The Express Song

Broadcast live on your tv screens
Away from the tear gas
Inhaled on our behalf
By journalists
Professors clamour
Claiming deprived salaries

On our screens we view
Fist fights on Parliament floors
And we ask Will our Democracy Grow?
We ought to know
This is not a permanent flaw
When words flow
We only avoid blows
If we respect that by law
The high and the low
Have a right to speak
And be heard

Freedom to speak at the peak
To pick opinions
Like rings of onions
On top of pizza
Because even bizarre opinions
Deserve expression

Observe the crowds at news stands
They stand
Hands held back
Like they were told
“Togikwatako”
What if they were so touched
By what they read
That they act with an itch
For accountability
Because their leaders at the municipality
Are not at parity with civility

Abiriga should not pee on streets
Offices should not be sleeping suits
for civil servants
Taxis can be sleeping suits
For exhausted Ugandans counting
The rings of success
After tirthy years of power
In my taxi
A woman sleeps
Mouth open like her tongue
froze as she said “aahh”
She is an abyss
Resounding with sonorous snores
“Free Press”
“Free Press”

Indeed some jewels are rare
Like Joel,
Or if your tongue can rhyme
to the music of Bantu syllables
Yoweri

Somehow
Uganda boasts of a semblance
Of Free Media
She is not like some States
that have lost face
Façade of media

Media is a fat bellied tea pot
Brewed for you to imbibe
If your cup is full of reports
Of poor service delivery
At the dispensary
You can empty your dissent
At a demonstration

If your cup brims with promise
Such as “Computer misuse act allowed”
“Age limit Bill dismissed”
You can tip your cap at URA
And comply eagerly
with the collectors of our cents

Uganda’s contradictions though
Are ragged and unkempt
Like the Afro hair of her people
She boasts of a progressively
Worded Constitution
And cries of perpetual poor execution
She preaches freedom of expression
Yet the bearers of dissenting views
Are gagged and prosecuted

***

Link to the Italian translation

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