Saturday, May 13, 2017

Give Smokers Some Leeway!

My parents, The World Health Organisation (WHO) and The Ministry of Health, have issues with smoking and for obvious reasons because WHO reckons that....
  • ·         Six million people die from tobacco related diseases every year which, averages out at one death every six seconds.
  • ·         22% of the world’s population aged 15+ are smokers. 78% do not smoke. Non smoking is becoming the norm.
  • ·         10% of the world’s population live in countries that have sufficiently high tax rates on cigarettes.

Meanwhile in the UK, The British Lung Foundation led a campaign to outlaw smoking in cars that have children in it.  They claim more than 430,000 children are exposed to second hand smoke in the family car each week. The campaign was successful that effective October 2015, legislation was passed make it an offence to smoke in a car with children in it.

Although I have been known to smoke, I do feel it was a good idea to ban smoking inside buildings such as bars and restaurants. Those who want to smoke can always make to with going outside. In England for example, pubs used to have a Smokers Lounge until legislation outlawed smoking in all public buildings.

I was in transit in Dubai recently and after a 7-hour flight, I desperately craved for a cigarette. Dubai International, unlike Entebbe or Heathrow and Gatwick airports in the UK, does provide a smokers lounge which, was a relief. With two hours to kill, I figured I could smoke enough cigarettes to get me through the next leg of my journey – another 7-hour flight at that.


Anybody who has been through Dubai International, will be in agreement with me that it is a first rate airport. Walking though the terminal, one is in awe at the design and attention to detail that went into it. Another thing, just about everything you could possibly want to buy is sold in the airport – right from the usual duty free shopping to cars and apartments.

With that, I expected to find a plush smoker lounge complete with all the amenities - plus a couple of Lebanese belly dancers for me to gawp at while a scantily clad petite lady with an average bust massaged my feet. Sitting by my side, would be the prettiest girl from Arabia and whose job would be to light my cigarettes, hold the ashtray out for me and to spray my mouth with mouth wash to get rid of the smell.

Alas, when I got to the lounge, there was none of that. As soon as I opened the door, there was a haze of smoke that is was next to impossible to see anything in front of me. Let me put it this way. Imagine being in a small room that has no ventilation while watching the sigiri light up or having your nose pressed inside exhaust pipe of a truck carrying charcoal from Bushenyi to Kampala.


That was the smoker lounge. The heat was stifling and after my first puff, I had a thought. Why am smoking? Why don’t I simply make do with inhaling the second hand smoke? In the end, I barely managed three puffs. It was too much. When I got outside, the smell of fresh air was such a relief. It took some time to get my breath back and as I sat looking at the lounge, there was a need to ask myself a question. Is that what non smokers go through whenever they are next to a smoker?



As I pondered on that, Non Smoker who sat next to me had this to say: “Jeez, you smell like a smoke factory” and relocated herself as far away from me as possible.                           

Monday, May 8, 2017

When Your Privacy Is Invaded

Simply put, people have got to start behaving and learn to respect personal space and to stop encroaching. Many years ago, on a Sunday at that – not that it would have made a difference had it not been a Sunday, I was on an empty London bus - save for Driver.

When we got to Mile End bus stop, which is outside a Jehovah’s Witness church, Bible Bashing Jajja boarded. As she pays her fare, she heaps Driver words of religious wisdom then starts her journey down the aisle to find a seat.

She had freedom of choice. She could have sat on any of the empty seats but nedda, she made a beeline to sit next to me and that was cause for concern. Had she been some young fit female with a nubile body, I would have welcomed the invasion of privacy - except, she wasn’t that. She was Bible Bashing Jajja who had difficulty walking and worse, her skin hung off her body the way the skin ghastly hangs off the nose of a yet to be slaughtered Christmas lunch turkey.

Of course, I swung her ‘the look’. And she retorted by swinging me her look that read: “Don’t you dare open your mouth. Sit there and listen to what I have to say.” And with that, out came the Bible and the more she read out the passage, she more she whipped herself into some sort of freaky frenzy that was punctuated with chants of praise the lord.

When I got to my stop, rather than head straight home as I had planned, a detour to the nearest ale house beckoned to have more than a couple of shots of ‘the striding man’ while berating myself for allowing my personal space to be invaded.

Godfrey and Tom are loaded. They are nice chaps but they are invaders of personal space. I am cool about shaking hands as a greeting or concluding a deal. Two quick shakes suffice. There is no need to take it beyond that – except, Tom and Godfrey do. They go on even when it’s quite evident that your grip has relaxed and thus signalling the end of the handshake. But there is more. Having already invaded your privacy by not letting go after two handshakes, they then entwine their fingers into yours and want to walk with you. So not cool!



