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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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ISSN 1753-6839 Pambazuka News English Edition

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