Sunday, June 28, 2015

Tampon's Are A Charitable Cause

It’s said somewhere – though, I have to admit, I don’t know where or who made the utterance, that as a Christian, I have a duty to give to those who don’t have.

I do. Ok, I lied. But I used to. I used to give to All Saints Church but gave up because every Sunday, they wanted more. And more. In forty odd years of giving offertory, they never once said to me: “Hey TB, we’ve taken enough of your dime so this Sunday, just chill.”

These days, my charitable contributions go to Silk Lounge, Miki’s, Nampeera’s and especially weddings, because I actually get something out of it like a good buffet meal, old school music – assuming DJ is switched on, and of course interesting conversation with my pals – the two J’s - Daniels and Walker along with TML and sometimes Jameson that, last way into the dead of the night at a fine hotel.

Today, there are hundreds of charities involved in anything from clean water to hunger, old people to the environment. I don’t know how many charities we have in Uganda, but Google tells me that in the UK, there are over 190,000 and they all want something from me – well us, and that is money to see through their cause.

With so many charities’ floating about, there is need to be noticed for us to give. Marketing has to be aggressive as Bob Geldof did with Live Aid in the 80 and Susan Nsibirwa does with Sunday Vision and Richard Branson does with his Virgin Group.

People have run round the world to raise money for charity. They’ve also done marathons, walked across the Sahara, jumped out of planes,bungee jumped and so forth. But still, charities need to push further to get noticed.

Recently I came across a previously unheard of charity, and I probably wouldn’t have given them a second glance had two things not stood out. The charity is raising money for women in Uganda and secondly and I got to pause here for a while because I don’t know how to word it. But what the heck, let me just blurt it out. The charity is called #JustATampon and in partnership with Plan UK, they aim to break the stigma, embarrassment, gender inequality and taboo surrounding women’s periods.

They have come up with the most unusual campaign to raise money for Ugandan Woman. The idea is that you post a picture of yourself holding a tampon onto social media - Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, accompanied by the dedicated hashtag and a donation of £3 (sh20,000) to support their menstrual health work and projects in Uganda and beyond.

They say that the £3 each participant donates can provide Ugandan Girl sanitary towels for a year and help tackle the discrimination she faces - not just around menstrual hygiene, but other issues like child marriage and female genital mutilation. Tampon campaign also goes on to ask how much do men know about periods.

Tampax Compak Pearl, say the campaign is working and found that two thirds of UK men now agree that they would not be embarrassed to talk about tampons with women.

But pause. How many Ugandan women – let alone us sneering men, would happily pose for a picture with tampon in hand and seeing the picture plastered on social media – let alone in Sunday Vision or Bukedde? 

For sure, Simon Lokodo at the ministry of ethics and integrity would step in and arrest anybody caught with ‘women’s things’ while our MPs would find the campaign inappropriate and bleat: “We are honourable MPs. How can you ask us to do something utterly dishonourable? Tampons ought to be out of sight or in the pit latrine!”

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Solution? Simply Sue!

Picture this scenario. After reading all the terms and conditions, you fill in the form for a job with Sunday Vision. But at the interview, Dr. Wendo, the editor, turns you down because one of the provisos of the job is that you work on Sunday – something you feel you can’t do because of your religious beliefs - as in Sunday being a day of worship. So what do you do? Call Lawyer and take them to court.

Claiming religious discrimination, Aurelie Fhima, who is Jewish, did just that when Travel Jigsaw, a UK firm, turned her down because she couldn’t work on the Sabbath – the Jewish rest day from Friday to Saturday evening. The firm wrote to her saying: “We cannot offer you a position because we are looking for people flexible enough to work on Saturday’s.”