If you do manage to untangle your fingers from theirs, they won’t leave it be. Once again their hands will come searching for yours. The only way to get yourself out of that quagmire is to make sure your hands are full.

I was in The Fox and Hounds, a pub near the Bank of England shortly before Stockbroker descended in for his obligatory liquid lunch. In the basement are the men’s toilets with close to twelve urinals and six cubicles.

When I walked in there was nobody there that, I had the freedom of choice to pick whatever urinal that I wanted to pee into. Urinal six from the door looked good and ten seconds after I unzipped, the door opens and in walks Stockbroker.

Should I pause a while and let you figure out what happened next? Dude walked up to urinal seven to do his thing. Really, of all urinals he could have picked, he decides to use the one right next to me?! Obviously there was a just need to glare at him which I did. But he didn’t reciprocate like Bible Bashing Jajja did, so I had no recourse but utter an ‘hmm’ of disgust at the invasion of my privacy.


And what’s the deal with people who come and press up against you in the ATM queue?          


          

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Meet Bebe Cool Zuena

If Parent of Impressionable Teen has cause to vent fury, it’s not with Lady Gaga, them Kardashian girls or with ‘Lil’ Wayne. It’s home grown and with Bebe Cool. Can we bookmark Bebe till later? We can? Cool.

No Tattoo Room Left:  Lil Wayne

In my teens, there was no internet, Twitter or Facebook and thus no Hollywood idols to follow and who could scatter us. When it came to impressing Girlfie, it was about wearing tight butt and crotch hugging strides, afros, platform shoes and not buttoning up our shirts all to the top.

But Parent didn’t get nutty because he too, was busy dressing up like the local talent - Jimmy Katumba, Elly Wamala and The Afrigo Band in tight strides to impress Wifey.

Hollywood has a way of showing affection. Angelina Jolie had a tattoo - ‘Billy Bob’ of husband – Billy Bob Thornton on her arm as did Big Bang Theory Star, Kaley Cuoco, of husband - Ryan Sweeting. Eva Longoria had three tattoos in honour of hubby, Tony Parker. She had the word ‘nine’ on the back of her neck since that was Parker's number, the date of their marriage on her wrist and his initials apparently hidden somewhere else on her body. Model and TV personality, Heidi Klum had a tattoo reading ‘Seal’ on her right arm while musician, Marc Anthony got one that read - ‘Jennifer’ when he was dating J-Lo while actress Denise Richards got herself a ‘Charlie’ when she was married to Charlie Sheen.

But in Hollywood as we all know, few relationships go the distance that Jolie, Cuoco, Longoria, Klum eventually split or got divorced and thus the tattoos had to go.

Here, when it comes to affection, we take Girlfie to a kafunda that has a garden and sit at the very back by the boundary wall and pull the sunshade umbrella very low so we can’t be seen. Or we take her to some beach and if the ATM allows, to some fancy expensive place.

But now there are issues. Today, Girlfie wants more than just being taken for an outing to Bobbi Wine’s Busabala beach. She wants more than just holding hands or being seen in public together or being bought a ride with her name on the number plates. She wants Hollywood. She wants a man with razzmatazz. She wants her man to do something extraordinary for her so all other women – and men know that she has Boyfie.

And this is where we remove the bookmark and bring Bebe back into the fray. Bebe has heeded those demands, upped his ante, gone Hollywood and done something that surely must be a first in this dusty country of ours. He had a tattoo done. So what I hear you cry.
 
Under The Ink: Bebe Cool

Did you not read the part in the previous paragraph where I said he has upped his ante and gone Hollywood?” Not only has he had a tattoo done, he has had it done on his neck for the world to see. And his chosen tattoo? Zuena!

Parent of impressionable Teen Daughter or Son must be aghast with Bebe’s stunt, just in case they come home one evening flashing similar tattoos of Boyfie or Girlfie’s name etched into their necks or across their knuckles.
 
Marked For Life: Bebe Cool Zuena 

I am not sure if Zuena pushed him into having it done, or it was a moment of temporary insanity on his part, but what is certain, is that he didn’t read about the anguish and torment that Jolie, Cuoco, Klum and Richards had to endure in covering up their tattoos when their relationships soured.

What’s his Plan B if the tattoo has to be removed? What the heck - I joined a 100k-to-join sweepstake and stand to reap at least 2m if he and Zuena....


