Sunday, October 14, 2018

You're Fired!


And just like that, it all comes to an end - your job that is. Some are fortunate enough to work to retirement age when, the office throws them a party with a cake, card signed by all staff, drinks are quaffed and after about three hours of partying, off they go into the twilight. And despite promises to keep in touch, in reality, once you’ve gone, you’ve gone. A week later, nobody from your office will remember you. Instead, you will be: “Anybody remember the name of that person who retired a few days ago…?”


Of course not all people retire. Some get fired. Others dragged out of their offices, while some turn up the next day to find the locks to their offices changed overnight. When it’s time to go, we all react in different ways.

Back in the day in the US, it was a tricky affair if you were the Human Resource Manager for the US postal service. When rank-and-file employees got fired, they took it in their stride, packed their belongings into a box and went home. After two beers, they would change into military fatigues, head to the basement and a pack the odd AK-47, a couple of pistols, some grenades and return to their former workplace and mow down the entire department especially Human Resource who had fired them.


Sara, is what I would call a friend of a friend of a friend. I met her once and my assessment of her is that she is the type who is a polite introvert, went to Gayaza, then on to Makerere University though didn’t stay in halls but commuted from her parents’ house and currently, she probably holds down some insignificant job with one of the corporate companies.

I was right. She did go to Gayaza, she was a polite introvert and she used to have an insignificant in one of the corporate companies. However, there is a BUT in that she went out of her way to mask her dark side. When Human Resource called Sara to her office with the bad news that she was being let go, of course she had nothing to worry about because Sara was the polite office introvert.

With papers served and termination cheque in hand, Sara stood up to leave but didn’t make a move towards the door. Instead, she flung herself over the desk administered a few hot slaps at Human Resource, bit her three times in the neck and tore her blouse to what witnesses described as ‘strips of pasta’. By the time help arrived, all the possible living the daylights had been flogged out of Human Resource.

I used to work with Cliff aka ‘shifty eyes’. Shifty Eyes joined us on the backbone of a presentation he had made to the bosses of how he could turn the company round in a matter of months. But he didn’t deliver and perhaps sensing he might be rumbled, when we went home after work, it was the last time we ever heard of him.

In due course, his e-mail account was deactivated and the day his cellphone number was removed from the office WhatApp Group, I bumped into him that evening. The conversation that unraveled went along these lines.

Shifty Eyes: “TB, have I been fired because my name was removed from the WhatsApp Group?”

TB: “You’ve been AWOL for three weeks so what do you think?”               

Shifty Eyes: “Hmm, do you think I should come in tomorrow and speak to Jad (the boss)?”

TB: “Jeez, WTF you been smoking!?!


However, some people have no reaction at all like House-ee, Askari and Waitress because they ‘fire’ themselves. Whenever they let it be known that they want to go to kyalo to see their sister or to bury, just know they won’t be coming back.

Pictures: Internet



Saturday, October 6, 2018

What's With All The Fuss About Soya...?

         
There is, something about Soya in Bunga – a ribbon of little shops, a gas station – Haas, Woodland Supermarket but more importantly, the cluster of insignificant bars that occupy Nadduli Trading Centre. To be candid, there isn’t much to scribble home about Nadduli’s, except of course, that the locals have re-named the main road that runs by it from Ggaba Road to ‘Siren Road’.

The Only Time Soya Has No Traffic Is Sunday At 7:30am 

Right by Haas petrol station, there is a crossroad that in the twilight, causes a traffic nightmare. Okay so Traffic-In Charge at Kabalagala Police Station makes it a point to deploy a traffic officer at the junction, but the officer, has a huge overweight belly that I doubt he would get past three squat-thrusts at the police training school in Masindi. All that Overweight Belly Officer does at that junction, is to absentmindedly flay his left arm as he calls traffic forward while in his right, he holds a walkie talkie or in Ugandan speak, a radio call.

The only time he attempts to move his overweight self, is when the sirens of the lead convoys the ferry those deemed to be important people who are hidden behind the tinted windows of their 4x4s as they drive past. Talking of siren convoys that exasperate - Top Judge in land probe, PM Rugunda’s convoy returning to town after dropping him home, anybody driving a police pick-up, police Subaru, army 4x4 – except that of affande Ivan Koreta. Suffice to say, Koreta’s driver always respects traffic regulations regardless of whether Koreta is in the ride or not. But that’s to be expected because Koreta is an officer and a gentleman too. However, there is Driver and Bodyguard of one of the members of the first family who just have no respect. Nuff said on them.

