Monday, June 25, 2012

Forget The Makerere Degree, Simply Go To Ekitoobero

Continued from last Sunday

Previously on The Coward…

I am still out on police bond for having taken a picture of our Hon, the PM’s Mercedes. It was a move that was deemed to have threatened his life by the security agencies. And because of that, I have to report to Kiira Road police station every Friday at 10:00am.

Today on The Coward…

I should have presented myself to the CID office at Kiira Road police station on Monday but I didn’t. I didn’t – not because I am taking the whole matter of being charged for ‘threatening the life of Amama Mbabazi’ lightly but because my schedule did not allow.

I did eventually report – two days later on Wednesday. This time I was handled by a lady officer called Mutoni – if memory serves me correct, and she sits in room 14, which is the hub of all CID activity at the station.

This time round there was no dilly dallying. Mutoni looked at the police bond, stood up and walked into the corridor for say twenty seconds and when she returned, this is how the conversation went.

Mutoni: “Bukumunhe, I am cancelling this police bond.”

TB: “So what happens now?”

Mutoni: “You are a free man. You can go about your business and if we need you, we will be in touch.”

And just like that, it was all over. No more reporting to Kiira Road, no police bond hanging over my head. But with all things that involve the police or the security agencies, there is something I have yet to figure out.

Why did the police cancel the bond? Did CID investigate and find I posed no threat to the Prime Minister? Had my file been forwarded to the director of public prosecutions and he figured there was no case to answer? Did that chap called Orders From Above let it slide?

I don’t know what really happened but I will tell you this. When Mutoni read through the police bond, she stood up, walked out into the corridor, stood there for say twenty seconds then returned and cancelled the bond. What happened out there in the corridor especially since she didn’t speak to anybody? Or perhaps it was a case of divine intervention?

Anyway, enough about the police. I was in Nakivubo Stadium a couple of weeks ago to attend the CBS show, Ekitoobero and one thing about being in the Nakivubo area is the rate of development that is going on in terms of shopping malls and hotels.

They are springing up a-dime-a-dozen and like piranhas, they want to gobble up the stadium, a Nakivubo Stadium whose death warrant I think, has already been signed on its future and I reckon it will be two years max before it is turned into a bus or taxi park, a shopping mall, hotel, or a giant mivumba market. Or might it be turned into one giant pit latrine area seeing there is a shortage pit latrines in the area?

At last year’s Ekitoobero, I thought I had seen it all but going by what happened a few weeks ago I hadn’t. The eccentrics, the imagination that the people who operate downtown have, have to be marvelled at.

Last year, just inside the entrance there was a photo booth and their marketing gimmick was simple and to the point. “Tofaayo oba tewagenda Makerere kufuna diguli. Jjangu gyetuli tugikuwe.” (don’t worry if you didn’t go to Makerere and get a degree. Come to us and we will give you one). And for 5k, they dress you up a graduation robe complete with a motorboard and the degree, take your picture and fifteen minutes later you had a framed photograph you could hang up in your living room for your guests to admire.

And they lined up - everybody from the chapatti vendor, the wheel barrow pusher, mamma boy who selling gonja, the omweso and ludo expert to the chap picking up the empty mineral water bottles. They all are now degree holders – well at least in their homes they do have ‘the proof, the photographic evidence’.

But Photo Booth Owner went one step further this year. This year he was giving out masters and doctorates. However, there was a problem that he didn’t anticipate. Chapatti Vendor, Wheel Barrow Pusher, Mamma Boy Selling Gonja, Omweso and Ludo Expert had no clue what a masters meant nor, did they understand what a doctorate was all about.

But not to worry for he had a business partner on hand to break it down for them and once he was done, nobody wanted a degree. It was worthless to them. They wanted to be known as Dr. Chapatti Vendor, Dr. Wheel Barrow Pusher, Dr. Mamma Boy Selling Gonja, Dr. Omweso and Ludo Expert. They wanted the doctorate.

Let’s pause while I give you a chance to catch your breath. I can see a number of you reading this cowardly tale and thinking I made this story up and that I am on crack cocaine. I am sure that my editor, Esther, is having her doubts too.

But there is a simple way to prove my story. Today is Radio Simba’s musical festival, Ekiggunda at Nakivubo Stadium. If any of you turn up for the event and do not leave with a degree or a doctorate, I will buy the first ten people to complain The Sunday Vision newspaper for the next two months. I would rather have bought beer but there is something called newspaper sales. Complaints to

Getting back, when it comes to food, by the Kirrusia stand is the place to find it. And when I say the place to find food, if you take your time and shop around the numerous food vendors, you can chance on a vendor who will sell you chapatti, matooke, plao, beans and meat sauce for under 5k. So what is the big deal about that then? One, it is a heap of food and secondly, they give you four pieces of meat which are almost the size of a tennis ball. By the time I got through the four pieces of meat, there was no room for the matooke, plao, chapatti and beans.

But there was a need to take myself for a polite walk and while I was having my polite walk in a nonchalant way, I was passing wind. And in Nakivubo Stadium, passing wind is not a crime. Even if I had let it rip with full sauti, (for the benefit of our expatriate readers, people who live in Kololo, Mutungo, and in other plush neighbourhoods’ and who have never been downtown, sauti, is a Swahili word that means sound) nobody would have bothered for people downtown are used to far worse things.

And please, please, if you are thinking of turning up today and especially if it your first time, ladies please carry tissue and if any of you think of doing ‘number two’ get rid of it at home before you come because, this is how the toilet system works.

Toilet Tender will charge you sh200 – sh400 to use the toilet and if you want tissue you have to fork out an extra sh200 per perforation.

But for Downtown Woman, she has mastered the art of saving her toilet money for other things. She goes onto the pitch, kneels down and with her skirt or dress covering her, she has a pee. To the unsuspecting, she looks all innocent and you would simply look at her as: ‘Downtown Woman got tired of sitting down so she decided to kneel for a while’.

Alas my word count is up but if you happen to be in the stadium today, I am wearing a black baseball cap with a logo that reads: “Sammy J. Peppers – grill and bar, est.1996.” Seek me out, and I’ll buy you a beer. And the degree photo booth is inside the stadium almost by the entrance. On the other hand, if you happen to be in church, please throw in a kind word or two for me? Thanks, much appreciated. Till next Sunday!

Ps. Should you be a muzungu, don’t be like Dean Lewis who turned up solo and happened to be the only muzungu at Ekitoobero. He stood out like a sore thumb that he lasted a mere 30 minutes before he fled!

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