Saturday, February 8, 2020

Is Namagunga Primary and Boarding School Simply Milking Parents Dry?


Hard to believe I know, but when I was much younger, I regularly used to go to church. All Saint’s was my chosen church – not because it was easy to get to or that the person at the pulpit gave the most amazing sermons. Then – the late 70s and 80s, it was said that all the ‘well brought’ up girls who supposedly went to the good and prim schools like Gayaza and Namagunga and came from the ‘right and proper families’ prayed at All Saints. Except, when we grew up, we found out that those ‘well brought up girls’ were not at all well brought up, but girls who had been rather risqué in their teens.

All Saints Church, Nakasero
In my five or six years as a regular at All Saints, I had difficulty coming to terms with giving offertory. If that was not bad enough, there was also the need to part with money for the building fund. Of the money that my parents gave me for offertory and building fund, one weekend I would support the building fund. The following week I would give offertory. The third weekend I gave nothing and the last weekend I would split the offertory in half – half went to the building fund and the other half to offertory. And I would pocket the entire building fund.

Since my time at All Saint’s, I have failed to see where all my contributions to the building fund have gone. The pews that they use today, I am sure are the same pews I used sit on as a teen back in the 70s and 80s. To the best of my knowledge, the only development I have seen at All Saints in the past 30 years plus are, a coat of paint because a member of the first family was getting married, a number of wall-mounted speakers, some plastic chairs and a tent just off the main entrance. As for the nursery school, that has hardly changed at all.

Days ago, I chanced upon a letter from one of the great Ugandan traditional schools – Namagunga Primary School, to a parent and congratulating them on their daughter being accepted and for her to report to school on Saturday 4th February but, only after meeting the school requirements.

Has Namagunga Lost Interest In Education And Is Just A Cash Cow?

The requirements that Parent has to meet before Daughter is admitted are laid bare – almost like a receipt Teller gives you at Shoprite after you have done the weekly shopping – except that at the end of Namagunga’s ‘receipt’ which bears 19 requirements, there is no TIN or VAT number but, an email address – namagungapbs@yahoo.com.

In today’s world, who still has a yahoo e-mail account? Secondly, a school of Namagunga’s status should have by now have an e-mail address that reads: namagungapb@administration.co.ug – if they want to come off as looking professional and whose vision it is to “produce a holistic citizen through quality education.”

Getting back to the list of requirements, it reads something along these lines.
  • School fees at sh1,165,000 is straightforward enough. 
  • There is sh350,000 for Development Fee. What is that? 
  • 50k for Foundation Body Fee. Again, what is that? 
  • 100k for Swimming Pool. What does this mean? They want to build a pool or…. 
  • And what’s all this nonsense of Class Requirements at 50k? What exactly are those requirements?
  • There is a ream of paper at 20k, bucket at 20k, club fee at 10k and the list goes on and on and on.
The Circular That Namagunga Sends Parents 
With all these ‘demands’ placed on Parent, it very conceivable that this list of requirements before admission will get longer each term. What will they ask for next – kitchen utensils at 150k? Fuel for school bus at 200K? or perhaps 200k for airtime and WhatsApp data for Headmistress? 

 
Letter To New Vision From An Irate Parent


Pictures: newslexpoint.com, namagungapbs.com, New Vision
        
        

          

Saturday, February 1, 2020

M7s Galamba To Birembo Trek - The Exclusive Inside Story


Does anybody remember the line from the 1994 movie – Forest Gump, when Jenny Curran (Robin Wright) shouts out to Forest: “Run Forest, Run?” Closer to home, The Man In A Hat, decided to pull off that scene though nobody shouted out: “Run The Man In A Hat, Run.” A few weeks ago, The Man In A Hat spent a week wandering from some place called Galamba down to Birembo. According to those in the know, he was reliving the trek he did during the height of his bush war struggles in the 80s which, culminated in him seizing power on this day – 34 years ago.

