Saturday, February 9, 2019
If John Speke, Richard Burton and the missionaries had not come to Uganda, there is a good chance we might have never heard of Valentine’s Day. As it is, Speke, Burton and the missionaries did come to Uganda and along with them, Valentine’s Day this Thursday 14th.
It’s said that every holiday serves as an aide-mémoire, to take time out and acknowledge something and that Valentine’s Day, is our reminder to stop the boring relationship routines and make special accommodation to the ones we love and dedicate the day to them to reconnect. Hogwash just!
My assessment of Valentine’s Day, is a few hours which men created for women - from chocolate hearts, teddy bears and roses which leaves them with a heightened sensitivity to romance. And it’s also no secret that men look at Valentine’s Day to capitalize on women’s vulnerability in hopes of entering a new relationship, but more importantly, to get rewarded with getting ‘some’.
Men from Najjera, to Wandegeya to Rubaga and beyond who participate in Valentine's Day do it for that reason, but getting ‘some’ comes with financial implications that are conditional on one’s commitment level and how much you are willing to fork out. Take a look at her Valentine budget which, you are expected to cater for.
Clothes and Accessories: 200k +
Dinner: Serena, Emin Pasha, Sheraton, Protea: 250k +
Fuel: 100k if Japanese ride
In summation, in order to get ‘some’ on Valentine's Day, you need to have at least 700k + in the wallet. But if that figure doesn’t put you off, then going out to eat will. By now, just about every hotel and fancy restaurant has flooded radio, television and social media with sweeping romantic ads along the lines of: ‘Celebrate Valentine’s Day in a romantic and quiet setting with the finest cuisine while listening to serenading jazz music. Includes free bottle of wine.’
So you take the plunge and fork out 250k + for dinner at a swanky Kololo restaurant you’ve never heard of – not because you really want to, but because of that deal clincher in the advert – ‘includes a free bottle of wine’.
However, when you get there, it’s a problem finding parking because it’s full and Askari is of no help because the Premio doesn’t match up to the fuel guzzling 4x4 German rides. When you walk in, it’s far from being quiet and romantic because every couple who lives in Najjera is there including Couple who travelled down from Matugga. You can tell they are from Matugga because she’s wearing a scarlet red frumpy dress with black gloves, while he has a smug ‘I have arrived’ look.
Of course, you expect the restaurant to give you that personal touch – Waiter at your beck and call who you can shout at, abuse, treat like a dog and who will slaver at your every whim – after all, is it not your ‘entitlement’ because you forked out 350k?
It’s when you taste the free bottle of wine – one with a name that neither you, nor Waiter, let alone Date can pronounce, that you find that it’s a cheap plonk bought from Dealer downtown while the food is basic and Waiter is not slavering to your every whim.
That pretty much sums up the problem with Valentine’s dinner — no matter the location or budget, a full restaurant means more people talking, which leads to more people trying to be heard over the jazz band, that you end up spending the entire dinner listening to Neighbours’ conversation and shouting “I can’t hear you” to Date.
So, forfeit getting ‘some’ and spend the 750k in a Wandegeya, Ntinda or Bweyogerere 3k-a-beer kafunda where it will last a good number of days and not just a couple of hours.
Saturday, February 2, 2019
‘Probation’ and ‘appraisals’ are two words that most employees dread to hear. Regardless, they are the norm in just about every company. Let’s start off with probation.
If you have any doubts about the necessity of a probationary period for new employees, consider this research: 18% of new recruits fail probation (Opinion Matters survey, 2017). So without it, almost a fifth of a workforce are deadwood or airheads. Probation, is a trial period for newly recruited workers that lasts usually three months during which the new employee is tested to see if they can actually do the job.
On the other hand, an employee appraisal, is a review of a worker’s job performance wherein employees are evaluated on a regular basis - often once a year and helps remind workers what their managers expect in the workplace and provides employers with information to use when making employment decisions, such as promotions, pay rises, and sackings.
When I joined New Vision, I didn’t join as a full-time staffer but, as a freelancer which meant, I was exempt from being put on probation and being appraised. It was only when Lilliane Barenzi who was then, the society editor resigned and I filled her position that I became a fulltime staffer. From then on, I was appraised on a yearly basis.
Enter Pastor Martin Ssempa who Wikipedia describes as: “A pastor, activist and founder of the Makerere Community Church. Pastor Martin Ssempa first came to international prominence in 2010 after a presentation video he made at his church which showcased his opposition of homosexuality went viral online.”