Maria. She Runs Nampeera Enterprises

One of the more popular bars is that of Nampeera’s - run by her daughter Maria. I am not sure why the crowd flocks to Nampeera’s – if it’s because of Maria’s appealing looks, the 3k beer or the pork. One of the regulars at Nampeera’s is Norman. I don’t know where Norman gets the kaboozi that he spiels out, but it’s very comical and sufficient to qualify him as an omwogezi at a kwanjula.

Norman In The Hat

As for Kalamba Man, he can’t sit still for more than three minutes and spends his time drifting between the mobile money shop, Mbabazi’s and Nampeera’s.  Olga on the other hand, we all wonder at how she never topples over in the skyscraper heels that she wears. There is also Leonard, who used to be MD at NSSF, and Musawo Benjamin who sit together with he (Leonard) harping on incessantly on something to do with farming. 

Kalamba 'Man'

Next to Nampeera’s is Mbabazi’s where the zungu’s – John and Don sit and watch the traffic go by as they drink Club beer. John never says much – perhaps because age has caught up with him and he has said everything that there is to say while, Marvin always sits alone uttering his: “Easy like a Sunday morning” catchphrase whenever he sees you.

Kizai is also a regular and whose conversations if you drop in on them, ‘seemingly’ knows just about every important person there is Kenya while Paddy, he has this tradition of buying a beer, heading back to his ride, sitting in the driver’s seat with one leg out of the window and talking endlessly on the phone.

Some Of The Soya Regulars

The Soya bars aside, one thing that draws people to the area is pork. There is Kityo who, I am sure has spent more than half of his life in the kitchen inhaling pork fumes and who is the master pork roaster while Birungi the server, walks about in some sort of daze that she most times forgets to put salt or pepper on the orders.

And folks, that’s usually how it rolls in Soya….               

Friday, September 28, 2018

Even Bufunda's Have A Board Chairman!


Let’s get the definition of the role that Chairman of the Board, plays out of the way from the onset. His principal role, is to manage and to provide leadership to the Board of Directors of the Company. The Chairman is accountable to the Board and acts as a direct liaison between the Board and the management of the Company, through the Chief Executive Officer.

Charles Mbire - Chairman, MTN Uganda 
Most companies have a Chair of the Board. Dr Monica Chibita, is board chair at Vision Group, as Charles Mbire is at MTN Uganda, Sudhir Ruparelia at Ruparelia Group and Kirowya Kiwanuka at Express FC.

These gentlemen and lady, didn’t get to be Board Chair because they merely went to school. Rather, they are very astute, smart, have an abundance of knowledge and more importantly, they have political and business influence. They are the people who shape and effect the business and political spectrum in this country of ours.

Kirowya Kiwanuka - Chairman, Express FC
Aside from them, there is another group who also aspire to be Chairmen of their social circles and that could be anything from the group admin of a WhatsApp group, to chairing a wedding committee or being President of the Students Guild at university. However, others have different Chairmanship aspirations. They want to be Chairman of the local kafunda that they drink in.

Just like the manner and style in which the boards that Chibita, Mbire, Kiwanuka and Sudhir chair, Chairman of The Board of Local Kafunda chairs his ‘board’ in the same bravura. Once he walks in, everyone from Waitress, DJ to Owner of Kafunda pays homage and addresses him as Chairman. 

Kafunda staff take the Chairmanship thing seriously. Years ago, I walked into a Luzira kafunda on a Saturday afternoon and took my presence at an empty table. When Waiter ambled up to take my order, as he did, he whispered thus: “But sir, you realise that at some point you have to move?” I took that to mean that I have to move when the sun comes overhead and duly replied: “It’s okay, I don’t think the sun will hit me for another two hours.”

Even Brian White Wants To Be Acknowledged As Chairman
For a while he stood - as if on bunkenke and unsure of what to say next until he blurted it out: “Chairman will be here at 6:00pm and this table is for him and his friends.” Then, I actually thought that Chairman, was the real deal Chairman like Kiwanuka, Mbire and Chibita. But he wasn’t. He was merely some lowly IT chap at StanChart but who was Chairman of the kafunda.

Paulo used to be Chairman of Miki’s Pub when, ‘the board’ resolved that the Chairmanship should be rotate every two months. However, when Paulo’s stint was done, he was ‘reluctant’ to leave. Remember what former President, the late Godfrey Binaisa said back in the day that "Entebe ewoma?" Even when the mantle had been blatantly passed on to Nodin, I think it was, Paulo refused to vacate the seat at the helm of the table. Worse, all staff still referred to him as Chairman and not Nodin.