The Man In A Hat In A Cream AIRFLOW Hat
But the trek is not the crux of this Sunday’s ramble. One thing about The Man In A Hat, is that fashion bores him. It’s not his forte even though, his daughter – Natasha is a fashion designer and who I am told is in charge of his wardrobe at State House. He is more comfortable in army fatigues and un-tucked shirts than he is in an Egyptian cotton shirt or a fine tailored Italian suit. And when it comes to hats, I’ve never seen him in a baseball cap with say ‘NY’ on it, but he has three favorites. A faded green beret, a green army hat with flaps that cover his ears and a cream AIRFLOW hat. For the trek, he opted for the green army hat with flaps that cover his ears. 


M7 Just Loves The Hat With Ear Flaps


Has Anybody Ever Seen M7 In A Baseball Cap?


The Beret - Another Favourite Of M7
When it comes to shoes he is not particular. He doesn’t wear fashionable shoes like Dr Martin Aliker’s and procured from Jermyn Street in London - a street that holds court to stylish and classic bespoke shoe makers like Crockett and Jones, Russel and Bromley or Barker Shoes. Rather, his are nerdy and probably stitched by some 18-year-old Bata trainee with glasses as thick as a magnifying glass. He’s into boots – army boots at that, and he has two that he likes best – canvas and almost knee high if not, black leather ones. But it’s the leather boots that he likes most though for the trek, he opted for the canvas boots. 

M7 Seemingly Can't Do Without The Green Canvas Boots
However, and like one of my close friends – JLM always tells me, sometimes there is ‘need to confuse the enemy’ and he did just that for on two occasions during the trek, he wore and wait for it, wait for it, sneakers! They were black with white soles and while I tried to zoom into the picture to see what brand they were – Jordan’s, Nike, Reebok or Adidas, it was hard to tell.


Did M7 Wear Adidas Sneakers For The Trek? 


Assuming the sneakers were Adidas, the nearest Adidas store to State House Nakasero is on Kampala Road opposite Post Office and I am sure he doesn’t know that nor has he heard of the brand either. He most probably told Aide to get walking shoes and in this case, Aide must have picked up Chinese ones as all army gear and boots are seemingly supplied by them.

M7 Needs Some Footwear Swagg
The most important factor about the trek, was that – as if following in the peripherals of his security detail, the bazzukulu and those who jumped on the bandwagon for ‘just’, was an unmarked bullion van that hoarded countless numbers of brown envelopes filled with cash. As is the norm, whenever The Man In A Hat travels, he travels with wads of cash.

Is M7 The CEO of Bank of Brown Envelope?
What I can’t figure out, is who at State House decides how much goes into each envelope. I assume there must be a minimum – probably 500k? But wait up. Whenever he puts his arm out for an envelope, and he sees me, I swear he whispers to Aide: “Hmm, that muleebesi TB again. If I have to give him an envelope, make sure you give me the 20k envelope.”

M7, so you know, I can lip read whatever you tell Aide about me.


Pictures: newvision.co.ug, Daily Monitor, Adidas, AIRFLOW, New York Caps



Friday, January 17, 2020

Has Your Kids Birthday Party, Kwanjula, Graduation Party Met The Provisions Of The Public Order Management Act?


Like most of you out there, until last week, I had never heard of the Public Order Management Act (POMA), probably because we are not politicians, lawmakers or work in law enforcement. The POMA reads something along these lines: “The POMA does not regard a gathering at home as a place subject to POMA unless, that meeting spills over into a public place.” For example, section 4 (3A and 3B) states: “For the avoidance of doubt, a public meeting convened by a group, body… at the ordinary place of business….or any other place which is not a public place, is not a public meeting unless the meeting spills over into a public place.”

Then there is a man called Fred, Fred Enanga, who slogs for Uganda Police as their spokesperson. I do feel for Fred because he has the most unenviable job in the land – having to explain to an irate public why the police did what they did - why they arrested so and so, used excessive force and act with impunity.

