Saturday, August 27, 2016

Vorsprung Durch Technik

I got to know Horseman through Paulo though, Horseman isn’t his real name and I don't know how he got the name nor do I really want to dwell on it because I think it might have something to do with size of a certain part of his anatomy. I think they used to work to together at utl. He’s a nice chap – a spitting image of the artiste Navio (Below) but without his finesse and one who has a way with words – in that you just don’t know what he is going to spew out and when he does, it’s a case for being on bunkenke – especially when the ladies are around for he is direct, to the point and often leaves them traumatised.

Horseman used to cruise town in a Toyota which he continued driving well past its scrap-by-date. Then it died. For a while he was without a ride till he got himself and the funds organised to buy a new one. He wanted a BMW – a ride that Paulo, Willo and I tried to talk him out of – telling him to buy a Toyota because of the availability of spares and the resale value – words which, fell on deaf ears.

Weeks later and he pulls up in a blue BMW 318 (Below) that needed some light work done here and there. If I recall, we went on a binge and drank to the BMW as well as wishing him good luck. For a while, lady luck was on his side. The BMW behaved but every time I saw him, I couldn’t help but think of when it would start throwing tantrums.

Then he had the audacity, without telling us - his ‘tights’, he went on a hot Friday date with Ka-Campuser like the ones below to some fancy dinner of sorts. Date done with, they walked back to the ride - BMW keys clinking away in his hands ready to fire her up, give her a few revs to put Japanese Car Driver in his place and be on his way. His brain was also working overtime and was way ahead of him – thinking of the sawa ya maaluv session that awaited him and trying to get his love vibe in order – words of ‘darling, I love you’ and ‘come sit on papa Horseman’s lap.’  

Except, it didn’t happen that way. There was no getting his love vibe in order. When the key hit the ignition and he turned it over, nothing happened. The BMW didn’t fire up and he didn’t get to give it a few revs to put Japanese Car Driver in in place. There was nothing but silence.

Sweat cascaded down his forehead and dampened his shirt while Ka-Campuser’s smirk indicated that she was no longer going to be had for ‘desert’ and perhaps wishing she had gone out with Plan B who drove a reliable Toyota. But lady luck came through for him. The BMW did fire up and they were on their way except, as they neared her hostel, he hit a speed bump that the entire front bumper deposited itself on the road in front of him. Her smirk came back, the desert of her in lingerie, soft lighting, Luther Vandross serenading in the background and some red wine went of the window. Of course she abandoned him.

But he didn’t learn. Weeks later at a hangout in Kabalagala, again BMW refused to fire up – this time something to do with a massive oil leak. Days later, something from under the engine fell off. It got so bad that to be certain the car would start, he used to park it on a hill so he could roll and jump start it.

On another outing, as he got into Wandegeya (Below from Mulago) with Date and he rounded the corner to drive up Makerere Hill road, this time the bumper didn’t fall off but, the car just switched itself off – engine, electronics and all.

Months later when he did his sums, he worked out that the repair bill since he got the ride was almost on par with what he had paid for it. To save face, beer and Chogm pork money, he deftly off loaded it - except he didn’t tell us.

To-date, at the mere mention of a BMW, he regurgitates all the ‘F’ words he’s used since he started using the ‘F’ word, bangs tables and rues not having had Ka-Campuser and Date for desert because BMW didn’t live up to its slogan of, Vorsprung Durch Technik – Advancement Through Technology.          

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Bafu, Bafudde!

There is just something about Masaka road. Years back, the accident black spots were Busesa which, is near my kyalo, if not, further up the road at a muchomo town called Idudi. Today, its Masaka road which is the valley of death of Uganda’s roads and where Grim Reaper has been making a 'killing'.

Back in 2004 when the Miss Uganda regionals were still on as was Pam Awards, MTN switching towns onto the grid and Uganda and Nile breweries having promotions, I used to traverse the country quite frequently. Going upcountry to attend one of those events was as chic and as popular as it is going to a Blankets and Wine event today. We planned. We sketched around for rides – not just any ride, but a ride that had aircon, a good sound system and most importantly, could deliver speed.

Mbale was THE trip to go on because Tirinyi road had been sorted out. It was wide and like Tight told me upon his return, it’s a road that is devoid of traffic and is as smooth as a matching bra and silk knickers from Victoria's Secrets. Hmm. Once word went round, it became the grand prix circuit - the preferred road to road test a ride and see exactly what it can do.

A good steady journey time from the start of Tirinyi road to Heroes Stadium on the outskirts of Mable town and at Jajja or Parent speed, on average takes one hour and 20 minutes. Jajja and Parent have no need to rush. They have no need to prove if Toyota FX or Toyota kabina boasted a phallic engine under its hood. They had no need to prove if the recently installed heart pacemaker could stand speeds in excess of 100km/ph.