Pictures: Bebe Cool, Internet

Thursday, April 20, 2017

How To Accept A Bribe And Not Get Caught

SEEKING ADVICE from Ms Bayego whose Luganda is allegedly on par, this is what she says. Enjawulo = kickback. Enguzi = bribe.
Let’s be honest. Many of us have at some point accepted a kick back or a bribe. Just to point out, a bribe need not be cash. It could be an all expenses paid weekend to Mweya or Mombasa for example.

I was not at Serena Hotel when State Minister, Herbert Kabafunzaki, was snared for allegedly accepting a sh30m bribe - nor am I going to offer an opinion. However, I am going to do something unethical – educate you on what to do with your enguzi and some smart steps to make sure you don’t get caught like Kabafunzaki, Damian Kazinda of NFA and the rest.

Caught in a sting: State Minister Herbert Kabafunzaki

Don’t go to Serena: Wherever you go to pick up your enguzi, take a walk in the car park and look for cars that might belong to the security operatives and treat everybody as undercover agents out to nab you. When the money is comes out, in a clear voice say: “What is this? Why are you giving me this” until you are satisfied you are not being watched or recorded. 


Serena Hotel, Kampala 

Don’t Bank The Enguzi: Don’t accept enguzi by wire transfer or cheque. If Investor hands you a kaveera of cash, do not go to your local bank branch of Enjawulo & Enguzi and fill out a deposit slip. The banks are being watched - all of them. Uganda is a very small country and money trails are easy to follow.

Enguzi often comes under the table

DIVERSIFY: Diversify your cash portfolio. Spread it out by buying some South African Rand, Euros, US dollars, Sterling and Kenya shillings.

Diversify your money into different currencies

SPEND: Live for the moment. Spend and pay cash. The best way to launder enguzi, is by using it to cover as much of your living expenses as you can, because it never raises awkward questions and it goes out into the hands of local merchants – unless you are overcome with a bout of utter stupidity that sees you walk into Spear Motors and drive out in a sh600m Mercedes G-wagon yet, your monthly take home civil service pay is only sh4.2m. Your legitimate income - salary and so on can go into your bank account and remain untouched. Ka-ching!

SHUT UP: Don’t tell friends – not even Wifey or Mistress. Remember Akankwasa and the sh900m under the bed? Well, he told Wifey and he got rumbled. As Martin Lomasney, an American politician once said: “Never write if you can speak, never speak if you can nod, and never nod if you can wink.” If you get busted, shut up. So long as you’ve managed your money so it won’t testify against you, you’ll be just fine. Admit nothing!

Damien Akankwasa

Don’t Leave Things to Chance: Once you get whiff that the authorities have you under their radar, bust. Don’t leave things to chance like former Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh almost did and flee by a whisker. Obviously you would have set up your Plan in SA or wherever, that once you re-locate, there is a crib, car and operational bank accounts waiting for you eke out a life of stolen luxury.

The End Is Nigh: Former Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh

BE READY: Don’t keep all your enguzi in things like land or in places like banks that are closed at night. Truth be told, if you are living on enguzi, Cop may call at any time and no legal strategy is as solid as simply being somewhere else. You may have to up and take temporary refuge in the cesspit or the amayuuni plantation at a moment’s notice, but where is the money? Is it somewhere easily accessible? Think like Jason Bourne. This is the deal. You got to have ‘on the run survival dime’ and your passport stuffed in a holdall that you can quickly throw over your shoulder as you fast track to Busia or Katuna border posts or to Ggaba for a boat to Kisumu.

Make sure your passport is up to date 

Lay Low: Being on the run is about lying low and not getting caught. Ditch your SIM card and phone lest Geek at Uganda Communications Commission has a phone tracking gadget. And for heaven’s sake, don’t go onto social media and start posting pictures of yourself chilling out in a gated apartment in upmarket Sandon, Jo’burg or in Lavington, Kenya. Once you start posting, you’ll become careless and leave a trail all the way to your doorstep. 

Have No Shame: Heck, there is no nobility in poverty. If you didn’t accept the bribe Investor was dishing out, Colleague would have accepted it – if not Junior Colleague. You did the right thing.


Pictures: Getty Images, New Vision, Internet


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Living Large, Living Royalty

We all have a housie. I think. Some have a gardener, security guard plus a driver while the superrich might also have a chef, waiters and waitresses.

I have met with royalty - King Oyo, Kabaka Mutebi and Kyabazinga - not because they invited me to lunch or afternoon tea at their palaces, but because they happened to be in the same room as I at a function. Let me rephrase that latter part of last sentence just in case I am accused of belittling royalty and say, I was in the same room as King Oyo, Kabaka Mutebi and Kyabazinga. I have also stood next to Prince Charles and William - only on a visit to London’s Madame Tussauds wax works.