Does Police Spokesperson, Fred Enanga Have The Worst Job In The Land?
It was also his brief to tell us that police headquarters had dispensed directives to its commanders countrywide that effective January 6th, all people holding meetings of public interest in their homes without obtaining police permission will be arrested for breaking the law. He said: “When you have a public gathering at your home, it is supposed to meet the provisions of the POMA and we shall come and police the event.”

Most people who host gatherings at their homes host not for political reasons but, for – children’s birthday and graduation parties, kwanjulas and so forth. And somewhere through the function, the men will break off, grab their plastic chairs and form circles around a couple of crates of beer and a bottle or two of Jameson or Black Label and discuss a wide range of topics from cars to women but more importantly, what Enanga termed as “meetings of public interest” – and in this case, what is happening in the politics of Uganda. If I have understood Enanga correctly, once a circle forms and politics which, is something of public interest is discussed, police can swoop in with tear gas, dogs and water cannons to disperse the ‘political’ gathering including the toddlers in diapers who had turned up to attend little Martha’s 2nd birthday party.

Was This Explanation A Cover-Up Of The POMA?
Next weekend, I am planning a pork fest for my boys and to err on the side of caution, I took myself to the police station in my hood to seek permission. The conversation with Fat Cop broke along these lines.

TB: “It’s a party to celebrate pork.”

Fat Cop: “Are you are asking for police to come and guard cars?”

TB: “No. I have come to get a POMA permit.”

Fat Cop: “You are having a political gathering?”

TB: “No. A pork fest.”

Fat Cop: “A pork fest – what is that?”

TB: “A party to celebrate pork but I also need a POMA because we shall also discuss matters of public interest.”

Fat Cop: “What will you be discussing?”

TB: “Trump, Iran, Iraq, M7, Bobbi Wine, KCCA, Rwanda, Louis Kasekende and BoU…”

Fat Cop: “Ha, for that you need to go to Naguru.”

With that, she turned to castigate a handcuffed Mukasa – “But naye you Mukasa, again they have picked you…..”             

Make Sure You Get Police Permission Before You Throw Your Kid A P7 Results Or Graduation Party 
But wait up. There might be more to the implementation of the POMA than meets the eye. It might have nothing to do with cracking down on political gatherings but, and wait for it, wait for it, something to do with toilets for amusingly enough, another reason for the POMA as Fred put it: – “it’s important to notify police because people could be 700 yet, the home only has one toilet which can cause problems.”

Bambi, bless Uganda Police and their concerns for our toilet welfare! 


Pictures: New Vision, Daily Monitor  


Friday, January 10, 2020

2020 - The Year We All Get Rich And Don't Have To Work


It’s been 12 days since 2019 faded into the abyss and the realization that it will be another 12 months to go before we get to see another Christmas kicks in. Some sadly didn’t make it into the New Year because they were on their death beds at Mulago, knocked over trying to be suicidal by attempting to cross Entebbe Express Highway or got shot dead by police. Many went into 2020 with resolutions that will get broken way before January is over while, Money Lender will be on a roll as traditionally, January is bad month financially for many.
As we contemplate what 2020 might be like, I thought of a friend - Ms. Jemima Nagundi who, is the self-appointed president of The Public Holidays Association of Uganda. Just in case she doesn’t already know, we have fifteen public holidays next year of which, eight of them will go to waste because they fall on either Saturday or Sunday. The holidays that make sense because they afford us a long weekend are - Good Friday because it obviously falls on Friday, Easter Monday because and again, it falls on Monday, Labour Day (Friday) and Independence Day also on Friday. However, there is a chance of getting extra public holidays if God decides to ‘call’ somebody who is very prominent to go and be by his side.

The Vivacious Jemima Nagundi - President of The Public Holidays Association of Uganda
Obviously, I too have some resolutions to make. The two most obvious ones are giving up on the fags and booze as well as reducing my salt intake. I could also do with putting on a little weight seeing that there is now a KFC outlet three minutes’ walk away from the office. But I might cheat on the booze and fags which, neatly reminds me of a story of the controversial former MP, Ken ‘The Man’ Lukyamuzi.

