Saturday, September 24, 2016

I'M No Land Or Latrine Squatter

The men and women who do government PR work are very astute, smart and clever people. When policies that are likely to be controversial or cause a public outcry are set to be announced, they pray that something big happens - something that can deflect attention away from the policy. While morbid, the ultimate time for PR Man to roll off a controversial policy, is the death of a Pope. Nothing beats that. Right now, PR Man couldn't have been more happier with the Brad Pitt/Angelina divorce as all the tabloids are firmly focused on that saga.

However in Australia, PR Man didn't have the time to wait for the Pope to die or for Angelina to turf out Brad and call the FBI in on him, so he went in for the next best possible distraction - when the world was focused on the XXXI Summer Olympics in Rio, to roll off a controversial policy that would affect the toilet habits of Immigrant – especially those who work in the tax office.
And PR Man went a step further. He bit his lip until Usain Bolt was bolting away to his third consecutive gold medal when he knew it was absolutely safe and issued a press release that, the tax office had installed squat toilets for its increasingly diverse workforce because more than one in five staff now come from a non-English speaking background.” They were forced to install them because Immigrant, has a habit of climbing on the seat of a sit down toilet and squatting to do business. And in Australian, its just not the done thing.

I am no squatter – on land or on the toilet. I don’t like it and it’s something I will never be comfortable with. As kids, I would rue the days when we were packed off to kyalo because Grandmothers house didn’t have an indoor flush toilet. A week before the trip, I would camp on the toilet at home in Muyenga getting rid of waste. Even when I didn’t have waste to get rid of, I would still spend time on the toilet forcing life.

In kyalo and despite Grandmother rolling out tons of food like she had been tasked to feed a capacity filled Namboole Stadium, I hardly ate – or drank to avoid having to visit the pit latrine. At times I would be in so much pain, but I would hold ‘it’ all in and wait till we got back to Muyenga.

My beef with having to squat is that I have never been good at being able to balance myself on the front of my feet as shown below. Squatting requires acrobatic stealth which I don't have. I need something to hold onto, something to steady myself with. But often, the walls are out of reach.

One thing about squat flush toilets like the ones installed in Australia, is that they are so deafeningly loud when you flush. There is a force, a gusto and anger at which the water comes gushing out of the cistern compared to the sedateness of a sit down toilet.

The squat toilets that have been installed in the tax office (Below), have been fabricated from one piece of 18 gauge, type 304 stainless steel with exposed surfaces polished to satin finish. But even better, the squat measurers 3/4” in length and width and that is more than enough space to get everything into the pan – don’t you think?

The last time I had to squat, was years ago in Kyankwanzi. I tried to follow the same principals I had when I used to go to kyalo, but this time, I was unable to hold everything in till I got back home. I had to go.

But this is what I don’t get. Pit Latrine Architect decided that unlike the flush squat which measurers 3/4”, the deposit hole to the pit latrine (Below) will be the size of a brick – a partly 230mm/110mm and that folks, is almost as hard as trying to get a shoe lace into the eye of a sewing needle.

The foray to Kyankwanzi's pit latrines (Below) was a disaster. The GPS on my butt must have been faulty for my ‘deposit’ was not made into the 30mm/110m hole but to the side of it. To solve the problem, I used my UPDF issued gumboots to scrape the ‘deposit’ into the hole then walked down to river Mayanja where I let the very fast current – almost as fast as that of a squat flush toilet wash over them. 

Pictures: New Vision, Daily Monitor

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Listen Nambooze & Lokodo - Beer, Pork & Porn Are The Cajoled Triplets

On my travels to the Middle East, I never got to meet Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf (Below) – better known to us all as Comical Ali or Baghdad Bob. Comical Ali, was the outrageous Iraqi Information Minister during the 2003 Iraq War and earned the nicknames for his wild claims and colourful statements while, Iraq was being invaded and overrun by American and British forces.

His top ten quotes at the height of the war and when it was all too evident that all had been lost are.

1. “There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never!”
2. “My feelings - as usual - we will slaughter them all.”
3. “Our initial assessment is that they will all die.”
4. “God will roast their stomachs in hell at the hands of Iraqis.”
5. “They're coming to surrender or be burned in their tanks.”
6. “No I am not scared, and neither should you be!”
7. “We slaughtered them yesterday and we will continue to slaughter them.”
8. “Indeed, they are shocked because of what they have seen.”
9. “They were received with bombs, shoes and bullets.”
10. “We are not afraid of the Americans. Allah has condemned them. They are stupid.”

