Thursday, August 30, 2012

Don't Deal With Losers

I was at Zone 7 the other weekend and hanging out with Gaetano Kagwa. Hang on a minute, that intro does not sound quite right. Let me start all over again.
I was at Zone 7 the other weekend and Gaetano Kagwa was hanging out with me. You see, I don’t hang out with people but rather people hangout with me.
So Gae and I were reminiscing about the day he came back from South Africa after his Big Brother experience. And though Gae who was a relatively unknown man before he went to Big Brother was capitulated into nationwide fame upon his return, one thing that he did do right was not to let fame go to his head.
He kept his cool and has always been keeping his cool unlike people like the footballer Dennis Obua, and who thinks that just because he plays his football in Scotland, it makes him a superstar with the right to throw his toys out of the pram.
In Uganda we don’t like dealing with losers. So Davis Kamoga won the sliver medal at one of the Olympics but do we care about him or mention him? No we don’t for until Kiprotitch took the gold medal at the London Olympics, we only talked about John Akii Bua and Dorcas Inzirukuru.
And this is where Gae has set a precedent. He did not win Big Brother so why did we waste our time on him? Well, we wasted our time on him because he was down to earth and a man who did not let fame go to his head.
To prove a point, does anybody remember who the other Big Brother contestants from Uganda were? Certainly not I though, I think there was some hapless damsel called Maureen. I think she was called Maureen or was it Barbra?
By the way Gae, your cap, the brown one that you left at the bar, don’t worry for it is not lost. I have it and you can pick it up when you are next in town.
Still on the same vein, there is also Daniel Ongong, who is the Marketing Director at Nile Breweries. Daniel didn’t start off his stint as Marketing Director. Rather, he was one of the ninja’s, the rank and file, a foot soldier who worked hard and rose through the ranks to his current position.
Daniel could brag and swell his chest if he wanted to but he has taken a leaf out of Gae’s book and has remained a level headed man, who is unassuming, well spoken and does not sneer down on people simply because he is a director.
However, like Obua, there are some ministers including those ministers of state who we don’t know and who by virtue of their minister status have let fame go to their heads.
As ministers they think that they have the right to jump a traffic queue because they are ministers and are above the rest of us. But when some unknown minister sitting in the back of some tinted 4x4 tries to squeeze in front me and when I don’t give him space it prompts his bodyguard to roll down his window to assure me, that is taking fame too far.
What people should understand is that fame is only a temporary thing and Uganda right now needs more Daniel’s and Gae’s than Obua’s and state ministers who could lose their jobs at the next reshuffle.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

When Does Sex Cease To Be Sex, But Rape?

Women are the fairer sex. As the fairer sex, they have rights and one of those rights is to not be abused by us men.
Abuse comes in many forms - slapping their butts, pressing our groins against them, pinching them, making lewd remarks about their breasts – the list is simply endless.
I have been closely following the case against the WikiLeaks campaigner, Julian Assange who is holed up as a virtual prisoner in an embassy in London as he fights attempts to have him extradited to Sweden to face rape charges.
Rape is rape. There are no two ways about it. It is a violation and is a crime that is punishable – hopefully with a lengthy jail term.
Though rape is rape, the woman who filed the charges against Assange told police that she had consensual sex with him but woke the following morning to find he was having sex with her again, without her consent and without using a condom.
If Assange is convicted, it puts men on a tight rope when it comes to sex. Many men say that they have had consensual sex in the night and had fallen asleep straight after they were done. Somewhere during the night they have woken up all aroused, ‘made a move’ and started having sex while the woman is still in a state of slumber but who has later woken up and not thrown them off.
So when does rape become rape? Are we men supposed to literally spell it out in black and white that: “Can I have sex with you?” And later on in the night are we still supposed to ask again because the statute of limitations when we asked for sex the first time round has run out?
Will we have to start walking round with ‘sexual consent’ forms which will ask the lady to sign whenever we have sex and regardless of how many times we have sex during the course of the night just to protect ourselves if she cried rape the following morning? It is a tight situation that one.
Where I do wholeheartedly agree with the lady pressing the charges is the fact that Assange sought to have sex without using a condom. That is a clear cut violation and the book should be thrown at him.
Moving on, I met a young man the other week who was on the run and his crime? After taking one beer too many he went home and goofed not only his sister but his mother. Of course the pair wasted no time in reporting the matter to the police.
When I asked why he had goofed his sister and mother, his response which reeked of stupidity was: “I didn’t really goof them. I just gave them polite slaps!” What the young man does not realize is that a slap, punch, a kick still constitutes as having giving them a beating and no matter how polite the slaps were.
I looked at him with pity and walked away with the hope that the long arm of the law will eventually catch up with him.
As I part, I am not defending Assange on any of the claims made against him but was merely trying to clarify when sex ceases to be consensual. And to you men who go out beating up your mothers and sisters, it is so un-cool!   