When the board relocated to Fusion Auto Spa, guess who management referred to as Chairman – Paulo. And it was no different at Veranda that, the rest of board have given up hope of ever becoming Chairman and resigned ourselves to having Paulo as our Chairman for life!

The Late Ivan Semwanga Was Also A Chairman
Njoroge is Chairman of Kachaps in Muyenga and has been Chairman from day one that I feel it’s time for him to go. So, I initiated what I would call a ‘kafunda coup’. Quietly, I persuaded Njoroge to ‘resign’ and he accepted. Well, he sort of accepted. However, when I was last there, I found him still sitting in the chairman’s seat and upon asking what he was still doing there, he said: “TB, you are still new. The board won’t agree to you becoming Chairman.”

With that, I have decided to go look for a place where I - TB, can be Chairman of the Kafunda.  


Pictures: Bukedde online, Uganda online, MTN   

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Perv Boss - Every Woman's Nightmare!


Sexual harassment: “The unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature which makes a person feel offended, humiliated and/or intimidated. It includes situations where a person is asked to engage in sexual activity as a condition of that person’s employment, as well as situations which create an environment which is hostile, intimidating or humiliating for the recipient.”

Workplaces Have A sexual Harassment Policy
It could be unwelcome physical contact including patting, pinching, stroking, kissing and hugging to the use of job related threats or rewards to solicit sexual favours to sexual advances.

Butt Pinching Is Totally Unacceptable  
Namakula works for an organisation somewhere in Ntinda. She describes herself as a bit of a fashionista in that at work, she dresses to the nines - short skirts, high heels and flattering blouses. “Of course, I see the men looking at me – even gawping, but not in a way that makes me feel intimidated. I get compliments, but no one ever touches.”

But all that changed when in walked the new ED. She says: He was already in the boardroom when he called the team in for a meeting and when I walked in, he looked at me in a way the other men in the office don’t look at me. The next day, he called me in for a one-on-one meeting and the look he gave me, I got goose pimples all over my body. He wasn’t jut looking at me, but he was pawing at me and undressing me with his eyes. At one point he stood up and walked behind me that I thought he left his office. However, when I turned around he was right behind me and breathing heavily.

Wearing A Short Skirt Is NOT An Invitation To Touch 
Then ED upped his game she says: “In the lift he would stand in front of me – almost in my face. Then he started brushing his groin past me or trying to touch my legs and breasts. He was being a real perv that when I complained about his inappropriate behaviour, he simply said: “Your work is below standard. If you don’t improve in the next four weeks you will be out of a job.” With that, he put his hand on my shoulder, gave it a good squeeze then said: “All you have to do is to cooperate and it will be fine.”

She got the message. Give in to his sexual demands or get sacked. She ‘sacked’ herself three weeks later.
Unwanted Attention
Like Namakula, Harriet works for an NGO and she too has an ED who has laid it out plain to her that if she slept with him, she could go very far in in the NGO. He has slept with many of the girls in the office using the treat of being sacked. When ED started to up his game with masked threats that she could lose her job, Harriet gave in and agreed to go on a date with him.    

She called me up and asked for some advice as to what she should do at the date and I was happy to oblige. I was about to give her some tips on what to wear but she beat me to it. This is how the conversation went down.

Harriet: “TB, I am sending you some pictures of the dresses I am going to wear for the date. Please help me pick one.”

TB: “Sure, not a problem.”

The first dress she sent was a silky number that had the word SEX written all over it. It was so short and it was the type of dress to be worn without a bra.

The Wrong Kind Of Dress To Wear To Date With The Boss Who Is Sexually Harassing You
The second dress was equally worse that I thought it was a nightdress.

Totally Inappropriate For Some Dates 

Third and fourth merely screamed – “let’s forget the date, just take me to bed and do what you want to do to me.”

Inviting Trouble?

I don’t know which of the four she picked, but am sure as soon as ED saw her walking to his ride, he already had the manager of the lodge on speed dial!


Pictures: thriveglobal.com, powerday, The Dent, conatusnews.com, welcomenni.com

    

  

Friday, September 14, 2018

Nyege Nyege 'She Devils' Thwarted Father Lokodo!




While they are not yet on the same level as say Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor or the late Joanne Rivers, they nevertheless harness the talent to take their careers to new heights because, if Joseph Opio who was my former colleague at The New Vision as a sports writer can make it to New York as a writer on The Daily Show for Trever Noah, then why can’t Patrick, Daniel or Ann do it too?

