One day, a few months ago, Barbara Kadondo woke up and climbed a taxi to work. It was a normal day. Sunny. She picked her basket, piled in her stock and started working.
She was a street vendor.
As she walked on the streets, to her surprise, she was joined by a familiar face. A face she’s always seen on TV in her little muzigo. “Is this woman asking for votes this early? This isn’t Mawokota North,” she wondered.
The said familiar face was Amelia Kyambadde, Minister of Trade and Industry. A couple of months ago, the minister picked up a basket, piled it with mangoes, and took to the streets to make an extra buck. She had joined a group of women (street vendors) and, together, through the streets, they walked while selling their stock. I sat back and watched news clips and social media was awash with the story. To many, this was viewed as, merely, a publicity stunt; a feat to mock these women and other street vendors. It stirred a storm in a jug (not a teacup this time round).
I sat and waited where all this would lead to.
Personally, I was interested in the story. I mean, you don’t see ‘our ministers’ mingle with us if it’s not for consulting on lifting ages, looking for a vote here and there, or something along those lines. This was unusual. And it pulled my nose.
Later (recently), I would learn that the Trade & Industry Minister, during that street vending stunt, as viewed by many, had actually secured admissions for 210 vendors for short courses at Management Training and Advisory Centre (MTAC) in Nakawa. There was a female street vendor called Barbara Kadondo, a senior six dropout, whom she secured a certificate course in Entrepreneurship and Business Management. About 110 street vendors did short courses in Hairdressing and Catering. Here, in the picture below, they had graduated in their respective courses on Friday, 27th October 2017.
Now, these women will never be the same again. Trust me. From the endless run-ins with KCCA officials on the streets to acquiring new skills. Their livelihoods took a sharp turn towards north. This is a good gesture by Amelia Kyambadde. If such a bug bites across all ministers, this country wouldn’t be in dire need of prayers as it is right now.