John 'The Man' Lukyamuzi
If I recall, he wowed to go on a hunger strike over something to do with the wetlands where Garden City sits. However, hours before he started the strike, he was smoked out in a restaurant having a more than a meal of a meal – presumably, to get him through the two weeks he was supposed to strike. But the strike crumbled almost as soon as it started because the following day he was spotted having breakfast.    
Meanwhile, scrawling the web for 2020 predictions, this is what I found.
Nobody Will Work And Everybody Will Be Rich
In 1966, Time magazine in an essay called The Futurists, they predicted that “machines will be producing so much that everyone in the U.S. will, in effect, be independently wealthy.” Without even lifting a finger, the average non-working family could expect to earn an average salary of between $30,000 and $40,000, according to Time. That's in 1966 dollars, mind you; in 2020, that'd be about $300,000—for doing nothing. 


When Will We All Be Rich?
Women Will Be Built Like Wrestlers
In 1950, Associated Press writer Dorothy Roe revealed some shocking predictions of what life on earth would be like in the 21st century, according to Smithsonian magazine. Among her more head-scratching forecasts were that the women of tomorrow would be “more than six feet tall’ and would ‘wear a size 11 shoe, have shoulders like a wrestler, and muscles like a truck driver.”

Women Will Have Bodies Like This
We'll Wear Antenna Hats And Disposable Socks
For a 1939 issue of British Vogue, product designer Gilbert Rhode was asked what he believed people in the 21st century would be wearing. He imagined that, by 2020, we would have banished buttons, pockets, collars, and ties, and that men would revolt against shaving. “His hat will be an antenna, snatching radio out of the ether. His socks - disposable. His suit minus tie, collar, and buttons.”

Antenna Hats?

Pictures: Jemimah Nalumansi, africatembelea.com, blog.allpsych.com, gilfer.com, abc.net.au 

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Just Who Do The Ba-summer Think They Are?

Thinking out loud, do any of you remember the first words you said after the stroke of midnight as 2020 came into play and after shouting out: “Happy New Year?” I can’t remember either, but probably something along the lines of needing a drink.

Anyway, we are four days into 2020 and the glitz and euphoria of the Christmas vacation has all but worn off except, for the need to reprimand the Ba-Summer for their behavior.


Live, Love Thy Bushenyi Accent

Okay, so you went to Boston in 1987, your English has not improved and more importantly, the Bushenyi accent is still as thick as that of the herdsman you left behind. It’s okay. We are not going to castigate you after all, you are not a Bostonanian – an American, but one of us, a Ugandan albeit from Bushenyi. Live and love thy Bushenyi accent. Come back and show us that no matter how many years you have been living in the Diaspora, Bushenyi is home, and the accent shall always prevail. After all, how will Nyakwenkuru (grandmother) and Shwenkuru (grandfather), understand you if the flowing flair of the Bushenyi accent has been replaced by a troubled American accent.   


Mbu, I Can’t Remember Much of Ug

Simeon is not close to me but more of a fringe friend. Simeon left these shores in April last year. Prior to that, the closest he had gotten to going abroad, was seeing off relatives at Entebbe airport. So he calls me to go for a drink and I suggest one of our haunts – Soya in Bunga. And his response? “Soya, where is that?” Really! So I remind him of Mbabazi’s and he still feigns ignorance. Two days later, his amnesia has gone. He now remembers Mbabazi’s and we meet up on Saturday – “my treat” he emphasizes when the bill is presented and swiftly, he pulls out a Santander Bank visa card and gives it to Waitress. I should have slapped him straightaway and told him to do away with his nonsense. Jeez, he’s only been away for eight months and all of a sudden he can’t remember where Soya is and that Mbabazi’s is a kafunda and only deals in cash and is a million years away from accepting visa payments?!? I really ought to have flogged the kajanja out him.


OMG, You Have KFC and Pizza Hut!