For the record, a comedian is described as: “A person who seeks to entertain an audience by making them laugh. This might be through jokes or amusing situations or acting foolish or employing prop comedy.” 

In one way or another, we all strive to be comedians – be it at a wedding as MC, entertaining friends, at home or in the bar. We all have that one joke which we heard from somebody else that we feel we should share. In government, there a people who aspire to be comedians too. Some of them are funny enough while others simply don’t know that its them who are the joke. One such person is Father Lokodo at the Ministry of Ethics and Integrity.
 
Father Lokodo
Time after time, the good father has the knack of putting his foot in it. Just when you think he is about to say or do something serious, something that has meaning, it turns out to be a joke that not even Patrick, Daniel or Ann could have thought about even after weeks of burning the midnight oil.

Okay, so he tried to ban porn. Not a bad idea except, nobody told him that the porn industry is a multi-billion-dollar industry and the chances of banning it are very slim at the best. Then he announced how he was going to buy a sh2bn machine or gadget that can detect porn. Hmm. He has been saying the same thing since 2016 – “it’s coming soon” that, he now sounds like an irritating skipping CD on radio.” Yeah right Father Lokodo.

What does he do next? He calls up his friends at Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) and asks them to start blocking porn sites. Another joke. There are hundreds if not millions of porn site all over the word and I would say that each day, there must be more than 1,000 that go online. As of last night, when I logged on to some of the most popular and well know porn sites, it seems that the people at UCC had not blocked them.
 
'The Devils' That Thwarted Father Lokodo?
But the biggest of Father Lokodo’s jokes came when he tried to ban the MTN Nyege Nyege Festival in Jinja because he had credible information that it was “a gathering for homosexuals”. The Nyege Nyege Festival, can be at best described as Uganda’s answer to Woodstock or Stonehenge Festival. While it means feeling horny in Swahili, it has a different connotation in some local dialects. In Luganda for example, it means the 'irresistible urge to dance', in Runyankole, it refers to a courtship dance – Runyege while the organisers say it stands “peace, respect and abundant joy”.
 
Another 'She Devil'
Obviously, his attempts to ban the festival were thwarted just like his attempts to block porn sites or buy the porn machine. Licking his wounds, he cried out: “The Devil won and I lost.” With that, I don’t think he will be going to Jinja anytime soon! Do you?

She Devils Just Wanted To Have Fun!

Pictures: Matooke Republic, TwenyMoments

Friday, September 7, 2018

Why Can't We Respect Invitation Cards?

Will we ever get the whole invitation card thing right? Do people bother to read what’s written on the invitation card envelope? No, they don’t. Do people steal invitation cards? Yes, they do. Do people still try and crash functions? They do.

I was at a function recently and the invitation card was explicit. The invitation only invited the person whose name appeared on the card. Unperturbed, Young Man duly turned up to the function dressed to the nines along with Better Half. At the entrance and upon presenting his card, Card Attendant told him the card was addressed to him alone – not to him and Better Half.

Invitation Cards Only Admit The Person Its Addressed To Or Number Of People Written On The Card 

He stood rooted looking at Card Attendant with scepticism, then at Better Half while trying to figure out his Plan B. “But I have an invitation card” he ejaculated to which, Card Attendant swiftly responded: “You do, but the card admits you and not you and Better Half.” What happened next was unexpected. Rather than walk away, his mouth opened and out gushed a torrent of abuse.

“You people are stupid. Next time, be better organized. You send me a card and now you tell me Better Half can’t get in? What kind of function is this?”

If Young Man thought his diatribe intimidated Card Attendant, he was wrong. She stood her ground and when reality dawned on him that Better Half would have to trudge home or wait by the boda boda stage while he attended the function, he cut his losses, turned on his heels and off he went stamping his feet in a last and feeble act of defiance.

An Invitation For One, But We Go And Invite The Entire Kyalo

One of the toughest card attendants in land is Thalma Byenkya of Silk Events. Thalma gives an icy stare that’s enough to give you goose pimple even on a hot day and she does not give a hoot at your standing in society - whether you are an MP, minister or CEO. Once her dreadlocks start fraying, its game over. She will tell you once – as she indeed told me at a function where, she sort of bounced me for not turning up with my invitation card. “Yes, I know you are TB, but you still need to present your invitation card”. I was lucky to have been saved by the event organizers otherwise it would have been a humiliating long walk back to the car. Meanwhile, Bardu Ntege didn’t survive her wrath at a Club Silk party.