Ssempa is a friend though we don’t talk much – not because we don’t want to, but because we move in different social circles. Getting back, in 2017 when Ethics Minister, Father Simon Lokodo appointed his 9-member porn committee headed by Dr Annette Kasimbazi, he also appointed Ssempa as an obvious choice to be on the committee because his stance against homosexuality is almost at fever pitch.
While I stand to be corrected, I presume members of the porn committee act as a censor board of sorts – in that they sit down in a dark bunker go through porn magazines, movies and nude selfies to determine what qualifies to be classed as porn. If it is classed as porn, they swiftly remove the material and perhaps arrest the people behind the porn.
|Porn Cop - Father Lokodo Suspended Pastor Ssempa|
Two weeks ago, Lokodo dropped a bombshell by suspending Ssempa for what he termed “under performance” which conveniently, brings us back to the preamble of today’s ramble - probations and appraisals. With the porn committee having been established in 2017, its obvious Ssempa did pass the probationary period because at most, probations don’t exceed one year - and two years have elapsed since his appointment so it can be that.
If it’s not probation, then it has to do with his appraisal and like it was mentioned in the preamble, employees are appraised yearly and thus we have to assume that when Lokodo appraised Ssempa, he found his (Ssempa’s) work did not meet the grade. So what could Ssempa have been doing wrong to be the only member of the committee not to have passed the appraisal?
Did he not watch enough porn? Did he okay X-rated material to go out into the market rather than having it banned? Did he take porn videos home yet, it was against the rules? Or perhaps, he smuggled in friends to watch movies and look at nude pictures?
However, what has surprised most, is that I didn’t think it would be a male member who would be the first to exit. I always thought it would have been Dr Annette Kasimbazi who, would not have been able to stomach watching the filth and slime that porn offers on a daily basis.
Photos: mi-dui-attorney.com; smordinlaw.com; pinknews.co.uk; The Observer
Friday, January 25, 2019
I’ve always been miffed about New Year’s resolutions. Welcoming in the New Year for most people means doing just that - creating a New Year’s resolution. Starting from scratch at the beginning of the year offers a fresh start and a clean slate, and most people take this opportunity to create a resolution. Many seize the chance to set a new goal as an attempt to get rid of a bad habit or begin a healthier lifestyle, such as quitting smoking or losing weight.
Although the original goal and thought behind setting their resolution is good, typically by mid-January about 50% of all those ‘New Year Resolutioners’ will have already given up. They leave their resolutions to fall to the wayside and out of all the people who had made a resolution, only 8% will actually accomplish them. Below are three are three things so research tells me, to take into consideration when making resolutions.
1. Start Small
Make resolutions that you can keep.
2. Write It Down
Write your resolutions down in a place where you can remind yourself daily of your intentions.
3. Make It Public
Let your friends and family know about your resolution and goals. It will help keep you accountable and on track. You are less likely to fail if you have a support system around you.
In 2004, the peeps at Uganda Investment Authority – then led by Dr Francis Ssebowa, came up with a resolution of their own – to start two car production plants in the country. And in keeping with the above three pronged New Year’s resolution list, they did write it down and they did make it public. However, one thing they didn’t do, was to heed the first point on the list – START SMALL.
Conferring with people in the car industry, a car manufacturing plant can cost ssomewhere on the wrong side of $1 billion. It costs nearly that much just to get a new model into production; and it takes more than just designing and tooling to run a car company. Tesla, an American car company is burning through over $1 million a day just to get the Model 3 production line up to speed. And UIA had grand ideas of having two plants?
To their credit, UIA didn’t give themselves one year, but 8-years and the 8-year mandate expired last year by which, they said 300 cars would be rolling off the production line every month. But I guess you need not have gone to Makerere University Business School or work for Spear Motors or Toyota to know that Dr Ssebowa and his UIA were living in fantasyland.
Not to be outdone, enter Elioda Tumwesigye, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation who in the second week of January this year made a resolution of his own. But Tumwesigye did not follow the three point New Year’s resolution list. Okay, so he wrote it down and made it public but like Dr Ssebowa before him, he neglected the first and most important of the three rules – START SMALL.
In fantasyland resolution talk, Tumwesigye told Daily Monitor that: “There will be a production plant that will start rolling off solar powered buses by the end of the year”. The editors at Daily Monitor have obviously seen so many resolutions broken – especially by politicians, that the story didn’t even warrant making the front pages. Rather, it came as 97-word news brief in the upcountry news section.
|We Shall Remind Tumwesigye Come End Of Year|
Starting small is key. If Tumwesigye New Year resolution was to build production plants that would roll off say 300 wheelbarrows a month or 1,500 bicycles a bicycles a month, then that would have been a resolution well within his grasp and one which, I would applaud him for come the close of the year when he delivered.