Court found in her favour and awarded her £8,000 (sh34m) for lost earnings, £7,500 (sh30m) for injured feelings and £1,200 (sh5m) in legal fees – a grand total of sh68m for er, er...for ‘doing a job’ that she never got.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, Wedding Cake Baker was in court for refusing to bake a cake for a marrying gay couple. Court awarded them £42,000 (sh176,400,000) because their “...human rights had been infringed and for discrimination against a gay couple.” But I thought the rule of - ‘my bakery, so I decide who I bake for’ applies - no?

In Wales, Farmer who built a barn was told by Authority that it may have to be demolished because he didn’t have planning permission. Rather than wait for court to issue the demolition judgement, Farmer simply demolished it. I am sure you know what I am going to say next, but for the benefit of those with a Sunday hangover, he was taken to court ‘for wilful destruction of property’ and fined £36,000 (sh151,200,000) – even though it was HIS property and the same court two days later passed judgement for it to be demolished.

Rounding up, a McDonald’s outlet in Dallas, Texas forked out close to $20,000 when a woman took them to court because ‘the tea was so hot, it scalded her tongue and the insides of her mouth’.
In Kampala, anybody who has been to DeWinton Street to eat kigere will know that it’s served piping hot and there is a need to chill a while and let it cool before taking it on. If kigere scalded my mouth and I took the outlet to court, I wonder what Owner would tell court? “Judge, kigere is supposed to be served hot. If it’s not, we would not have any business.” And with that, I would be fined for wasting court time.

Mama Justine in the new taxi park next to the Rubaga stage, serves tea and porridge that is volcanic hot, it will give you third degree burns and needing a skin graft if it spilt on you. She serves it in metal Tumpeco cups or gama’s as they are referred to downtown. If the porridge or tea does not scald the skin off your mouth, then the hot metal of the gama will. Should we also take her to court for selling scalding hot tea and buugi? Better still sue her for using cups that scald?

I believe in retribution - if we are justifiably aggrieved but for drivel, hmm, WTF is say! Should Nodin, Kayos, Paulo, Doc and I sue Nampeera in Bunga for discrimination and injured feelings seeing she closed her doors at 10:00pm – yet as a kafunda, we expect her to stay open till the cock crows? In court she would tell Judge – “my kafunda, my rules, my closing hours” - unlike in Europe or the US where we would have walked away with a massive payout because ‘our human rights to drink were infringed upon’. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

A Job To Die For - A Saudi Hangman?

I am not an educationalist, but I think that as a nation, we Ugandans are smart people who have been called upon to serve on the global arena. Louis Kasekkende, Deputy Governor at Bank of Uganda and Richard Kaijuka once served at the World Bank while today we have Winnie Byanyima at Oxfam, Alan Kassujja at the BBC and Sam Kutesa at the UN.

My understanding of a ‘pre-university’ education is to enable us to evolve with the world and do the basics - write, maths and most importantly, think. Others go on to university to get a degree and specialize in a skill like law, medicine, engineering and mass communication. It’s that university degree that sets you up in a chosen profession.

However, there is a ‘but’ – and I guess you didn’t see it coming this early into the column did you? Imagine the pain and anguish of having spent years at Makerere then going abroad to read yet more sophisticated books to get that PhD qualification only to come back to find you can’t get a job. Ouch!

Worse, if the PhD does get you a job, it’s worth a partly salary of sh1.5m a month, and capping it all, there is somebody behind the scenes who is out to kulemesa (frustrate) you.    

Luzira Hangman is once such person with job frustrations. The expertise of hanging people is not taught at Makerere, so it was to China that he went to learn the trade. In an interview last year with a colleague - Petride Mudoola, he said: “There is no room for error in my job. The person I hang never kicks around while dying. He dies immediately with almost no discomfort. The art lies in how you tie the knot that crushes the neck. If that does not kill him, I hit him hard at the back of the head with a hammer or a crow-bar.”

Returning from China, he got a job at Luzira Prison and for a while everything worked out. He had registered over 100 hangs, maintained neat gallows of an office, was always in time for work and when he got appraised, I guess he scored A’s because as he said – “I have mastered the art of killing without causing pain.”  