Kabaka Ronald Mutebi
Royals also have housies except, they have more - gardener, armed protection units, butlers, footmen and secretaries. Inside their palaces, they live a life of riley that is so detached from that of the rest of the world and one which we humble plebes, can only marvel at.

While we can’t be certain what excess Mutebi, Oyo and Kyabazinga indulge in, what we do know and on good authority, is that back in the day, Oyo, who is a dog lover, had their food sourced from Sheraton hotel.

King Oyo
In 1908, Henry Pu Yi, the last Chinese Emperor succeeded to the throne as a two-year-old. As Emperor, he was pampered to the hilt in the Forbidden Palace with servants at his beck-and-call that, when he was thrown into goal by the Communist’s as an adult in the 1950s, he still had a lackey to hold his wee wee for him as he took a pee. For real! 

Pu Yi
Like Yi, in the UK, Prince Charles had a beck-and-call servant upbringing in Buckingham Palace. As the future King of England, there was nothing that he had to do for himself because, Servant was there to grovel up to him whenever summoned. A recent expose in The Daily Mail newspaper, listed some of the privileges that he has enjoyed and still enjoys as heir apparent.

Come the morning, while most of us squeeze Colgate out onto our toothbrushes, no so Prince Charles. Charles has Servant who does that rather mundane task for him. Servant does the squeezing, hands the brush to him, then steps back until he (Charles) is done. Servant then rinses the brush and puts it away – or tosses it?

Servant will then run the tub. While Charles has his bath – not quite like Eddy Murphy had in the movie, Coming To America (we hope), Servant lays out a selection of shirts, suits, ties, socks, shoes and boxer shorts.

For breakfast, he has freshly squeezed orange juice, specially made muesli, granary toast and six types of honey - all presented on a silver tray. When he travels, he only eats food prepared by his personal chef, and the food is transported in cool boxes – even when he goes abroad. He does like sandwiches – but, they must be exactly 8cm in diameter, sliced in half and the crust must be cut off.

Prince Charles
The most Housie does for me, is of course, to wash and iron my clothes, wash the ride, polish shoes, with the one extravagance – if it is indeed an extravagance, to lay my bed.

But I wasn’t done with Charles just yet. What Housie does for me, was just to break the conversation -to give you time to digest what you just read and go, “TB, are you for real?”  And get this. Wherever Charles goes, apart from packing his own food, Chef also packs – wait for it, wait for it, his own salt which, as you may guess, Waiter will present on a silver tray.

But the winning move - and you had better be sitting down with a muzinga of Ug Wa in hand and the cat out of range of getting a kicking. Housie doesn’t just polish shoes. Housie also IRONS the shoelaces, laces up the shoes then takes them to Charles. WTF! Over to you Kyabazinga, Mutebi and Oyo! 


Pictures: Bukedde, New Vision, Internet   



Saturday, April 8, 2017

Career Change To Toilet Cleaner

YEARS AGO, I wrote a missive on toilet etiquette when NV Colleague shimmers up to me and whispers: “I always see that thing (toilet brush) but, I thought it was for Cleaner to use.” I promptly put him on the persona non-grata list to my home. And the irony was, he was not malo - as in just off the bus from deep in the districts, but a long-term Kampala resident. 





Unless you go to the bigger establishments that have respectable toilets, your average kafunda, is not going to have a toilet that you can take mother to.

I frequent Chogm Pork Joint in Bunga for obvious reasons. Though I have not asked the owners, I presume they gave it said name because of err, - something to do with the Chogm conference a few years ago?

Chogm Pork Joint, is made up of five bufundas - each competing for Customer and each challenging to see who can play their TV or music system the loudest. Apart from that, the other thing they have in common, is when you ask Waitress where the toilets are, the answer is generic – “You go behind.”

Going behind, there is a dilapidated building that was once a house – better still a muzigo, mounds of rain and pee beaten sand and further down, the toilets that reek of pre-Chogm era urine. The smell of ammonia in the toilets is so strong that, Customer, doesn’t make it into them. Men ‘draw patterns’ the mound of sand with their pee, while women make do with peeing at one of the entrances to the dilapidated muzigo. Of course, there is no water for washing hands or, a mirror to look at to make sure that one’s face is still all dolled up before returning to the kavuyo of the competing TVs and music systems.



What perturbs though, are the larger establishments. I was at Serena Hotel (Below) for a function and getting to the toilets, all the urinals are occupied. Not wanting to wait plus an urgent need to attend to a running nose, I opted to use a cubicle. The only cubicle available was not in the best shape and was tempted to believe that NV Colleague had been the last person to use it and had neglected to use the toilet brush. Furthermore, the floor was littered with toilet tissue.



