Friday, July 29, 2016

It's Tumwebaze Who Bought The M7 Thinkpad

In this tough economic climate, the last thing we would want is to see people out of a job. But in this case, it’s absolutely warranted. The way I see it, heads just have to roll. But more on that later in today’s ramble.

The 27th African Union Summit took place in Kigali, Rwanda two weeks ago but of course, I was busy sorting out my social night life to pay attention to it, until I saw a clip of Rwandan President, Paul Kagame (Below), looking rather tediously bored when he took to the dance floor with Singer who just would not let go of his hand. At one point, Singer was so obviously waiting for him to twirl her and when that was not forthcoming, she took matters into her own hand and twirled herself while still latching on to his hand. But again, that’s beside the point.

What is, is President Museveni’s briefcase that his ADC, Maj. David Koch (Below in military dress), flogs around and its contents. But pause a minute - what makes a good briefcase? It has to be lightweight with a comfortable handle; large enough to hold documents but not so bulky it looks like a weekender; and made of materials built to last so it can be passed on to the kid when he gets old enough to pull his weight – in this case, former ADC Maj. Wilson Mbadi passing it on to Maj. Koch.

However, M7’s briefcase does look like a weekender. Its big, bulky and looks fully laden. In all my time watching Mbadi and Koch lugging it around, I have never seen them opening it. Whats inside? A spare yellow tie, buttons or cuff-links? Some lip balm or Kleenex wipes? A pistol and ammunition? Or perhaps its a laptop because, where did the laptop he (M7) was using at the AU Summit last week spring from?

And this is where heads have to roll especially that of Information, ICT and Communications Minister, Frank Tumwebaze (Below). I am not the most computer savvy person there is in Uganda, but I do know that when I am buying one, I just don‘t walk into the computer shop, Kazinga Channel on Entebbe road and pluck the cheapest one off the shelf. By the way Frank, the top ten selling brands on the market today and in order are – Apple, Asus, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, Sony, Samsung, Hewlett Packard, Toshiba and MSI.

While the logo is not that clear on the one that M7 showed off at AU, it does look like a 17 IBM Thinkpad. Frank, who in today's world uses a bulky IBM Tinkpad? Not even my dad, Mr. Bukumunhe that is and who is not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to laptop brands uses an IBM Thinkpad but a Lenovo.

Another reason why Tumwebazes head has to roll, it that a 17 is too big to be used in such a confined conference venue. He should have procured for him at least a 13 Samsung tablet which is discreet and which M7 could have laid out on the table and done whatever he was was doing very privately with not a worry that Delegate and President of the countries that sit on the Z row behind him like Edgar Lungu of Zambia and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe are not peering over his shoulders and reading our state secrets or private e-mails to the Minister of Education and Sports.

If the tablet was hard to come by, then I would have suggested a Samsung Note III cell phone as an alternative because it has a large enough screen at 5.9 for his (M7s) failing eyes to still be able to read – plus it comes with the extras meaning, he would be able to go online and pass time watching Bukedde TV, play candy crush, watch Scoop on Scoop on Urban TV, tweet or better still, watch the memes of the #M7 Challenge as Mugabe takes to the podium to deliver his usual lengthy rambling tirade of a speech.

No offence Frank, but I am sure at the moment you are seething and thinking of calling Robert Kabushenga at Sunday Vision to ask if he can haul me over the coals and discipline me. But can see where I am coming from Frank, for as ICT minister, I presume it’s you who The Treasury issues the cheque to for the procurement of government laptops.

IBM should I point out, is a brand just like Blackberry or Nokia which, are dead in the water and it was the wrong brand to have swung M7. And Frank, tell M7 to style up because that Katorchi Nokia 1100 phone (Below) which is so obviously a promotional phone and one favoured by Mobile Money Agent, does not even have a vibrate ring mode to it. Even House-ee at State House and whose grandmother lives in a kyalo in Kashari, wouldn’t take it in a brand new state or as a presidential hand-me-down.


Pictures: New Vision, Daily Monitor, Internet

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Multi-Tasking The Pompi Way

I’m not a gadget person especially when it comes to phones. I don’t buy a phone for what it can do. I buy phones for what they look like. And I like big phones because I believe that men should have a phallic symbol in the form of a big phone because it sells status.

My current phone is a Samsung. While it has a big enough face, I am still not happy with it. Half an inch wider and longer would have suited me fine, but for the time being, it will do.

When it comes to sending out texts, chatting on WhatsApp or Twitter, there is nothing spectacular about my style. I am rather cumbersome and I use my left index finger to do the needful. On the other hand, I have seen people who are seemingly wizards at sending texts like Pompi (Below left) and Guma, (Below right) who I deem to be the masters in the circles that I trawl.

