For how long will we lose lives during “Maandamanos” fighting illusionary battles?

By Habiba Wakio

Amani automatically tightened the hold on his jacket as he stepped out into the cold. He had just arrived home from campus when he received a call asking him to deliver several litres of milk to one of his regular customers. Amani instantly agreed, knowing too well that he would get a big tip from the man loaded with cash. He had taken up this job the previous week when his mother’s shop got burned during the protest, resulting in the loss of her stock and the little money she had saved for their expenses.

Before starting his trip, he unchained his bicycle and tied the milk jars to it. The stench and stinging smoke from the burning tyres welcomed him as he reached the tarmac. The shops and grocery stalls along the road were a pitiful sight. As much as Amani craved change, he could not join the protesters because of the results yielded from the demonstration. One of his classmates had broken a leg and spent part of his tuition fees in the hospital. Amani could not fathom why, even after witnessing the damage caused by the rally, people were still participating in it. It is said that no pain, no gain, but what fruits would the common mwananchi live to enjoy when there’s a rapid loss of lives and livelihoods? The opposition leader, Mr Olamo, who had instigated the citizens to take that approach to lower the cost of living, went about his daily activities unscathed.

Amani was about to climb on his bike when something sharp and metallic hit his head, striking him down. His bike fell together with its contents. His neighbour, Neema, coming home from work, found him sprawled on the tarmac, bleeding, and rushed to inform his family. Sadly, he died before reaching the hospital. Two weeks after Amani was laid to rest, the protest ended. Just like Amani’s family, many other people lost their loved ones and sources of income. Furthermore, a lot of money had been spent on treatment and conducting funerals. Business was now back to normal, but the cries of the citizens were unheard; the price of commodities was still high.

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