One of the biggest news items a few weeks ago was about Australian cricket players who were caught tampering with the ball, and thus trying to cheat. Without going into the intricacies of what entails ball tampering in cricket, what happened was that cameras in the stadium where the test match took place caught one of the players trying to hide a substance he had used to change the texture of the ball.
The images were immediately shown on the stadium’s large screens, and the umpires questioned the players, who managed to talk themselves out of trouble. But the images went viral, the whole of Australia raised a might roar, a closer look was taken by cricket authorities, and the players are facing extensive bans from the game.
The moral of this short story is that in this time and age, it is very difficult to hide whatever it is you are doing wrong. Chances are wherever you are, there is a camera watching you, or there is somebody with a camera. Most of the perpetrators of terrorist attacks in Europe have been tracked down because of CCTV footage, and in China, with the help of face-recognition technology, it was shown that wherever you are, it would take an average of 20 minutes and the police would be onto you.
Uganda has been waiting for extensive CCTV coverage for more than 10 years now, and although a minister recently presented a sh9bn budget for them, there is no guarantee that we shall get them anytime soon.
But almost everywhere you go these days in Uganda, there is one thing in plenty, telephones with cameras. One cannot underestimate the power of ‘citizen journalism’, because that is what it actually is. As an example, several concerned citizens have spotted late model cars with registration number plates issued way before those cars were even made. Usually they post on Twitter and tag the URA. Quite a number of those cars, whose owners probably wanted to dodge paying high taxes for their luxury cars, have been impounded by the URA.
So, obviously this kind of thing works. Recently there has been a campaign, again on social media, to reign in errant drivers. The hashtag #StayInYourLane is used to show up these sons and daughters of knuckleheads, but we all know our police force most probably will not do much. Apart from threatening to issue a ticket to one of their own that was photographed driving across a traffic island, there has been not much response.
These last few days I have had the misfortune of being caught up in rush hour traffic, something I had managed to avoid for many years. But due to circumstances outside my control, I have not been able to avoid all these cars fighting for space on the narrow Kampala roads.
For the record, a good number of drivers in Kampala have become increasingly disciplined, but there are always those dwanzies that think they are more important than the rest of us, or that we are the dunderheads. There is nothing more annoying than seeing one of these muttonheads creating a new lane, and all the other numskulls that follow them. The next real epidemic of road rage is going to come from such an incident, and I will not shed a tear for the schmuck that get their goose cooked for them.
A traffic dwanzi creates an extra lane on the Ntinda-Kiwatule road
But, here is what I suggest. Let us all use our phones, take photographs of those nitwits and post them on a dedicated police page. In more developed societies than ours, most traffic offences are tracked by cameras, and those pumpkin heads get served with fines. And if they dodge the fines their cars get clamped.
What are the fines for such offences? Sh200,000, maybe? What if the police were to offer to give just 10% of the fine to whoever posts pictures of those thick-skulled blubber heads?
On my home stretch between Ntinda and Kiwatule, on any given day within a 30-minute period, especially in the mornings and evenings, at least 20 ratbags will create that extra lane. But if they knew that someone is taking their photograph, and that soon somebody would be looking for them to clamp their cars, they might think again about being such dum-dums.
What is even better, all those street guys waiting to snatch phones from unsuspecting folks stuck in that slow traffic will instead position themselves with their semi-smart kabiriti phones to take pictures of those boneheads, and know they will make an honest day’s work.
We really cannot wait while some government official tries to negotiate a kickback before buying the CCTV cameras, and the necessary technology installed. We really are tired of these scum bugs, and we should all say ‘NO MORE MORONS!’ and I hope someone in the police is listening.