This year started on a high for ‘By The Way’; the first article of the year was a call for every reader to be a ‘Batambuze’ this year. Mubarak Batambuze is a resident of Kaliro district who became a hero after killing a crocodile that had allegedly killed his wife and several other villagers. Batambuze’s story, in another place, would make for silver screen gold. Jason Statham, with his kicks and mean look, has nothing on a villager who bravely took on a crocodile that weighed almost a tonne with a spear and an axe.
This week is extra special – Batambuze did it again! A friend of his went fishing and got attacked by a crocodile. The friend promptly made a phone call to Batambuze who showed up a few minutes later, captured and locked up the crocodile for Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to pick up. This felt like that moment you listen to a new song from an artist whose first song you loved so much, you were worried they’d never release anything as good-and then they did! Such exciting stuff. Batambuze is the wonder who went beyond his one hit (because he actually used multiple hits to subdue the crocodiles).
The story isn’t without some evil villain trying to steal our hero’s shine; in our case, it’s Oswald Tumanya, a senior UWA officer. He is quoted to have said, “We have over and again warned him (our hero, Batambuze) but he is adamant but he should be ready for the repercussions…The Police should trail and arrest him red-handed capturing a crocodile and be charged in court, otherwise, his being a celebrity may cost him his life.”
Our nefarious villain argues that he’s concerned that Batambuze is endangering his own life and he should be arrested. If you followed the story from the beginning, residents and their leaders are reported to have made several attempts to contact UWA to capture the crocodiles. UWA allegedly, didn’t intervene, citing a lack of fuel. Interestingly, in the second case, Batambuze didn’t kill the crocodile – he captured it and handed it over to UWA, the guys whose job he’s doing (while they plot his arrest).
Wouldn’t it be easier, Mr. Tumanya, to train Batambuze in better ways of capturing the reptiles? He’s already doing it anyway and the community now calls him, not UWA (since it wasn’t there when they needed it). Capture the crocs, not Batambuze. It brings to mind several other instances where we arrest people we should be nurturing.