You in the Diaspora who left a ‘dead’ Uganda when you fled during the troubles of the 80s, Uganda is not dead anymore. We are up and running. Okay, so we have potholes – just like you do in London. We have street beggars – just like you do in Dallas. We have riots – just like you do in New York. And YES, we also have KFC and Pizza Hut - just like you have in London, Dallas, New York and wherever. Next time you fly in, please spare us the: “OMG, you guys also have KFC” crap… Just to bring you up to speed, we also have a national airline, a Forbes magazine certified billionaire in Sudhir Ruparelia, Sheraton Hotel, Apple and Adidas Shops, ABSA Bank, sit down toilets that flush water, hotels with infinity pools… Mudangamu or should I continue?     

 

We Are Entitled

The Ba-summer feel that they are entitled and are above the rest of us. They feel that when they go out, they deserve to be served first because they are busy and have so many people to go and visit. They sneer when they don’t get their way and with scorn they say: “I can’t deal with Ugandans.”


Conclusion  

Ba-summer, if this December you come back feeling all haughty, haughty just because you live abroad, just know you are no better than any of us. Uganda is home regardless of if you come to visit or to sleep forever six foot under. 


Pictures: volunteertherealuganda.com, teepublic.com, monitor.co.ug, netclipart.com


                         

Friday, December 20, 2019

Are You Ready For The Christmas Silly Season?


The silly season is here meaning that in three days, it will be Christmas. The Silly Season it’s called, because everybody takes leave of their senses. This is how it plays out.

Promotional Trucks Selling Christmas Themed Songs

The noise pollution trucks that make it a habit of stopping outside my kafunda while blaring Luganda Christmas carols at very high decibels are very annoying because you can hardly hear yourself think or talk. The back of the truck is laden with concert sized speakers and an about to break down generator that advocates of climate change would have a problem with because of the plumes of smoke that it emits. There is also the main MC who does the kalango’s and how always wears a thick winter jacket and who is flanked by his ‘nigga’s’ bopping their heads trying to look all hard. Then there are the foot soldiers whose job it is to invade every kafunda in a bid to sell a CD or two. But in today’s Uganda, who still buys CDs? Everybody I know, stores their music on a flash disc.



No Place To Walk On The Pavements

The pavements have been taken over by Hawker. The usual hawkers selling mangoes, saucepans, rat poison and so forth, are being displaced by Hawker selling something with a Christmas theme if not, a shirt, blouse or dress that sparkles enough that someone is tempted to buy it to wear on Christmas day.


The Downton Thieves at the Bus Parks

The silly season represents end of year bonus season for all petty criminals who hang downtown and especially by the taxi parks and bus terminals. They know that at Christmas, nobody travels upcountry without cash. They pounce on the poor unfortunate soul so has decided to do a spot of last minute shopping like buying a shiny new basin for the people in kyalo. They watch for the slightest lapse in concentration as the hapless victim pull out the wad of their December earnings then pounce and in flash, they’ve disappeared to look for the next victim.


Where Is My Christmas?   

Then there are the ‘Where Is My Christmas’ peeps. Waitress who normally serves you, Office Messenger you send out on official business, or Gateman at your office who you’ve been sharing a polite greeting whenever you drive into the carpark, will be loitering by your ride when it’s time for you to head home. Why would he be waiting by your car? Has something happened to it that he wants to tell you about? Nope. He wants his Christmas. To get round it, as soon as you are on him, beat him at his own game. Ask him for your Christmas before he gets a chance to ask for his.


Gifting Kyalo Peeps    

Kyalo peeps, apart from wanting to come and eat Christmas lunch with you and waiting for that chance to drink Black Label or Jameson’s instead of the usual cheap waragi from a kaveera will wanted to be gifted. They know that the chances of getting cash from you is bleak so the book items of clothing that they see you wearing. “Eh uncle TB, that shoe you are wearing, you will leave it for me when you go back” so they say.



Vitz Drivers Will Have A Blast

The best part about The Silly Season, is that Kampala will be calm and peaceful. All those pompous ‘VIPs’ who think they are entitled to break traffic regulations including that judge on the Land Commission Probe who has a habit of getting her bodyguards to seal off the road at Standard Chartered Bank, Nile Avenue when she uses the ATM, will be out of town. All the sirens and all the monster 4x4 rides will be in Mbarara, Nthungamo, Bushenyi and beyond. It’s good news for Vitz drivers who will be able to drive without being intimidated or being forced off the road.