But without warning, his career came crashing down because State House sought to ‘kulemesa (frustrate)’ him. In order for Hangman to do his job, the occupant of State House - M7 that is, has to sign the execution warrants – something that he last did in 1999 that, there are now 393 prisoners’ on death row.

After 16-years of being on katebe, why not follow Kassujja and Byanyima abroad for that lucrative US$ paying job because, having a back log of 393 prisoners to hang does not good on his CV and affects his promotion chances.

Hangman needs to head to the Middle East because last month, Saudi Arabia, advertised for eight new executioners to carry out the increasing number of death sentences – not by hanging but public beheading.

No special qualifications are needed for the job, whose main role is ‘executing a judgement of death’. However, before he leaves for Saudi, he might want to take a short course at Mulago Hospital - in the amputations department or with stone throwing rioters because according to the advert, ‘other duties involve performing amputations, stoning to death adulterers and surgically paralyzing offenders under the strict eye-for-an-eye legal policy.

Hangman, the downloadable pdf job application form is available on the Saudi civil service website and if successful, they offer an attractive benefits package including a housing allowance and six months’ sick leave on full pay.

It’s an inhumane and barbaric job to do, but if M7 has put you on katebe, do you have a choice? 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Who Are You Calling Basic?

Granted, we all argue and some of us employ the use of swear words. The ‘F’-word, is one that’s most favoured – perhaps because it’s universal and the message is explicitly clear that we are – err, peeved off, not amused, vexed and despise the person we are hurling the word at.

But it doesn’t just stop at there. For greater effect, the ‘F’-word, is sometimes preceded by another word, but let’s leave it at that – shall we? Cool, because there are other swear words that I can’t mention as the Sunday Vision censor board would duly strike them out.

But we don’t always have to use swear words to froth at the mouth. That young lady on Urban TV – Mary Luswatta that is, does not use swear because it’s not her style. Rather, she belittles using clean words and she does with such effect that the people she belittles don’t belittle her back, but resort to the ‘F’-word because it’s their first line and last line of defence.

Enter a lady called Kate Moss. To the fashionistas, she is one of the world’s top models who, has made a fortune strutting her body down the catwalk in clothes that most women can’t afford to buy.
However, in my Musoga opinion, her body is basic and more like a rack of left over pork spare ribs whose fat and most meat, has been trimmed off by Wandegeya Butcher before he hung it up for sale.
One thing that all models have in common is being prima donnas who throw tantrums, unleash waves of arrogance and of course use the ‘F’-word when they don’t get their way.

But all that’s changing. Women are no longer into the ‘F’-word for its lost its flavour and that ‘out for the count’ punch. Today they belittle – if not, use the hottest diss word on the circuit and that is calling somebody a ‘basic bitch’. Ouch, did you feel that?! In a recent video with the artiste Marc Jacobs, there is a scene where Moss looks says: “...calling all the basic bitches, I have an are basic”, while Lady Rapper Kreayshawn, in her video Gucci Gucci raps: “...them basics bitches wear that shit so I don’t even bother!” A 2009 entry in the Urban Dictionary, defines the phrase as: “A bum ass woman who thinks she is the shit but really ain’t”.

In Uganda, there is an endless supply of airhead chicks and who fit the basic bitch profile because they find simple things amusing and fascinating – like taking selfies and on FB, wanting to be friends with everybody – even if they don’t know them, attending all Liquid Silk parties and incredibly, have just figured out how to use the location app on their Samsung. If not, they are crammed into Akamweesi Hostel watching the latest episodes of The Good Wife and realising - with a great sense of pride I might add, that Twitter, is not a soda or chocolate bar, but a social media platform.

So Lady Artiste, when Luswatta on Scoop on Scoop or your BFF disses you, don’t go flapping back by hurling as many ‘F’-words at them as possible. Just retort by calling them basic – if not, go for the jugular and use the whole term - basic bitch, for it leaves a most annoying itch that even the nvunza’s from Kamuli cannot muster.

