Carpet sweeper

KCCA Sweeper struggles for treatment after accident :: Ugandan radio network

Tibili has worked as a sweeper with the Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA for over 10 years until last month, November 8, 2021, when she had an accident that affected her back and hand. She recounts moments of the fateful day with tears in her eyes.

Sitting on a plastic rug in her single room in the Kanyanya neighborhood near Gayaza Road where she lives with her husband, Zubairi Waiswa, Christine Tibili leans on her bed face down on the floor. She leads us into her house in a low voice as she struggles to sit up straight to take care of us.

Tibili, has worked as a sweeper with the Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA for over 10 years until last month, November 8, 2021, when she had an accident that affected her back and hand. She recounts moments of the fateful day with tears in her eyes.

Tibili says she swept and picked up silt on one side of the road and was carrying it to the collection point across the road when a runner from Boda boda hit her and left her unconscious for a few minutes.

// Cue in: “Nali nsala luguudo …

Signal: … ndi awo buba, “//

Tibili says she was in deep pain when the police and some of her colleagues took her to the Mulago National Referral Hospital. She could neither sit up nor turn her body well. She called her husband who immediately came to the hospital.

// Cue in: “Nali ndi awo …

Report: … nekikumi ssikirina “//

Tibili’s husband Zubairi Waiswa says 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 CT scan be done on her hand and back. Waiswa recounts how he mobilized 100,000 shillings for analysis amid financial constraints.

// Cue in: “Nange wano ssaasibamu …

Report: … nebongerako esatu, “//

Waiswa says that after examining the CT scan, the doctors advised to buy an orthopedic belt for the back, but they were unable to increase the required 500,000 shillings. The couple decided that Tibili return to their village of Kamuli for traditional treatment, which they did.

// Cue in: “Ej’ekkumya gyagendera …

Go out: … feel teziriiwo “//

Tibili says she can’t engage in serious work, even lifting a two-liter jerry can of water is a showdown. She cannot sit for long without supporting her back. Tibili cannot return to work despite the fact that she needs money to support 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 180,000 shillings per month but was last paid in September. The Kawempe Division Community SACCOS contract under which it operated expired on September 15, 2021.

But like her colleagues, she continued to work hoping that she would be paid, after all, they had already experienced breaches of contract but continued to work and were paid. Tibili asked KCCA to pay her and help her get her savings from the National Social Security Fund – NSSF.

// Cue in: “Emyezi gyibadde …

Report: … nga mbadde mukozi, “//

Her husband, Waiswa, says it has been difficult to treat his wife under the current conditions. He says Tibili’s supervisor has visited often and promised to contact KCCA for help, but nothing has happened yet.

// Cue in: “Naye nga tetulabye …

Signal: … oba yabikomyaawa “//

The story of Tibili is shared by several workers including another old man in his fifties who preferred to remain anonymous in order to be able to express himself freely. He said earlier this year that he was diagnosed with a hernia, a condition that could have resulted from carrying heavy objects.

He unsuccessfully requested financial support from KCCA through his supervisors. Supervisors advised her to borrow money and have the operation because they sought help from KCCA. When we spoke to him, the husband of two and father of more than seven was in debt of over 800,000 shillings and was concerned that creditors would confiscate his property at any time.

// Cue in: “Ebinyu byange bagenda …

Phone call: … wengenda zziggya “//

Umar Kato, another worker, and the supervisor say 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. KCCA’s waste and sanitation manager and acting spokesperson have yet to comment as they were not in their offices when our reporter visited. Recently, Ag. KCCA spokeswoman Juliet Bukirwa told URN that KCCA typically treats its employees when they fall ill while on the job.

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 ill, it took days for KCCA to step in to help him. According to the law on employment, when an employee is ill and cannot work for a month, the employer must pay him in full. But the employee must also inform the employer of his condition as soon as he can.