If Thalma Byenkya Is The Person At The Door And You Don't Have An Invite, Just Go Home!

Some people though, can really be brazen. Years back at the goat races in Munyonyo, Trying To Fluke Guest had the audacity to tell Sudhir Ruparelia of all people, that he (Trying To Fluke Guest) had an invitation card and that he (Sudhir) had no right to stop him from getting into the Crane Bank tent.

Trying To Fluke Guest: “I was personally invited by Sudhir so why can’t I get in?”

Sudhir: “Sudhir personally invited you?!?”

Trying To Fluke Guest: “He did. I even have a card.”

Invitation cards to the goat races as regulars would know, will not get you into the hospitality tents. What will, is the wristband. And how was the situation resolved? Sudhir looked at Trying To Fluke Guest, shook his head and walked off while, Guest Trying To Fluke bellowed at how he was going to report him (Sudhir) to Sudhir. Hmm…


Sudhir Ruparelia At A Recent 'By Invitation Only' Function

But spare a thought for Jacob Oulanya, deputy speaker of parliament who, I almost bounced at Silk Events White Party many-a-year ago. He had no invitation and I also knew he was not on the guest list. Fortunately, his name was on another guest list I was not privy to otherwise, I wonder who would have been more embarrassed if I really did have to bounce him – he or his bodyguards?  
       

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Flossing - The Ugandan Way Of Life

That word, to floss - is ‘to show off something that appears new or of high value’. Uganda has been flossing since I guess, Uganda became Uganda. After 1986 and when corporate culture bloomed, flossing went to a new level especially with the arrival of MTN. And this is how it all unravelled.
Identity Cards
Back in the day, identity cards came in the form of a small pocket-sized book. You didn’t have to go to specialised shops to get one of them but, at any street corner especially by Radio One, you could get one. All you needed was a passport sized photograph which Chap would paste glue and stick it in the book. Thereafter, you took it to work to have it stamped with the company stamp. Then came laminated IDs which saw the book being fazed out. But it was not until MTN came to town with the digital format that it became fashionable to floss ID cards. We wore them round our necks and when we finished work and went out, we still wore them because we wanted everyone to know that we worked for a corporate company.

Mic Check One-Two
Chap of mic check one-two is the biggest flosser of all. He has the whole afternoon to belt his lungs out to test if the microphones and sound are okay but what does he do? He waits. He waits. He waits until we walk and take our seats then he starts – “mic check one-two. Julius Mbabazi in the house, mic check one-two” and all because of flossing on stage.


Cops With Shoulder Or Leg Holsters
People who had access to pistols simply used to tuck them into their belt strap until Neil Haworth and Leo Kirunda started swaging about town with shoulder and belt holsters. But the belt and shoulder holster flossing were muted because, the holsters were hidden under clothing. So, Neil, Leo and to a certain extent, Muhoozi Kainerugaba went a step further. They got themselves thigh holsters and with thigh holsters came a swag that whenever they walked about, other security forces who didn’t have them looked on in envy.


Riding The Promotional Truck
We all know the trucks that drive through our neighbourhoods and annoy with blaring music as they advertise some CD launch or an event that’s going to happen. At first, Guy With The Mic used to sit in the front of the truck with Driver until he discovered he could floss to the young women who worked in bars, salons and who sold roadside airtime. Then it became fashionable to be on the back where he could be seen and wearing a thick winter jacket and throwing out his spiel. His friends also started to marvel at him that they too, wanted to be on the back of the truck with him as it swept through the neighbourhood.


Laptop Bags But No Laptop
At the turn of the millennium, I used to think that every other Ugandan in Kampala owned a laptop because they all walked about town carrying laptop bags. Until I discovered every other Ugandan in Kampala who owned a laptop bag didn’t have a laptop in the bag, but sawa nya as in their snacks for their 10:00am tea break at work.


Aircon In The Ride
We never used air-conditioning perhaps because there was the thought that using aircon used up a lot of fuel. In fact, for a good number of years, the people who flossed with aircon were John Dumba and Dennis Paulo Kavuma who worked for MTN. Watching them saunter out of their rides on a sweltering afternoon looking all crisp and fresh with not a drop of sweat on them had us all who turned up in taxi’s looking on in envy.

You're Fired!

And just like that, it all comes to an end - your job that is. Some are fortunate enough to work to retirement age when, the office throws...