Photos: Daily Monitor, Felix Ainebyoona, Tide.com, Time.com
Friday, January 18, 2019
Back in the day, when it came to concerts, we all sat in kayola class. Then, we paid a flat fee and once in the grounds, seating was on a first come, first served basis. Then Concert Organizer had a Eureka (!) moment and figured he could make more money if he had a VIP section. Of course back then, being in VIP was not like it is today. Then, to get into VIP, you most likely had to be some bigwig in government or industry.
|Everybody Wants VIP Or VVIP Status|
Today it’s different. As long as you have the cash to afford tickets to the VIP section, that’s it. But it caused problems because people who were used to VIP treatment ‘complained’ about sitting next to the ‘rift raff’ and unschooled Kikuubo Class who didn’t go to Budo or Gayaza and who make their money by selling mivumba clothes and importing spare parts from Japan. So Concert Organizer went a step further and introduced a VVIP section.
Let’s pause a tad there. At Sylvia Owori’s first Miss Uganda in 2001, she introduced the concept of corporate tables, and when selling tickets to Road Construction Guru, she told him: “A VIP corporate table, means you sit at the front.” What he didn’t know was that even in the VIP section, some will sit in the front and others at the back.
When he turned up with entourage, they made a beeline for the font and took up the tables that had been reserved for Total and MTN – two of the shows biggest sponsors. When Usher told him that all the front row tables were reserved for sponsors he snapped back – “Sylvia told me that I would sit in the front and now you want me to go to the back?!.” With that, a stern exchange of words ensued that had Owori frantically trying to calm him down and trying to get it through to him that when she said he would be sitting at the front, she didn’t mean on the front tables, but in the front section.
|Davido's 30 Billion Concert Banner|
Getting back, over the New Year, Davido was in town for what he dubbed ’30 Billion’ concert. The little that I knew about Davido is the one song – Fall - that Nina and Wasswa to play back-to-back for me whenever I go to Kachaps.
Tickets for the show at Perl of Africa Hotel, started at 50k for kayola, - going up to 100k, sh1m, sh3m for VIP and 5m for VVIP. Now one would think that by the time you fork out sh5m for VVIP, they would be sitting right at up front – so close to the stage that they would be able see the sweat trickle down his brow or see the malusu splatter from his mouth as he hit the crescendo of a song.
Instead, it was the other way round. It was 50k kayola peeps who were up font and close to the stage. By the way, the difference between a 50k ticket and a 100k ticket was err….the toilets. Kayola had to make do with mobile toilets that never have tissue while 100k had use of the hotels swimming pool toilets.
I don’t know what the difference was between sh1m, sh3m and sh5m except, they were at the very back – in the hotel that all they could see of Davido on stage was a mere spec – almost an ant size, so they had to make do with watching him on screens or through binoculars.
So why would any sane person fork out sh5m, to go watch Davido or any other artiste on a giant screen? They might have as well stayed home and watched his previous shows on Youtube. Or was it something to do with having been a VVIP?
By the way, I was in kayola.
Pictures: Uganda Mirror, Davido, Tejano Explosion.com
Friday, January 11, 2019
Neighbour so it seems, does not know that Christmas is over. A good part of me thinks it’s because he was gifted with a surround system as his Christmas present. Since he got the surround, he starts as early as 8:00am in rendering himself a nuisance. His playlist is predictable. He always starts off with a Jimmy Katumba song which, he never plays out to conclusion. Rather, he stops it halfway through and then repeats it. Next up is that dreadful song by Celine Dion – My Heart Will Go On. But what I don’t get, is what does the song have to do with Christmas? If memory serves me correct, is it not the ‘death song’ in the movie, Titanic and was played when Jack, (Leonardo DiCaprio) was drowning? if not, its Do They Know Its Christmas by Band Aid. Anyway, Neighbour made it one of his Christmas carols. After the ‘death song’, he follows up with numerous gospel songs for about an hour before he unleashes some Lingala and I had no idea that you could buy Lingala Christmas carols.
|Do They Know It's Christmas By Band Is Not A Christmas Carol As Many Think|
With the kalango Neighbour has made for the entire hood in blaring off his surround system, I am sure it won’t have gone unnoticed by Neighbourhood Thief who, is sure to pop round in the dead of the night and duly relieve him of it in the next couple of nights. Neighbour though, is not the only person making a nuisance of himself post-Christmas. Since the start of the year, it has been hard to concentrate – not just at work, but out shopping and especially while having a drink in a kafunda.