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Smokers Too Have Rights

In Uganda we have very little respect for safety. Four people will ride on one boda and we will cram as many people as possible into a pick-up.
But not Asian man. When it comes to taking his family on an outing on his Bajaj, he makes sure that it is only he that will wear a crash helmet. “F**k the wife and kid, they don’t really need them because their lives are not as important as mine” so he probably tells himself.   
Moving on, David Bahati is an MP and as an MP he has a duty to make certain utterances – some which I am in agreement with and other not.
For example he wants it to be illegal to be a homosexual. I can see where he is coming from because while I was still at school, I went to a boy’s only school. In the showers, I saw all kind of butts – tight ones, saggy ones, perky ones but NEVER ever did I look at them and think: “Wow Tom has a nice small butt and I would not mind getting a piece of him.”
And the mere thought that out there they could be a man who has seen the shape of my butt and he drools whenever I walk past him, makes me want to puke. So yes, the utterances Bahati has made do make sense to me.
Then he went and spoilt it all. A few weeks ago, I was invited to a tobacco stakeholders meeting at Serena hotel. .
Bahati along with a certain Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, who is also a MP intend to table a bill that will curb the rights of we smokers. And before I get into the nitty gritty, let me say this. The tobacco industry like any other industry needs to be regulated and while we all know the side effects of smoking, it is not illegal.
It is also not illegal for a farmer to grow tobacco, nor is it illegal for the tobacco industry to turn the tobacco leaf into cigarettes. What is illegal, is for shop keepers to sell cigarettes to minors and for tobacco companies to advertise.
Therefore, why would Bahati and Baryomunsi want to step on my toes and that of other smokers by tabling such a bill?
Well here is the answer. As politicians, Bahati and Baryomunsi are answerable to an electorate. Come the next elections, when they are asked what they did, they can safely say: “We made it illegal for people to smoke in public” and that might just get them the votes to be returned to parliament.
So what do we smokers have to do to make sure that the bill fails? Well I thought of abducting the pair and taking them to a torture chamber and pulling out their nails with a pair of pliers.
In reality that can’t work. However, when we have the Smoking Party at Club Silk next week, I know who I won’t be inviting.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The High Altitude Toilet Mishap

I have to respect to the engineers who built Boeing, Airbus and Concorde - though I am not too sure about the Concorde people because after one plane crash, the entire Concorde fleet was grounded. I mean, how they came up with the technological genius of putting us into a tin box that would soar into the skies and transport us across continents and oceans, is a feat to be marvelled at.
In building an airliner, Engineer pretty much got everything covered except the toilets. The toilet, and if you are tall as I am, involves a complexity if you intend to sit down on the pan. And larger people are not exempt either – just ask the presenter Straka.
I flew into Nairobi last weekend, but what the heck was the pilot of the Air Uganda plane thinking? He flew the plane at an incredible speed that, we got into JKIA fifteen minutes ahead of schedule. So what exactly was wrong with that?
What was wrong?! What was wrong?! Jesus Christ, it only allowed enough time to quaff a solitary can of beer instead of the usual four or more. And I am sure he flew that fast to cut costs, to save the airline beer money because he knew I was on the flight.
Getting back, one can of beer inside me has never necessitated the need for me to go to the washroom, but on this occasion it did. With a seemingly clear sky, I hit the washroom and trust my luck for no sooner had I unzipped and flopped out the segwanga, we hit turbulence.
The mechanics of trying to have a pee in a toilet the size of the average domestic fridge and at God knows what altitude and in conditions where the plane is being tossed all over the skies are not all that easy.
As I got thrown about, the first squirt of pee missed the pan and ended up on the wall as the plane banked left. So I held back and just when I thought all was okay and I unleashed another squirt, we hit more turbulence and this time the pee splashed across the mirror and on my trousers.
To stem the damage, I sought to sit on the pan and though the plane was tossing all over, I did eventually manage wriggle myself into position but by then there was of course, no pee left to squirt out.
Before I left the washroom, I had to clean up the pee that squirted across the mirror, the floor, the wall and on my person too.
That said, the word compensation now springs to mind. But do I sue Air Uganda for flying us through turbulent weather or do I sue the aircraft manufacturer for wasting money on ridiculously frivolous things like passenger safety, seatbelts, in-flight entertainment, blankets, booze and dish than on making the toilets bigger - so that tall people like me and larger people like Straka can sit on the pan without much difficulty?
Imagine the embarrassment of emerging from with washroom with a susu stain down my trousers. Do you see where I am flying from?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Coward International Airport, Entebbe

