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

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