You see, every ten-to-fifteen minutes, a truck will pass by and on the back of each truck are huge speakers blaring out distorted music. Along with the loud and distorted carols, there is a nigga (as they like to call themselves) on each truck doing a sales pitch – screaming into the microphone while, an army of foot soldiers run amok, swarming the kafunda’s and trying to shove Jim Reeves CDs down our throats.
The carols were so loud that Waitress could not hear what Customer was asking for that she kept getting the orders wrong. But wait up, that is nothing unusual because even if it had been as quiet as a hospital operating theatre and she had clearly heard every word Customer said, she would still have gotten the orders wrong because that is what Waitress is supposed to do – to bring you the wrong order.
Foot Soldier wanted me to buy Do They Know Its Christmas by Band Aid. In my worst Luganda and Foot Soldier, in his worst English, the conversation went along these bumbling staggered lines.
Foot Soldier: “Boss, this one is nice.”
TB: “No, it’s for the bafu (dead) who died in the Ethiopian famine of 1984.”
Foot Soldier: “Boss, eno nnyimba ya Ssekukulu.”
TB: “Yeah, nnyimba about the bafu in Ethiopia!”
As he walked off and above what I am so sure was so not a Christmas carol, I heard Foot Soldier mutter to his colleague that: “Oyo, mukadde, tamanyi nnyimba za Ssekukulu (he is old, he has no idea about Christmas carols).
As January takes root, when will they stop playing Christmas carols? Will Neighbour’s surround system survive Neighborhood Thief and last into Easter? Will Foot Soldier eventually figure it out that, Do They know Its Christmas, has never been a Christmas carol but just a famine fundraising song?
By the way, as Foot Soldier scurried off in search of a willing customer, I was so not amused by his comments so I slithered “tumbavu” out at him, but he didn’t hear me for Silent Night was now playing at fever pitch and Waitress didn’t hear what I ordered and had yet again presented me with the wrong order.
Pictures: Balaam Marketing And Promotions Agency, Band Aid, Time Magazine
Thursday, January 3, 2019
This is my first Sunday ramble of the year. Before I run out of column space and while I don’t like conveying greetings or shout outs, let me wish you all a great and prosperous 2019. With the start of 2019 – the day after tomorrow to be detailed, the two things that will concern us most, are getting through ‘Financial Drought January’ and, wanting to know when the first public holiday will be.
|Do We Deserve More Public Holidays?|
Let’s start off with the latter. Of all countries on the globe, Cambodia tops the list for the most public holidays with 28 observed annually. Sri Lanka follows with 25, India and Kazakhstan with 21, Colombia, The Philippines and Trinidad and Tobago with 18, China and Hong Kong with 17, and Thailand, Turkey, and Pakistan with 16.
Here in Uganda, we have a partly 14 and of those 14 holidays, 4 of them will be ‘fruitless’ as in, they fall on a Saturday or Sunday.
When it comes to long weekends, we have five - International Women’s Day (8th March) falls on a Friday, Good Friday (19th April) obviously falls on a Friday and Easter Monday (22nd April) on a Monday – understandably.
Martyrs Day is on Monday 3rd June and most likely, Eid al-Fitr will fall the following day on Tuesday 4th June. If the Imam at Old Kampala Mosque doesn’t start dithering, keeps to his word and doesn’t go altering dates, then that will certainly be the longest weekend we will have save for the Easter weekend. The significant thing about the Martyrs Day/Eid al-Fitr long weekend holiday, is that it falls four days into the new month and the ATM will still be abundant with salary to have a blast of a weekend – unless of course, you are Civil Servant who won’t be expecting to get salary for months to come.
|Thankfully It Falls On A Friday|
|The Martyrs Did Not Burn In Vain. They Gave Us A Holiday|
Apart from the religious holidays, the rest of them have little, if not, no meaning to the bulk of the population save for those who work in the civil service. Unlike in the private sector, Civil Servant is expected to show up at Kololo airstrip and take part in marching sessions in full view of UBCs television cameras. They are also expected to sit or stand in the blazing sunshine for hours on end while listening to lengthy speeches that won’t have any impact on them. At the end of the day, all they get out of attending the celebrations is a new t-shirt and a soda. Assuming the celebrations were held in some far flung place like Kaabong or Oyam, all they get is a bottle of mineral water and bogoya.