Advertising is big business and it shows because all over the city, billboards have sprung up en-mass and in the newspapers on television and radio, adverts are posted daily though on radio and television, the adverts run every five minutes or so.
The thing about adverts is what do we make of them? Are the people who are advertising looking at us as fools, as people who don’t know what we want and hence the need for them to tell us that they exist, sell so and so product and are forced to advertise?
Would we necessarily go out and buy a product simply because it has been advertised on Bukedde television or on Urban television? The people who advertise so think so and that is why they plunge a good proportion of their budgets into advertising.
Let’s pause there a while. The Entebbe airport of old and by old, I mean the Idi Amin, Military Commission and Obote II era, the airport was a far cry from what it is today.
To be honest, the airport was a ‘morgue’ but though a morgue, it did have its advantages. Then, if somebody was travelling, it was possible to walk to the check in counter with them. And at immigration if you slipped Immigration Officer kitu kidogo (something small) he would let you into the departure lounge and sit with your friend until their flight was boarding.
It was also possible to park your car right outside departures unlike today, where you park in the car park and have struggle with your luggage up the narrow stairways to the departure lounge.
And then I might also add, is that didn’t have to pay a parking fee. And how many of you knew that we used to be allowed on to the airport roof because there is a viewing gallery up there? I bet that one caught you out!
Okay so the airport was bland and morgue like. All the shops on the departure level were not there and once you had past immigration, again there was not a single duty free shop in sight save for one restaurant – if it could be called a restaurant because, it sold – well nothing. You were lucky to find the odd Pepsi or a samosa that had been rejected by previous travellers.   
And in its bland state one thing that was noticeable is that it was totally devoid of any commercial branding. There was not a single billboard in sight.
Today, all has changed because the airport has undergone a transformation in that somebody woke up and discovered that it has the potential to be a huge cash cow. Advertisers are fighting over the airport for space and the principal players are MTN, Orange, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) amongst others. And CAA, which, I presume owns and manages the airport, is only too happy to let the players tussle it out and in the process fill their coffers.
Looking at the airport from the apron, at the top of the building where it says ‘Entebbe International Airport’, those words are hardly visible because they have been obliterated by UWA and Orange signage. That is where the battle starts.
At immigration, MTN have snapped up the immigration booths while Stanbic Bank, United Bank of Africa and Cti battle it out on the peripherals for any space that CAA will give them.
But CAA, are not content. They want more, they want more money in their bank account and as long as there is space to sell, they are seemingly not contented with just selling off the immigration booths or the airports windows and walls. They have gone a step further and sold off the floor to the late comers like Protea Hotel and URA.
The Entebbe of old, though it looked bland, it also looked a far lot neater then than it does today because it now looks like a clowns outfit. And seeing it is all about money, there is no doubt that MTN and UWA who already have signage on either side of ‘Entebbe International Airport’ sign are probably in a protracted discussion to find out if they can prefix their names to the sign so it reads ‘MTN Entebbe International Airport’ or ‘UWA Entebbe International Airport’.
My fingers are crossed for perhaps Robert Kabushenga, Vision Group CEO might also decide to buy space and have a huge banner that reads: "The Coward International Airport, Entebbe.” If that happens, then CAA’s lunacy might also descend into selling advertising space on the runway too!  

Expelled From School And Sent to Prison

I was fortunate enough, that during my academic career, I was never suspended or expelled from school – not because I was a good boy who to...