May day ;Bloodshed in Kyanja

May Day, also called Workers’ Day or International Workers’ Day, is the day that commemorates the struggles and gains made by workers and the labour movement. The irony of this is that a Minister of Labor,Colonel Charles Engola was gunned down this morning . I found out from the Speaker of the house when Parliament was reconsidering the Anti Homosexuality Bill. I was watching NBS TV and they did a live coverage and interviewed a number of people including Latif Ssebagala who was at the scene of crime .

Misplaced Anger? It is reported that the bodyguard shot the minister at close range and shot another bodyguard who was critically injured and is admitted at Mulago Hospital. An onlooker who saw the bodyguard walk outside the gate heard him say Nze silina buzibu namwe, obuzibu mbulina ne gavumenti,….omukazi wange ali lubuto.abaana babyame lipooti.sinasasulwa”(I have no issues with you ,my issue is with the government .my wife is pregnant,my children have been denied reports and I have not been paid) People have thus concluded that the issue was non payment of salaries . According to some sources on social media ,the bodyguard was barely a month old with fallen minister and it is Ministry of Defense supposed to be paying the soldier and not the minister, whereas that is true,the minister was government to the bodyguard. The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Defense while appearing before a select committee, revealed that the soldiers had taken long without being paid. This was while explaining that the budget cuts by Ministry of Finance are not necessary .The defense forces are not supposed to be in Trade Unions lest that would be encouraging a mutiny. My sincere condolences to the government of Uganda and the family of the late Engola.

Lessons from This

I in no way condone the murderous act because that is not how to deal with any issue however angry one is. But at the risk of becoming Bourbons, we are going to learn and forget nothing. The head of State has disdain for any industrial action and says that the workers should never hold government at ransom. A body guard is supposed to lay his body for you. A measure of a man is how he treats his unequals, these are the things you won’t learn from any management school. One is supposed to have empathy for example chat up with the worker about the family and kids ,it is from such conversations that you can establish the pressing needs and see if you can help where you can. Humans treasure one thing ,dignity ,the ability to listen to them and make them feel valued. That’s a great investment and the return on investment is high. The fallen minister of course is not on record having talked about the payment of workers. Whereas this is an indictment on labor relations in our country. We need some soul searching on how we treat our workers/ unequals. It can be a maid/driver/askari. Let us get in the habit of dignifying the lesser people in employment and all will be well. May the soul of the colonel rest in Peace.


  1. Mark . T says:

    I thought soldiers are the first to be paid. Maybe it only applies to special forces commandos

  2. Shadray says:

    The irony of a worker killing their boss, who is the head of workers in a whole country over poor working conditions just one day after celebrating the workers’ day.

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