Moving on, when it comes to sales, we have kind of gotten used to Black Friday and the Christmas sales. But those are not sales. The real sales happen in January because, it’s Financial Drought January. By the time December is nigh, many would have realized that they overspent during the Christmas season that there is need to worry about how to get through January.
With everybody looking for money, everything is up for sale. For Money Lender, January is killing season. They accept anything these days – car log books, laptops, plasma screens, land titles and even your ATM card as collateral.
|January Is Sale Month|
Financial Drought January, is also the period assuming the banks have not already thought of it, the month they should use to service or carry out major repairs on the ATM for there is next to zero traffic. In fact, some ATM cards will not even get used.
|Many ATM Cards Never Get Used In January|
And for those who get freebie office lunch, just watch their eating habits during January. On Monday and Friday they will heap their plates because with no money for food at home, they won’t have eaten over the weekend. That’s how tight Financial Drought January can get.
Thursday, December 20, 2018
This Christmas, District Level Peeps have to find their level! Joy hails from Serere – wherever that is. Ivan is from Koboko, Joe is from Kabowhe while Hikmat feigns to be from Bombo but I’m most certainly sure she is from somewhere up north.
As you read this week’s drabble, most, if not all of them – and others too, will be alighting from a tedious bus journey in their respective districts where, they are set to spend the Christmas vacation. But as they alight to be greeted by District Level Peeps, one thing they (District Level Peeps) expect to see amongst the luggage, is something plastic. By plastic, I mean the two essential plastic things that District Level Peep loves the most – a brand new basin that glistens in the sun and gleaming new jerrycan – one that they can show off at their next visit to the borehole.
|A New Shiny Plastic Jerrycan Is To Die For In Kyalo|
Barbra Mulwana, who heads that Industrial Area based plastics company, must be watching in awe as the shelves of basins, jerry cans, plastic cups and chairs empty for just about everybody headed out to the district for Christmas would have bought one of them – except for Joy, Ivan, Joe and Hikmat who all dilly-dallied. Way before December loomed, I kept on reminding them to get a basin and jerry can as soon as possible and not to wait until December when a price hike due to demand hits. Did they listen? No. By the time they thought of going downtown, the prices had shot up.
|Barbra Mulwana - The Queen of Plastics|
Getting back, a couple of weeks ago, I spent time with Dr Martin Aliker and he tells an interesting tale about Christmas in his village in Gulu. Every January or so, he makes it a point of slaughtering two bulls, and throwing in some booze for Village Peep to make merry. But as the years have rolled on, he’s began to notice that Village Peep who turns up to make merry is not from the neighborhood but from some other place all together. For all he knows, they might have travelled down from Kitgum or Lira for the event!
|Will Martin Aliker Slaughter A Bull For The Villagers In Gulu?|
Christmas for District Level Peep, is a big deal - not because it’s the festive season, but because and if they are lucky, they get to eat different things in huge amounts and not the usual quarter kilo of byenda, or yams or posho left over from supper two nights ago.
When Kampala Peeps hit the districts, they bring food and drink to compliment their stay – Danish bacon rashes, Heinz baked beans, cornflakes, coco pops, Frankfurters, New Zealand salted butter, Heinz tomato sauce, Danish Blue Cheese and KFC. In the ice coolers are cans of Budweiser and Heineken along with whiskeys like Chivas Regal, The Famous Grouse and Glenfiddich that District Level Peep has never of.
Obviously with all that, you so well know what stunt District Level Peep is going to pull. He going to forge a way to have Christmas lunch with Kampala Peep. Ok, so what that District Level Peep can get bitten by a gazillion mosquitos and not get malaria, drink water straight from the same stream the cows drink from, and eat rats with the same passion Kampala Peep eats a steak from Café Java’s and not get sick.
But once Christmas lunch is done, he’s going to spend the next eight hours hovering over the pit latrine or squatting in the mayuni plantation because a serious bout of diarrhea would have kicked in.
You see, District Level Peep’s have the most uncouth and profane stomachs that are not mature, vintage, refined, cultured or sophisticated enough to digest bacon, Heinz baked beans, Kellogg’s cornflakes, Anchor New Zealand salted butter, Heinz tomato sauce, Danish cheese, Budweiser beer, The Famous Grouse, Glenfiddich or Chivas Regal whiskeys.
|Salted Butter Will Give Villager A Stomach Ache|
Have a good Christmas District Level Peep!
Pictures: oldliquorcompany.com, cn.jnkoulive.info, nice.co.ug, youtube.com
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