But we did. We needed to prove that our ride was the ride. We needed to feel that we were auditioning for a part in the movie - Fast and Furious. We needed to hear the ‘ping’ of women’s G-strings snapping as we drove past them. We needed to prove we had the guts, the balls, nerves of steel and that our bowel sphincter muscle would hold firm when we overtook a long line of trucks at insane speeds.

When Sandor worked for the brewery, I hear he once did the trip in 40 minutes in a Mitsubishi Gallant. A month later, he shaved off five minutes a single cabin pickup and did it in 35 minutes. Then Aga who heads a chicken empire, I am told that in a G-Class Mercedes, he did the trip in 29 minutes, a record that I am sure still stands today.       

Speed can kill so I found out on a trip back from Hoima. In the Pajero were my colleagues at New Vision -  Albert Ayiga, Joseph Kabuleta and his Wifey. There was no need to race, but we had to and against an empty 40ft fuel tanker. All the way from Masindi we had played ‘cat and mouse’. He would overtake us going downhill and we overtook him on the climb.

100 kilometres out of Nakasongola, and down the straight (Above) we got rid of them once and for all and as we hurtled down the road at over 100km/hr, the unthinkable happened. The rear left tyre burst. For a while Pajero danced in the middle of the road. Then it swerved left and right and went foraging deep into the bush for Grim Reaper while thrashing and flattening just about everything that was in its path except, an anthill that brought it to a stop and made putty of the engine.

When the dust and shrubbery settled, amongst the screams that were so obviously plagiarised from a past Bukedde headline, Villager came screaming, ‘bafu, bafudde’, as well as embarking on pillaging spree while of all songs Tony Braxton (Below) sought to sing on the CD was, He Wasn’t Man Enough - and am I to presume that’s why I lost control of Pajero? Hmm!

Had Albert and I not been wearing seatbelts when the Paj rammed into the anthill, we would have been flung through the windscreen. While help did arrive from Villager, their priorities are not to help but to raid the car and your pockets of valuables. How Chap managed to open the back door and be off with our bags before the dust had settled is beyond me.    

Three weeks ago, Allen Kagina, Executive Director of Uganda National Roads Authority (Below) along with Traffic Police Officer, held a Twitter discussion that focused on the highway code, traffic regulations, roadworthy cars and speed that I think it would be apt to end with a quote from the debate. She said: “Speed limits are there to protect you. Don’t ignore them. Don't become a road death statistic.” She really does have a very valid point. Doesn't she?   

Pictures: New Vision, Daily Monitor, Internet

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Er, Wrong Coach To Rio XXXI?

I have never been to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The closest I’ve been to Rio, has been over the past nine days and watching the XXXI edition of the Summer Olympics, where the world’s finest athletes are toiling for country and flag and hoping to stand on the podium with gold, silver or bronze bling draped round their necks.

Our Uganda I am proud to say, also dispatched the finest athletes it could find (Below) to Rio though, like many out there, I don’t know who our athletes are or their pedigree or if they have medals from previous games – say Commonwealth Games or The All Africa Games.

I also don’t know how Uganda’s Olympic Committee selected Athlete, but I’m told it’s something to do with qualifying - which I think is a good thing? If Usain Bolt, who is arguably the finest sprinter there is today and who has won just about every medal there is to win, had to qualify to be part of the Jamaican team, then why shouldn’t the same rules apply to our own?

In all sports disciplines, while Athlete takes the kudos, in the backroom there is the support staff who in one way or another, will contribute to Athletes success. There is Coach, Physiotherapist, Trainer, Nutritionist, Manager and so on. But due to financial constraints, we couldn’t afford to dispatch the entire backroom team to Rio, but to send the most qualified of the lot and if sanity prevails, it would have had to be Coach – not so?                

But sanity didn’t quite prevail and we are Ugandans and not the rest of the world. We like to be different. We like to be unconventional. We like to break rules. We like to say ‘f**k them’ and more importantly, we like to shock.

And we have. We did send Coach to Rio, but we decided to send the wrong one. Does that not call for a repeat to save you from going back to the start of the sentence and reading it all over again just to make sure you read it right? It does. What we have decided to do, is to send the wrong coach to Rio.

Faustino Kiwa, (Below) whose specialty is in coaching Sprinter, travelled to Rio as coach to Long and Middle Distant Runner. And this is where I unleash the shocker. We don’t have Sprinter on the team and Kiwa did not bond with Athlete - better still, I hear he did not set foot in Namboole or Kapchorwa where Athlete was training. So we have Sprints Coach in Rio coaching Middle and Long Distance runner? Hmm, it’s like State House having a dinner for Kabaka Mutebi and bringing over Lugbara Chef from Madi to prepare beef luwombo while ignoring Muganda Local Chef from Budo who, has years of experience in cooking beef luwombo’s for Buganda’s royalty.

