Tibili has been working as a sweeper with Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA for over 10 years until last month on November 8th, 2021 when she got an accident that affected her back and hand. She narrates moments of the fateful day with teary eyes.
Sitting on a plastic carpet in her single room in quarter zone in Kanyanya off Gayaza Road where she lives with her husband, Zubairi Waiswa, Christine Tibili leans on her bed facing down. She ushers us into her house in a low tone as she struggles to sit upright to attend to us.
Tibili, has been working as a sweeper with Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA for over 10 years until last month on November 8th, 2021 when she got an accident that affected her back and hand. She narrates moments of the fateful day with teary eyes.
Tibili says she had swept and collected silt from one side of the road and was carrying it to the collection point on the other side of the road when a Boda boda rider hit her and left her unconscious for a few minutes.
//Cue in: “Nali nsala luguudo…
Cue out: …ndi awo buba,”//
Tibili says that she was in deep pain when the police and some of her workmates took her to Mulago National Referral Hospital. She could neither sit nor turn her body well. She called her husband who immediately came to the hospital.
//Cue in: “Nali ndi awo…
Cue out: …nekikumi ssikirina”//
Tibili’s husband Zubairi Waiswa, says that he rushed to the hospital where he found his wife on the floor sobbing. She was then offered a bed and doctors recommended that a scan be taken on her hand and back. Waiswa narrates how he mobilized Shillings 100,000 for the scan amidst financial constraints.
//Cue in: “Nange wano ssaasibamu…
Cue out: …nebongerako esatu,”//
Waiswa narrates that upon examining the scan, doctors advised that they purchase an orthopedic belt for the back but they couldn’t raise the over Shillings 500,000 needed. The couple decided that Tibili goes back to their village in Kamuli for traditional treatment, which they did.
//Cue in: “Ej’ekkumya gyagendera…
Cue out: …ssente teziriiwo”//
Tibili says she can’t engage in any serious work, even lifting a two-liter jerrycan of water is a tug of war. She can’t sit for long without supporting her back. Tibili can’t go back to work despite the fact that she needs money to sustain her family. Her husband, Waiswa lost his job as a driver during the first COVID-19 lockdown leaving the family largely dependent on Tibili. Tibili was earning Shillings 180, 000 monthly but was last paid in September. The contract of the Kawempe Division Community SACCOS under, which she operated expired on September 15th, 2021.
But like her colleagues, she continued to work hoping that she would be paid, after all, they have previously experienced lapses in their contract but continued to work and were paid. Tibili has appealed to KCCA to pay her and help her get her savings from the National Social Security Fund- NSSF.
//Cue in: “Emyezi gyibadde…
Cue out: …nga mbadde mukozi,”//
Her husband, Waiswa says it has been difficult to treat his wife under the current conditions. He says Tibili’s supervisor, often visited and promised to approach KCCA for support but nothing has come through yet.
//Cue in: “Naye nga tetulabye…
Cue out: …oba yabikomyaawa”//
Tibili’s story is shared by several workers including another old man in his 50s who preferred to stay anonymous to be able to speak freely. He says earlier this year, he was diagnosed with a hernia, a condition that could have resulted from carrying heavy objects.
He sought financial support from KCCA through his supervisors in vain. The supervisors advised him to borrow money and go for surgery as they pursued KCCA for any assistance. When we talked to him, the husband of two and father of more than seven children had a debt of over Shillings 800,000 and feared that the creditors would confiscate his property any time.
//Cue in: “Ebinyu byange bagenda…
Cue out: …wengenda zziggya”//
Umar Kato, another worker, and the supervisor say that more KCCA workers share Tibili’s ordeal. He says many are forced to turn to their savings in SACCOs, which Tibili is still hesitant to do. The Waste and Sanitation Manager of KCCA and acting spokesperson have not yet commented as they were not in their offices when our reporter went there. Recently the Ag. KCCA Spokesperson, Juliet Bukirwa told URN that KCCA usually treats their workers when they fall sick in the course of their work.
She made the revelation after one of the workers died after falling on the road while sweeping. His colleagues said that when Sam Lugya Nsamba was sick, it took days before KCCA intervened to help him. According to the Employment Act, when an employee is sick and cannot attend work for a month, the employer should fully pay them. But the employee should also tell the employer of their condition as soon as they can.