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    African Writers’ Corner

    When death stalks our land AGAIN

    Kirigo wa Wanyugi

    2009-03-11, Issue 423

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    Walumbe's* hand stalks our land AGAIN
    Oh, each generation has to lose brilliant lives
    So the rich can gorge themselves to death
    while we die of hunger

    Oh Walumbe's hand stalks this land AGAIN
    Oi, oi, the young fall to death!

    And you, fat bellied sit telling me of middle class woes
    As if I care!

    This time we will not sit idle
    Stand by and watch the young die
    To protect our gated world
    our cushioned life
    For none of us is safe no more no more

    For each pretence and prayer we make
    While all the while we know that it is we that feed
    the greed and need
    of those who steal from the mouths of babes
    By tightening our eyelids in pretended prayer
    And hope that God alone and only he can clean this stain
    When you know well that in your hand
    you hold this power he gave
    And the least you can do is feign ignorance AGAIN
    That those children are dying because you prefer
    to pretend that God will come tomorrow and sort it out

    Your ticket is straight to hell because you know quite well
    That he gave the garden of Eden for you to tend
    And every bending weed is yours to clear
    And every apple tree that Adam pretends that Eve gave
    Compounds the guilt of women and men who fail
    When their land is on the verge of fire AGAIN
    and the children, again, have to fall

    At the gate, everyone will account for what they did,
    when they knew, what they saw and what they heard
    They will have to tell what they did
    Who it was that was guzzling
    And who was muzzling
    While others lay dying, not even knowing
    The splendours that the country could yield
    The feasts galore
    And the stashes of loot high piled
    And the shiny shoes unearned
    And the bloated belly
    for different reasons
    like different seasons
    in one
    And the burps
    And the farts
    And the laughter
    As we swigged imported liqueur
    And fed millions Unga
    At troughs, unfit for animal feed

    Soon the day of reckoning will come for all,
    And you will have to account for your part in the masquerade

    And yet you knew that all you had to do
    Was stop the fires before they burnt
    It was is your hand, as much as it was in mine
    When our land came to an end
    And the light burned out

    * In Uganda Walumbe was the god of death, the brother-in-law of Kintu.
    * Please send comments to [email protected] or comment online at

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