Friday, May 28, 2010

We Need A Drink 24/7!

Just how many ministers do we have for early this week yet another minister we had never heard of, crept out of the wood works brandishing what I can only call a bizarre idea – That all bars will close by 10:00pm once the amended Enguli (liquor) Act is passed into law.

The utterance came from the State minister for industry and technology, Simon Lokodo, who got just about everything wrong except that there is indeed a need for a law that regulates what times bars can sell drinks.

One thing about Ugandans that Lokodo may not have observed from his air-conditioned chauffeured driven car (perhaps because since being in cabinet he has lost touch with reality), is that we take a very dim view of anybody who tries to sabotage or interfere with what we do after office hours.

After office hours is our time, our time to let our hair down and go have a beer. We like to drink our beers in places that we find conducive and not in places that are stipulated by government. We like to let our hair down and unwind all the weeks stress by partying till the wee hours of the morning.

There are many people out there who don’t like drinking in hotels as has been suggested by Lokodo. Further Lokodo has to understand that many more people drink their beer in kafunda’s and most times those kafunda’s happen to be in their neighbourhoods.

Before he made his utterance, Lokodo should have consulted me and I would have taken him out on a night on the town to show him how beer prices vary between those of hotels and in the kafunda and why people prefer bufunda’s. The bufunda’s also employ a vast army of men and women whose educational standards don’t enable them to get jobs in hotel or better places.

Lokodo did you know that a beer in Serena, Speke Resort Munyonyo, Sheraton costs around sh6,000 in comparison to bufundas who sell theirs at not sh2,500 for local beers? Maybe your ministerial salary affords you the luxury of drinking beer at sh6,000 but sh6,000 for a beer is a tight call.

Further, half the people who work downtown have probably never stepped into a hotel and can’t afford a drink of sh6,000. The sh6,000 they would pay for a beer in a hotel would probably last them an entire weeks of drinking in local bar is local bar where he is buying local brew at no more that sh100 a pop.

Lokodo cities Bebe Cool’s recent incident when he was shot and injured by a police officer at Centenary Park, for he said: “Drinking in open places for long hours has been causing violence in the city. This will be solved.” Hello, is somebody on crack cocaine here? Should somebody be making a trip to that government institution in Butabika to have themselves checked out for any lose connections?

Dude, there are many bufunda’s that operate in the city and for long hours at that, and not a single fight has broken out. Dude when did you last go to a kafunda?

In fact when Lokodo talks of violence, it is not us the wanainchi who fight. Rather it his fellow cabinet ministers who after getting drunk start pulling out their pistols and wanting to assure us of their importance. Then they don’t want to observe the regulations of the bar because they are ‘important people’; they even fight when their bodyguards try to put them into their cars to be driven home – or, is to the next kafunda? Lokodo should get his cabinet members into line before he starts branding us irresponsible.

Then up-country there is that man who has spent the whole day toiling for peanuts on a farm that is probably owned by somebody in government. When the day comes to a close and after hours of abuse by the owner of the farm as to how useless he is, he gets to his bar at 7:30pm and there is Lokodo telling him he only has half-an-hour of drinking time left! Obviously I can imagine what is going to happen next. He is going to walk back to his shamba get the panga out and start doing some chopping.

If Lokodo wants to introduce a drinking bill, he first has to define what the difference is between a bar and a kafunda. For example, is a shop that sells groceries but has a bench by the doors where customers can wait for their shopping a bar of a kafunda?

But while I do welcome a drinking law, like everything that is proposed by some minister, it is bound to fail because they will have now way of enforcing it. If I recall, 15 or so years ago, Kampala City Council tried to do the same thing. Nothing happened.

But good luck to you Mr. Lokodo in passing the bill and if you are reading this and you are up for it, the beers are on me tonight seeing it is a Friday. I will also take you to places where you can see your fellow ministers and legislators who are going to pass the bill being a nuisance and pulling out their pistols. But we shall of course use your car seeing you have a driver – you know there are police breathalyzer roadblocks these days.

What Time Do Bars close and Open Round The World

United States: 2am (with the exception of a few places like Vegas, NYC, Miami, etc.)
Mexico: Never
Canada: 2am
Brazil: Never
Argentina: Never
United Kingdom: 11pm (pubs), 5am (clubs)
Australia: 5am
Italy: Never
Russia: Never
Belgium: Never
Dominican Republic: 2am
Norway: 3am
Vietnam: Midnight
India: 2am
China: Never
Afghanistan: Midnight
Iraq: No bars
Chile: Never
Thailand: Never

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