But there’s another shocker. Benjamin Longiross (Below), a UPDF soldier and retired long distance runner who competed in the 1988 Olympics marathon, had spent months coaching and bonding with Athlete in misty hills of Kapchorwa. Longiross should have been in Rio, but Uganda Athletics Federation President, a chap called Dominic Otucet, who by the way is in Rio as the athletics team manager, argued that Longiross ‘didn’t make noise’ about being abandoned in Kapchorwa and probably without transport back to Kampala, so it was okay to send Kiwa in his place. Another hmm.

What Otucet (Below, white T-shirt) also chose to ignore when deciding which officials should go to Rio is that apart from my having a valid passport, I have also done ten marathons – two London Marathons, two Boston Marathons and four MTN Kampala Marathons - which means, I do have the necessary experience and therefore I should have been with the team in Rio.

But I am not in Rio. Rather, I am having pork and beer with Nodin, Doc (Below), Julio, Lukwago and Willo at Chogm because Otucet decided to be a hater.

A hater and all because I chose 'run' the London and Boston Marathons on Supersport while the MTN Kampala Marathons were 'run' from the exclusivity of the MTN hospitality tent along with Gasper and OPP (Below) and over a full and sumptuous English breakfast prepared by Faze II Chef while popping very cold TMLs as we watched Athlete race by - instead of actually running. 

Meanwhile, Longiross is probably still moping about on the hills of Kapchorwa and waiting for his Mobile Money transport back to Kampala to reflect on his phone and while he has decided to stay silent about his omission from the squad, I am not. I am so not.

First thing come Monday morning, I am swaggering down to complain to Mrs. Museveni – she is the minister of sports not so and who knows, I might just make it in time for the closing ceremony.  

Pictures: The Observer, AFP, Daily Monitor, New Vision

Friday, August 12, 2016

From Temper Tantrum To Melee

The painter Vincent Van Gogh, (Below) had a temper tantrum against himself when a painting he was working on, just would not come to light. Instead of pacing the room or banging the wall with his head like most of us would have done, he reached for a knife and hacked his right ear off and that calls for a ‘hmm’ don’t you think?

We all have temper issues – that unstable wire that has disconnected and flaps about in the head of even the most apparently sane person. We have all experienced temper tantrums which are defined as: ‘A desperate expression of rage against a perceived state of helplessness. While its normal to get angry and express that anger, the difference between expressing anger and having a temper tantrum, is that a temper tantrum is an excessive and irrational reaction to a  situation which we cannot control. 

Doc is a sane person. He has to be for he’s a doctor. In the time that I have known him, I have never seen him get angry. But if a melee broke out and I was with him, I wouldn’t see him as Kanyama backup, but as UN Diplomat cowering behind the notion of peace talks.

We were over at Nampeera’s in Soya having a drink. A polite drink that had Doc’s faculties in check when it came to adding up the bill and how many beers we each had. When Chap presented the bill, Doc saw the error and pointed it out him. However, when Chap came back with the abridged version, a bill which was much higher than the previous one, Doc threw scorn on it as he always does in such situations.

But this time, there was more than just scorn. There was a temper tantrum in the making. And without warning, it didn’t merely seep out. It exploded. It started with words of discontent and when they simmered, a melee proper in the form of kicking tables, chairs and knocking over drinks started. My jaw dropped. Maria behind the counter took cover and scrambled for her phone to make 999 calls to Cop while Chap who presented the bill fled. With my jaw still dropping, I sat back in shock at the temper tantrum that Doc was having.

Years back Kahinda Otafire (Below), was having drinks at Fairway hotel with colleagues including Sam Kutesa and Wifey. It was a normal run-of-the-mill ministerial drink up after a hard day dealing with matters of state when an argument began to brew. Ministerial arguments do happen but when tempers flare, they are extinguished almost as soon as they start - except this time because there was temper tantrum in the making. Otafire didn’t melee. He stood up, reached for his belt, took out his pistol and assured Kutesa and Wifey how he could shoot them.

In January 1995, Eric Cantona (Below), then playing for Manchester United got sent off in the 28th minute after a rogue tackle on Crystal Palace defender Rick Shaw. Walking down the touch line to the dressing room, Yob in the stand started taunting him (Cantona). Normally Cantona would have continued walking except, temper tantrum got the better of him when Yob called his mother a French whore. Not even Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan could have pulled the kung-fu kick that Cantona executed on Yob.

When the Pajero broke down in Kabalagala during rush hour traffic, Cop asked if I really knew how to drive. I should have ignored him and laughed it off, but and I guess, is there any need to tell you where I am headed? In case your slow, temper tantrum took over and suffice to say, I swung him a hot left that really connected and sent him sprawling to eat the tarmac.

When the dust finally settled, tempers had been harnessed and caged, Doc woke up to the reality of having been barred. Otafire resigned. It was the end of Cantona’s football career. And I spent the night in the cooler.    

Pictures: Internet, Daily Mail, New Vison

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