, someone suggested we sneak up to the transformer one night and take it down. We’d hide it in the house, maybe under the bed. Practicalities like where would we take it after that or who would want to buy it anyway were just words.
Of course we all had a good laugh but last year someone must have decided to shift the plan into action. Guys actually stole a transformer and could have gotten away with it if it hadn’t fallen on the Land Rover pick-up truck they had. They disappeared but everyone saw the evidence for the next week parked at Kira Road police station and marveled at what a man will do when he’s called to step up to do what he’s got to do.
In 1898, the British dissected the land of the Maasai and built a railway up to Kasese. This was to make the job of ferrying our copper to the coast and to their home without so much trouble. Of course, the history books have told the world that the coolies and the British had to fight off the savages by any means possible in order to bring civilization to the area but the Maasai know better. We know better.
We learnt that work stalled in this area for a long time because of the lions and the warriors, who always waited for the sleepers to be laid before they swooped down and carried them off to make better use of them.
Now the people in Kasese have employed these same stunts. And it has been said that the real masterminds are the security agencies, reaping where they … didn’t sow.
Sleepers are selling like crazy. Just one costs Shs300, 000. At the press briefing, there were six trucks with about 1, 200 sleepers. They are being sought for their pure steel.
I burst out laughing when the Railways Commandant answered to a question on the news last night that: “90 per cent of the line from Mityana to Mubende has been vandalized. There are whole sections where the railway has turned into a road for cars.” I mean, if the train is not coming around any time soon, what’s the point of keeping the rail when we can drive our cars in the space?