Otherwise have a good Christmas or Silly Season. 


Pictures: risingstarministries.com, allafrica.com, chimpreports.com, countryliving.com, dreamstime.com, cars.co.ug
        

Friday, December 13, 2019

Wapi Shida?


I have four given names and one nickname – TB. You all know the Timothy name, but I will not divulge the other two. My surname is actually hyphenated – Tenwha-Bukumunhe, but as a kid, it used to take forever to write out, so I ditched the Tenwha part and stayed with Bukumunhe.

Timothy 'TB' Tenwha-Bukumunhe
However today, trying to get documentation – say bank account, driver’s license, SIM card, Tin number is fraught with the question: “Which is your surname, because on your passport is says Tenwha-Bukumunhe, but on your driver’s license, its Bukumunhe.” That is then followed by a lengthy explanation as given in the opening ramble.

However, all that is beside the point. Some years ago I found myself on a ‘sojourn’ at the National Leadership Institute in Kyankwanzi – not because I desired to go there, but because somebody out there, had identified Henry Mukasa, my then colleague at New Vision and I, worthy of benefiting from being indoctrinated with the NRM ideology.


As all who have been to Kyankwanzi will attest, during your stay, you are kitted out in army fatigues and arranged into something resembling an ‘army brigade’ along with a commander to lead the brigade.

For some strange reason, I was designated to be the commander of this brigade over a number of boys from Lumumba Hall who, saw their stint in Kyankwanzi as a stepping stone to getting into the Internal Security Organization, the army and more importantly, The Presidential Guard Brigade. Plus they were also fluent in Swahili, unlike mine which, was limited to three essential words; pombe (beer), mwanamke (woman), chakula (food). Beyond those words, I was a greenhorn at the language.
In the wee hours of a cold morning, and after less than a few hours’ sleep because the previous night, Henry, a few others and I, had absconded by slipping out of the confines of the institute near the Quarter Guard to go drink pombe, we took to the parade ground and assembled ourselves the way we had been taught since arrival.

On this morning, Real Army Commander was agitated and annoyed. He kept barking out orders in Swahili, was not happy with the way we had presented ourselves and certainly not happy that some people were missing.

And just like that, I saw him forcibly striding over to me, his staff stick flapping about like he wanted to strike me and there he was – in my face, baying over and over again: “Wapi shida?” Hmm Shida, she must be Moslem and my mind battled to try and remember who she was, but for the life of me, I just couldn’t reminisce.



And still, Real Army Commander was snarling down my throat like I knew Shida was and was deliberately not telling him. When he eventually paused but not after slavering more than a mouthful of malusu in my face, I tuned to the brigade and in a very crisp and booming voice that seemed to reverberate round the entire institute, I asked: “For Christ’s sake, has anybody seen Shida?”. Silence. I asked again except this time, I dropped ‘for Christ’s sake’ incase I offend some mulokole and roared: “Has anybody seen or knows where Shida is?”

There was laughter from Real Army Commander which, I didn’t take lightly and took him on. “What is so funny?” Still chortling, he asked how good my Swahili was. Then came the most excruciating moment of my life when he explained: “shida, is Swahili for trouble. I was merely asking where the trouble was.” Short of peeing in my fatigues, I was mortified especially as for the rest of the sojourn, I was nicknamed shida. 
     
Boutros Boutros Ghali
On a parting note, does anybody know why former UN chief, Boutros Boutros Ghali and Cameroonian footballers, Alberto Fujimori Fujimori and Eric Djemba Djemba have two same names?

Pictures: Telegraph.co.uk, Google Maps

Is Namagunga Primary and Boarding School Simply Milking Parents Dry?

Hard to believe I know, but when I was much younger, I regularly used to go to church. All Saint’s was my chosen church – not because it w...