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HomeOPINIONS AND COLUMNSNAMISI BRUNO: Stop Using Vulnerable Groups For Selfish Interests

NAMISI BRUNO: Stop Using Vulnerable Groups For Selfish Interests

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I write with great concern regarding the continued unabated vice of people using vulnerable persons as  baits for earning income. This concern is drawn from my personal experience and recent observations.  Using an example of what happened this year around Easter season, I met a passenger around Colline Hotel stage in Mukono town, looking stranded, wearing ram shackled clothes, with two children aged  between one and seven years.

This gentleman carried a placard which read that he lacked about five  thousand shillings (5,000/=), to meet the transport fare to his destination, from Mukono town. He looked  frail and indeed needed help, which I kindly offered through the taxi conductor.

Upon giving him Ten  thousand shillings (10,000/=), the conductor gave me back change of 2,000/= after deducting my fare of  3,000 and 5,000 for the stranded gentleman, and his children. Many passengers were so grateful towards  my act of kindness to this helpless man. Fast forward, three months down the road, I bump into the same  gentleman in the city center, with the same children, wearing same clothes, with a placard reading a  different message. 

As I narrated this story to one of my sisters-In-Law, she also told me about a scenario which befell her while in the middle of town. She told us of a lady who walks with a child, whose toes have been cut off, that she randomly throws onto any reveler’s laps, and, she starts weeping until she is paid to carry away that  child to her next victim. This conversation led me to recall the ploys I have personally seen being used by  

different individuals like wheeling the lame, walking with the visibly sick and frail patients through markets  and town centers, in the name of mobilizing support to take care of their medical bills. Some of these  people who are used as baits walk with open wounds on different parts of their bodies, which are  sometimes scary, especially to the young children, upon sight. 

Whereas, I personally appreciate the efforts of those who try to assist these vulnerable groups to access  something to eat and other basic needs, it is high time they changed the approach for achieving the same.  It should not be done in a derogatory manner. Furthermore, I have begun to suspect that some of these  helpers have found employment in assisting these vulnerable groups. However, they should recognize the  fact that some of their actions are at the expense of the victims’ human rights and dignity.  

By this letter, I therefore call upon those in authority especially the Ministry of Gender Labor and Social  Development, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Internal Affairs, and, any other stakeholders to pick interest in  this matter. Let there be more sensitization about this issue, and apprehension where need be. 

Namisi Bruno Ignatius 

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