Friday, April 3, 2015

President's Visit to My Home Street;

By Esther Nakkazi

Today, the President visited Firidina Road in Kiwatule, my home street. It’s not necessarily the cleanest street, with goats and chickens roaming freely and a vacant plot where some residents, unwilling to pay for rubbish collection, dump their trash at night.

The plot’s caretaker, an elderly woman, occasionally burns the accumulated rubbish, loudly complaining as she does so. The resulting smoke often engulfs us if we are home. Children play on the roadside and sometimes in the road, enjoying games like dodgeball and skipping.

Half of Firidina Road is tarmacked while the other half is murram. Boda boda mechanics and ironworks artisans also work here, primarily on the upper side of the road. The street is about a kilometer and a half long.

The President visited to honor my neighbor, the late Joan Kagezi. During her memorial service yesterday, a member of the clergy suggested renaming the street after her. His visit was covered by the media: Museveni Visits Kagezi’s Family.

Joan Kagezi lived just a few gates away from my home. Though I’ve lived here for the past six years and occasionally bumped into her, we never exchanged greetings. I had no idea she was the Senior State Prosecutor; she was always a humble neighbor, never displaying any airs despite her position.

During my exercise runs, I used to pass her two-story house and continue along the half-dusty street. There was nothing to indicate her presence. When she passed away, we, as neighbors, went to console her family and were met with heavy police deployment.

Yesterday evening, while listening to the news, I heard the clergy's request to rename Firidina Road to Kagezi Road. I wondered why not rename one of Kampala’s streets after her instead. Is this the best way to show appreciation? Firidina Road is quite shabby.

Joan Kagezi lived a humble life and worked hard for this government and its people. While her home may be here, this half-tarmacked road does not deserve her name. She deserves better. 

Unless, of course, they fully tarmac it, install street lights, and beautify it. That might show a fitting tribute for a fallen hero. Farewell, my humble neighbor Joan Kagezi.

Firindina Road, Kiwatule

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