I don’t know how Pompi does it, but he can multitask. He has the ability to order a Bell beer from Adyeri while at the same time with two phones in front him, hold multiple txt conversations and all while still contributing to the conversation that’s going on around him.    

Guma on the other hand, types away with both hands at a terrifying speed like he is a pre-independence day era civil servant secretary on an old Olivetti ribbon type writer, while still being able to traverse his ride through traffic with relative ease.

But its Pompi who I have always wanted to be like when I eventually master the art of phone multitasking. Watching him at work is a marvel. The way he sits there, legs akimbo and holding court – not just with us who are sitting with him, but with possibly ten or more people he has hanging off his every word at the end of the phones he carries. And when the ‘corner has been secured’ as he is fond of saying, he stands up and shouts: “Mukhwaasi, bring chicken!”

Until it all went wrong. One evening as he did his multitasking, he let out a shriek, stood up and followed the shriek with all the ‘sh**s’ that he could muster then set about dismantling the phone – removing the cover, battery and sim card. When all was done, he sat back in sheer anguish, blew out a ‘phew’ while he filled us in. He had sent a critical text to the wrong person. But all was not lost because he had dismantled the phone, removed the sim card so surely, the message cannot have been sent?

Five minutes later and after reassembling the phone and switching it on, there a ‘ping’ sound with an envelope flying across the screen to indicate the message has been sent. All he could do was sit and wait for ‘sh*t to hit the fan.

Two weeks ago, I pulled that stunt. I was on a roll. I was tweeting. I was also having two conversations with two different WhatsApp forums, as well as a one-on-one conversation when hell broke loose. The message, which was enough to make me blush and intended for One-On-One, went to Contenass – a group of the most hard-core and unforgiving 35 men that I know of when it comes to shelling.

I didn’t bother dismantling the Samsung like Pompi did, but just sat back and resigned myself to an afternoon of the most humiliating shells. And Rwom didn’t waste time in unleashing. What did he say – “what is the old fossil up to?”

But something was distracting the group in that I got off lightly. Yes, I got a few canes here and there but nothing brutal to make me want to exit the group like our flamboyant Mukiga aka Kwagalana Mr. P… does, when he’s being shelled.

Since then, I have given up on multitasking. If it’s a forum conversation, I stick to one forum conversation till it’s done. And if it’s to One-On-One, I make sure I am typing the message on the right page.

Pictures: Patrick Oyulu, New Vision, Internet

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Kabale Jack and The 12 Ninja's

Jack, Jack, Jack! Let’s call him Mukiga Jack (Below). I like Mukiga Jack and just about everyone who knows him, likes him too. He is lean, jovial, witty and if you were having a party, his name would have to be a ‘must’ on the invite list.

I first came across him early in 2000 when I was in Kabale, filming a documentary - Postcard From... with Chris Eritu and Tilly Muwonge for WBS Television. The four days we spent in Kabale, Kabale Jack was part of us – volunteering to have drinks with us at Hot Loaf and Lake Bunyonyi plus taking us to a club called Earthquake where the decibels were beyond reason, it was impossible to be heard. If not, the reverberations caused by the decibels would send your drink titillating down the bar. Since then, Kabale Jack (Below with OPP) and I have been close friends – well, ‘tights’ so he would prefer to say.

Getting back, whenever I am out with Kabale Jack, I get a feeling of Déjà vu. The hairs on the back of my neck and my spine freeze at ‘defcon 5’. I become nervous and sweaty. I am also not settled and feel the need to stalk anybody standing or sitting behind me in case they represent trouble.

We were on our way home in the wee hours of the morning from a raucous kasiki in Club Silk and BJs Irish Pub in Industrial Area. It should have been a routine run-of-the mill drive to drop Kable Jack off in Bunga while I continue on to Munyonyo except, when we rounded the corner by Daily Monitor offices to drive up past Greenhill School, there was a charcoal truck parked in the middle of the road outside the school gates.

I’ve never fathomed why trucks breakdown in the middle of the road and never pull off and do the breaking down on the side or the road like cars do. Anyway, when they break down, shrubbery is usually strewn to alert oncoming traffic that ahead lies danger. Charcoal Truck Driver had not done that and had we been going any faster, we would have ploughed into it.

In his defence, Charcoal Truck Driver was very apologetic and immediately promised to lay out some branches. But Kabale Jack and I were not having any of it and reeled off a barrage of ‘threatening’ assurances. By this time, Turn Boy who was in the cabin had woken up and was also slavering for forgiveness. With hindsight, we should have let them be and gone on our way but we were on a roll.  The fear of God had been instilled into them. They were sweating and trembling. All that was left was for them to pee in their pants.

But can you imagine, Charcoal Truck Driver had the audacity to change his humble demeanour into one of defiance that, without warning, he was out of the cab and in our faces sketching for a melee! Hmm, two of us against two of them. The way I saw it, a ‘left’ from Kabale Jack would have Turn Boy kissing the tarmac while a bark from me at Charcoal Truck Driver would have him humbling and fleeing into whatever bush he could find. Except, it didn’t pan out that way.