Anyway, I had my pee, blew my nose and flushed which, didn’t do much except the water, toilet tissue and whatever else rose to the brim of the toilet. Coming out, Elderly Gentleman was waiting patiently to use it. As he walked in, I distinctively heard him exclaim – “Naye gundi…” I didn’t hang about to hear the rest because I fled.

Back at the function and as Navio superbly did his thing on stage, I overheard a conversation going on, on the table behind me. It went along these lines.

Chap: “Some people need to be taught how to use the toilet. The man before me, left the place in a terrible mess that I wonder what kind of home he comes from. But don’t look now, there he is on the table in front of us.”

Woman: “Are you sure – That’s TB, the man who writes.”

I glanced round at them and he quickly shied away. I wanted to tell them it was not me. That I found the toilet in that condition, but they got up and went to mingle and to presumably tell the people they were mingling with, that it was I who had messed up the toilet.

Since then, whenever I am resigned to using a cubicle, I have become a ‘toilet cleaner’ and clean up whatever mess the person before me left, so I can avoid a repeat of the ridicule I got at Serena. 


Pictures: Internet, New Vision                 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Judas And Brutus

JUST HOW sharp is your machete and how far, are you prepared to go to be a Judas or Brutus? People who fall from grace, or run into problems, the question is, not how far are they going to fall, but who will be Judas and Brutus stabbing them as they hurtle down.

Real friends who know Oscar Mulira, will tell you that Oscar is Oscar – a very decent chap from very good pedigree and who is always on hand to bail out his friends. So, imagine his shock when he landed into a spot of bother and rightfully assumed that his colleagues would rally round him. Some did. I know I did. But others like one of his tights, and who lives in the same area code as him and who he drinks with, without an ounce of spine in his back and no sense of honour, decency or loyalty, quietly slithered snake style off the table to go around to the back of the building to make phone calls in delight that trouble had finally beset him (Oscar). That was an utterly disgusting move to make, especially as Oscar had always been there 100 per cent for this tight – not only at work, but also with his personal – often financial – problems.

Like Oscar, media pundit Andrew Mwenda, (Below) is simply Andrew Mwenda. Okay, so he has a motor mouth on him. While he and I don’t share many things in common or call each other up, he is, nevertheless, a friend and we hold each other in high esteem. Recently, social media was awash with stories of his sexual orientation with many, including those that I have seen him hanging out with and who I deemed were part of his inner circle, fanning the flames that he is bisexual.


I am very vehemently going to support Mwenda, I don’t have the faintest idea about his sexual orientation as indeed, just as I don’t know the sexual orientation of Waiter who just served me my drink I type out this article. Whenever I am asked, my response is always generic – “that you best ask Andrew himself because I have never been inside his bedroom.” The only person who knows Mwenda’s sexual orientation is – err, Mwenda himself and whomever he ends up bed with. The rest of us know diddly squat but because we ‘we want to see him tumble’, what the heck, let’s stab him.

Social media then reached a frenzy when the financial woes of Gordon Wava, Patrick Bitature (Below) and Sudhir Ruparelia came to light. The negativity melted out from those who claimed to be friends of the trio but were not and in fact had never met them and from those who have access to their inner circles was astonishingly sad.


More knives, were hurled at Sudhir (Below), than at Wava or Patrick. Is it because Sudhir is of Indian origin and therefore deserved it? Is it because Crane Bank attached a house over loan issues? Or is it because it’s Sudhir? Or is it the people who hate Sudhir for no apparent reason except to hate him because he 'has' and they don’t.


The ‘friends’ who stabbed Sudhir and who are still throwing stones at him on social media, are the same friends who when times were good, would unashamedly demanded complimentary gym membership at Kabira Club, boat rides to Bulago Island to impress friends, free use of Victoria Ballroom at Speke Resort Munyonyo because Daughter or Son was getting married, or a job for them. He never to said ‘no’ but something along the lines of: “Yes, go talk to Tina or Akhilesh.”

Them spineless people – yes, they know themselves, also woke up extra early to stand outside Crane Chambers taking pictures of the DFCU signage going up, to post on Twitter and Facebook with a baseless caption that read: “Finally, the eviction.”

Lets let them be, for karma will one day return to maul them. This is Uganda where Judas and Brutus roam the streets at will looking for somebody – anybody, to stab that for the past seven years since I had my issues, I’ve literally worn a ‘barbed wire’ jacket to keep them at bay. I have prevailed – just like Oscar, Mwenda, Wava, Bitature and Sudhir will.

But Hater, watch your back, for today it’s you who is hating and knifing. Tomorrow, it will be one of your friends hating and knifing you.

Pictures: Internet