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In praise of potholes

Why do Ugandans complain about potholes?

BE PATRIOTIC: What is it about Ugandans that blinds them to the eighth wonder of the world located right in the heart of Africa? We must learn to love our country, and loving potholes is one of the elements of patriotism.

Ugandans love to complain over things that do not make sense. They are an ungrateful lot. Take for example the Lugogo traffic lights. Ugandans have been spreading propaganda that our government doesn’t care, it is wasting money, and is not efficient.

But the past few days have proven them wrong. The Lugogo traffic lights have resurrected. Travel around the world and you won’t find something as magnificent as these traffic lights. They are the first of a kind in the entire world. These lights use artificial intelligence to notify road users when it is their turn to drive off. It speaks to the efficiency of our great government and the city authority. It took us less than a decade to repair them. This speaks to speed of execution. We are on top of the world in this game.

That brings us to potholes. Why in the heavens do Ugandans complain about potholes? What is it about Ugandans that blinds them to the eighth wonder of the world that’s located right in the heart of Africa? We must learn to love our country, and loving potholes is one of the elements of patriotism.

Let’s look at the brighter side of potholes. When it comes to productivity, it simply means we don’t have to spend on road humps. That means we don’t have to deal with the cantankerous Subaru, and Alteza fellows. The potholes can reign them in. As the Subaru chap rushes to overtake, he is met with the grandmother of a pothole and he is forced to reduce speed.

With potholes, we have automatic speed governors. This is the first centralised speed-governing system in the world. There’s no other country in the world with such technology. We could export our technology to other countries around the road. We can share learnings and become the benchmark in the industry of potholes. For every car in Uganda, we have assigned a pothole. These are the things Bobi Wine should be sharing with the world. Instead, he’s chosen to portray Uganda as a failed state. Potholes are proof that Uganda works, and it works beyond the wildest of our expectations.

“Since we are a water-stressed country, potholes can also be used for water storage. .. in our next development plan, every city in Uganda will have a measure of pothole per capita. When things get bad, one can choose to sell their pothole, plant some yams or…”

What more can you do with potholes? Sight-seeing. You notice that while driving at lower speeds, you can gaze more at the world around you. You can notice the booming real estate industry in Kampala. You get a chance to look at the billboards in town. That also means more money for the advertising industry as their clients register returns on investment. It turns out, speed hurts the whole economy. The slower you can go, the better for this economy.

Since we are a water-stressed country, potholes can also be used for water storage. We can decide that in our next development plan, every city in Uganda will have a measure of pothole per capita. For everyone Ugandan, there should be at least three potholes. When things get bad, one can choose to sell their pothole, plant some yams or better still use it for aqua tourism.

We need to overcome our self-hate as Ugandans. We need to recognise that we are seated on gold. Now we can also share our road-patching technology. And how we are fusing technology and art to create beauty on the road. Our industrial art students at university take precious time in crafting these patches. The patches are then modelled using a 3D software before being translated into reality on the road. For every road patch you see, that means jobs for our students, jobs for the construction companies, it is a circular economy. No road patch is the same. Each patch is uniquely crafted.

Finally, you have the mechanics. Where do you expect them to eke out a living if not from your problematic cars? We must be considerate. Your shock absorbers need to be tested. And when found deficient, you are forced to repair them. In fact, potholes have been certified by the standards body as the perfect way to test if a car is road-worthy. If your car cannot stand a pothole test, then it should not be on our great roads. You can seek car asylum in nearby Burundi or Rwanda, but not Uganda.

As Ugandans, we should now be thinking of how to amplify our potholes. How do we market them to the world? Rwanda has the gorilla-naming ceremony. Could we come back stronger with the pothole naming ceremony? We get celebrities from around the world to pay money and get a chance to name a pothole? Or we create an ‘adopt a pothole’ campaign? Full Figure could adopt a pothole. Tamale Mirundi could adopt another. Potholes should be treated as an endangered species.

We could even gazette a pothole public holiday. That one day when we come together as a country to appreciate the beauty of our potholes. Without potholes, we are nothing. With potholes, we are everything.

Twitter: ortegatalks

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