Charcoal Truck driver let out a whistle that pierced the breaking morning and when we looked up at the truck, bodies were popping up from under the stacks of charcoal and stealthily abseiling down the side in absolute Ninja precision.

The odds had turned. Turn Boy was not going to kiss the tarmac and Charcoal Truck Driver was not going to humble himself and flee into whatever bush he could find. We on the other hand, were going to get a beating of a life time for when the 12 Ninja’s abseiled down, they were armed with metal bars and pickaxe handles. 

In this situation, one thing happens. The body goes into a complete shutdown but leaves the urge to pee and let out a good round of diarrhoea still functioning. The pee did come and had we not made a hysterical dash for the ride, there would have been a full diarrhoea discharge followed by a Mulago hospital admittance beating.

And that really would have been a very hard paper for us to explain away from a hospital bed and with limbs in plaster cast to Bride-To-Be, for later that day, I was to walk the aisle.

Pictures: Patrick Oyulu, New Vision, Internet    


Friday, July 1, 2016

Hustling The Pool Hustler

I don’t have the best pool game in town. Patrick ‘OPP’ Oyulu, Taata Sira Kiwana and his cousin Samson Wambuzi, John Ejalu and Greg Petzer (below) can clean me to a 7-ball humiliation. But I still play for after all, it’s just a game. I don’t throw tantrums or seek to melee or hurl the cue across the table in defeat. I accept I got beaten, shake hands, lick the wounds and seek a cold TML solace at the bar.

In the late 90s, Half London in Kansanga used to be the place to hangout – not just for food, but to catch, watch Supersport and more importantly, to play pool. It was one of those nonchalant nights where nothing was happening and activity at the pool table was stale, so why not a game of pool as I waited.

Two games later and I am on. He broke. Nothing dropped. In the top left corner, I figured I could get the white through the gap and slither the red into the pocket. I did just that and it dropped – enough for Opponent to concede I had pulled off a gem of shot by giving the table a slap and stomping the butt of the cue on the floor a couple of times. My second shot scattered the pack properly, that with a steady hand, there was no reason why I couldn’t take the game.

Two more reds dropped then I missed. At his second visit, Opponent fluffed what I would have deemed an easy shot that brought me back to play a flawless game – pulling off shots that are normally light years out of my league.

Second Opponent was dispatched with relative ease while Third Opponent put up a feeble resistance. Halfway into the fourth game, he sauntered in with more than a bravado of Jackie Chan about him, along with a personal cue in a black valise and flanked by Robust Woman in a pink sweat shirt and bottoms and interestingly enough, high heels to round off the ensemble. 

But who wears high heels with a sweat shirt and bottoms?

Going by the respect and the bonga’s (greetings) that Pool Attendant slavered on him, Personal Cue Player was Half London’s resident top dog pool player. He had to be because it was the late 90s and in the late 90s, pool was still in its infant stages in Uganda, plus the only other person I had seen with a personal cue and valise, was Taata Sira Kiwana (below).                

Personal Cue Player, talked and serenaded the table offering Fourth Opponent advice though not enough to save him from defeat. While Personal Cue Player was not next on the table, nobody complained.

I broke. His response? Telling Robust Woman how he was going to bounce the white ball off the lower cushion to give it enough momentum to roll past the black and kiss the red into the middle pocket. He did just that. And with every shot thereafter, he gave rambling commentary in Luganda and executed as he said he would. Then he bungled.

When I came back, I shouldn’t have slain him, but I did. And he should have waited in line for his next game but he threw tantrums of ‘how could he get beaten’. While I was done, he was having none of it. He wanted me back. Like the first game, the commentary continued - this time very forceful and laced with sarcastic undertones of how he was going to do the needful with vengeance. 

Except he didn’t do the needful. I did. Fans, Pool Attendant and Robust Woman were aghast. With that, he stormed out.

A Week later I was in Kaos (remember it on Kitante Road, opposite Golf Course Hotel)? While I had no intention of playing pool, I stood by the table to watch. As he took the shot, he looked up, saw me and in a flash he was next to me. In Luganda he said: “Mzee, what do you want with me, why can’t you leave me be?” Eh!?

Its only when I saw Robust Woman – still in her sweats plus high heels and Fans that I cottoned on. He was Personal Cue Player who I had humiliated in Half London weeks earlier. I let him be and shuffled to the bar with a running wild ego and a smirk of contempt - that whenever he saw me by a pool table, he would pee his pants, duly pack his cue into the black valise (below), grab Robust Woman and slither to another venue.

Like I said at the start, I am not a good pool player so when you see me at the tables, don’t come wanting to maliza (finish) me 7-ball style.

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...