But if they beat you to the punch and use the basic bitch diss on you, fret not. Call them a froyos – which is an ouch, ouch, ouch diss in reference to airhead chicks who on the weekends, binge on freebie pizzas, KFC and drinks, get rawdogged - then exercise obsessively and eat frozen Jessa yoghurt all week to avoid gaining weight.

Just in case you have no idea what rawdogged means, err, brace yourself. It is jargon for having sex without a condom.

Note: This article was due to run in my column this Sunday, but Sunday Vision and with some justification have pulled it.



Monday, June 8, 2015

When You Make A Dime, How Do You Spend It?

Then it happens. At the reading of the will, as Musika (heir), you find that Dad left you large chunks of land in Nakasongola, Mubende and beyond. But you are Kampala Boy with no interest in farming or battling Squatter, so you off load the land. All you want to do is live large.

Your bank account that had previously never seen more than sh4m, suddenly has a figure with endless zero’s that even the ATM has difficulty in fitting them onto the bank balance slip.

Though you have ‘arrived’, you are not quite in the same bank balance league as say Sudhir, Wava or Bob Kabonero, but with your few billions, you can nevertheless hold your own. So what next – how do you ‘up’ your status?

Where you previously used the ATM to draw money – because it’s discreet and never told anybody that you queued up to withdraw your last 5k, it’s now worth walking into the banking hall and watch Teller Girl’s head spin when she sees your bank balance.

The trip to Spear Motors for that Mercedes G65 AMG has to happen, as is the need to move out of the rented shoe box Naalya crib and give Landlord the ‘finger’. The services of House Broker in the trading centre by the stage will not be required because you are up-market with Knight Frank sorting out a suitable executive mansion.

Despite all that, XFM’s Siima, Rudende and Libolo have not called you in for an interview so there is still the need to up your game further by surfing the net to see what UK Millionaire is doing.

British Millionaire used to be content with Cleaner, Gardener and Driver - but now, no wealthy home is complete without Dog Nanny, Butler and Social Media Manager.

Let’s start with the dog. While Bitch Dog used to eat the scraps House-ee threw out after supper and then roamed Naalya’s backstreets for dogs to take advantage of, get it Dog Nanny. Nina Cole, founder of Nina’s Nannies for Pets in Bedfordshire, charges £29 (sh124,700) a day for one dog, while live-in nannies earn up to £50,000 (sh215,000,000) a year. One Dog Nanny described her job as – “catering to the whims of Bitch Dog. I am basically her confidante, taking her for walks, feeding her, hanging out with her and jealously guarding her diamond studded collar!”

What about the kids? Apart from moving them from Buganda Road School to Kampala International School at $3,000 per term, why not also get them Social Media Manager to supervise the content they post online? One manager said, “Young people have a lack of understanding about long-term consequences and pose a risk for themselves and their families when interacting online. Posting locations, information about personal security and details about wealth, can be innocently be spilled to millions of followers and of course, you don’t want them seeing Desire Luzinda’s or Anita Fabiola’s nude selfies on WhatsApp - do you?

Meanwhile, House-ee whose only cooking skills are ‘posho like rice’ with a watery beef stew has to be fired in favour of Butler – if you can afford his yearly salary of £75,000, (sh322,500,000) plus accommodation, food and travel costs.

Sara Rahmani, who runs the British Butler Academy says: “You can fake a Rolex, you can fake a handbag, but you can’t fake a butler. A butler is a status symbol.”

With all that, your social status would have been elevated to a dizzy height to guarantee you a slot on XFM, a double spread in Kampala Sun – with Bukedde jumping on the bandwagon and running a headline and a picture of you and Bitch Dog with her diamond collar that reads - “Mugaga awadde Em’bwa bling eya diamond!”

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...