Sunday, January 12, 2014

Finally, The Bakiga Now Know How To Use A Toilet


One definition in the dictionary given to the word - ‘manners’ is: “A behavioural attribute that is distinctive and peculiar to an individual.”

Uganda has a number of prominent Bakiga from Kabale Municipality and more importantly, they have made it in life. They include Amos Nzeyi of Pepsi and Hot Loaf, Charles Mbire, Chairman of MTN, Tumusiime-Mutebile, Governor of Bank of Uganda and Justice George Kanyeihamba. At the other end of the scale, there is Aggrey Kagonyera of MTN and Jack Bageire to name but a few.

So where am I going with the manners intro and all this talk of prominent Bakiga’s? Towards the end of last year, a survey of 63 Municipalities (Sunday Vision, Dec 8th, page 6) found that the residents of Kabale Municipality have the best toilet manners in Uganda. After Kabale, came Hoima (congs Simon Kaheru the social analyst), Pader (a big up OPP) and Kibaale.

Bluntly put, our toilet habits suck because people don’t know how to use a toilet.

Women argue that men have bad toilet habits and I am inclined to side with them. They argue that we don’t flush but, do women always flush?

Putting it with as much tact as possible, when men and women go to the toilets for a pee, there are the ‘excesses’ which require extra measures in order for all to be okay. We men ‘shake off’ our excesses while women ‘blot off’ their excesses with a tad of tissue which, they neglect to flush away. We men don’t like looking into the toilet bowl and seeing the tad of tissue that was used to soak up the excess pee stuck to side of the bowl no more than women like having to wipe down the toilet seat to get rid of our excess pee before they sit down.

And what’s this about women climbing onto a sit down toilet to have a pee? Women, men do not like having to wipe down your Bata slipper footprints that are plastered on the toilet seat. Just in case you don’t get it, it’s a sit down toilet which means you put your butt on it like you put your butt on a chair. Are you with me?!

A few years ago, I wrote an article about toilets and one of my colleagues came up to me and without shame admitted that until he read the article, he had no idea what purpose the toilet brush sitting in the corner of the toilet served.

Getting back to the survey, at the end of the scale, the Ugandans who have the worst toilet habits come from Alebong, Kaabong and Napak.

My town – Iganga ranked 24th best which, implies there is a need for me to improve my habits. And I am doing something about it. A couple of days ago, I was at a function and when Charles Mbire got up to go to the washrooms, I swiftly followed him and watched him closely. Everything he did, I did and trust me, the survey was right. The Bakiga have good toilet manners that I am now the wiser.  

So what do we do about the folk from Alebong, Kaabong and Napak? Do we leave them slithering in their excrement and susu or do we help them? Seeing we have retired justice Kanyeihamba’s supposedly good toilet manners to work with, he ought to head a team that includes Kaheru and Kagonyera to go to those places and assess their needs – whether it’s more buveera that they need for ‘flying toilets’ or is it toilet tissue or that they simply need to be taught how to use a toilet and then report back to Parliament?  

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