The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: Entebbe Right On Litter Fine

Entebbe Municipal Council has introduced a by-law whereby any resident caught littering will be fined a definite Shs 50,000.

Whistleblowers stand to get half that amount for reporting the offenders. Irresponsible littering and garbage disposal have made life in Uganda's urban centres almost unbearable. Besides making the towns filthy, they cost the urban authorities a lot of money to deal with. Yet appealing to the people's good sense doesn't seem to work, thus necessitating such drastic actions.

The idea of rewarding whistleblowers is rather creative, given that the urban authorities cannot be expected to be everywhere. It also makes sense in Uganda where many urban dwellers lack a strong sense of civic duty. Otherwise, responsible residents need no reward for reporting offenders because they have a vested interest in a clean environment.

However, to avoid allegations of being harsh and prone to abuse, the by-law needs to conform to principles of natural justice by giving the suspects a chance to defend themselves, say in a special tribunal. But the bigger challenge remains implementation, the Achilles' heel of many well-intentioned initiatives in Uganda. In fact, such by-laws already exist on most urban authorities' law books, but implementation has always been the missing link.

Indeed a couple of months ago, some offenders were rounded up in Kampala and charged in court for littering, but that campaign has since lost steam, and now it's back to business as usual. Besides, dustbins and garbage collection services must be provided first, so as to remove excuses.

And then unscrupulous people who steal the dustbins, just as those who steal road signposts, streetlight bulbs, manhole covers and related items, should be equally fined or charged with theft.

While we are still at it, public toilets must be provided in urban areas before residents can be penalised for urinating on roadsides or other public places.

Having clean towns will take some sacrifice and Entebbe is leading the way; let the others follow.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2013 The Observer. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.