Should we swing him a 'hmm'? Yes I think so. Hmm.

As a politician, Comical Ali did whatever it took to try and spin the PR machine in favour of the Iraqi’s and to convince the populous that Saddam Hussein and the government were winning the war. If it meant telling lies – which he did, then so be it.

That is what politicians – Minister and MP does. They tell lies. If they are not telling lies, then they sell false dreams and hopes of piped water, dual carriageway roads to kyalo, hospitals and schools. When they can’t tell lies, they then propose a bill or want to buy something that is one step short of committing themselves onto the fast track to Butabika Hospital and being shackled to a bed.
Some months ago, Minster (Below) decided that if he were given sh2.6bn, the best way he could use the money was to go to Germany and buy a porn machine that would be able to detect naughty men and women looking at porn magazines and videos. He convinced himself that the plan would work and that Finance Minister would swing him the dime. So at a Media Centre press conference, he unveiled his plans to the nation. Should we also swing him a ‘hmm’? I think so. Hmm.

But wait a minute. Is this not the same Porn Cop who years ago told us how he was going to rid Uganda of prostitution and the same Porn Cop who told us he is going to clamp down on women who wear short skirts? For a long as I can remember, all that Porn Cop has achieved since he was appointed, is to huff and puff fwaa style and again huff and puff fwaa style till he ran out of breath and announced the porn machine idea had died.

Then there is MP. I have never met MP and the little I know about her, I glean from the papers and television. MP as far as I can gather, is like an irritant – that mosquito that somehow manages to get into the mosquito net - not to bite you, but to take delight in buzzing about you your ears. And when you switch on the light to look for it, it’s never to be seen.

A few weeks back, MP decided that that her contribution as an MP is to table a bill that would curtail and limit our drinking of alcohol to between 5:00pm and midnight. A ‘hmm’ for her as well? I think so. Hmm.

When we go to eat our kilos of pork on a raucous Saturday or Sunday afternoon, what does MP expect us to wash the ribs down with? Wava Water? Britannia Splash juice? And that come midnight the bars should shut just when the real party is starting because the adults like her have gone to bed? What about Mama Nanffuka? Her kafunda is her livelihood and the reason why she has managed to put her kids through school is because she caters for Discerning Customer who wants to drink start drinking when he wants to start drinking and stop drinking when he wants to stop drinking.

I don’t know what the rest of you are doing about it or if you have been throwing stones at her ride, but I have arranged two rooms at Butabika – one for her, and the other for the Porn Cop. All I need are some of my Twitter followers who, I am sure like their pork and beer as much as I do like OptaJude, Bernard Loum, Edo, BMK Gift Snr, Esther Kalenzi, Sourced and Jemima Na-gundi to help me get them into the strait jackets.

One thing that Porn Cop and MP don't know but ought to get into their heads is that, porn, alcohol and pork are like cajoled triplets - just like the offertory basket and church or Kizza Besigye and riot police are like cajoled twins. It’s the way of life the world over except of course, in Saudi, Iran and ISIS controlled areas. They can’t be separated.

So MP, if you want to start catching at 5:00pm and be in bed by midnight, that is your prerogative but while your perched on the Mukwano soap box uttering nonsensical utterances, Horseman, Doc, Julio, Lukwago and I are on our fourth beers at CHOGM in Bunga and its only 1:00pm. 

As for you Porn Cop, listen up - Hawker has just called and told us that he is on his way. He has some CDs of sexy 'brown brown' Namakula showing off her massive size 34DDs at 3k each. And fret not, for we know where your office is and Semambo, our boda chap, will discreetly drop you a CD or two on Monday. 

By the way MP, where we catch from, as long as Customer is still drinking, they will never close. 

Pictures: New Vision, Daily Monitor, AFP   


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Minister Roland Kibuule - Woman's Best Advocate

From the onset, let’s just get once thing clear. Minister Ronald Kibuule (Below) has done a lot for the advancement of womanhood in Uganda when he slapped Female Askari, so let not throw stones at him!

When I was growing up, the message being peddled by Parent, Aunt, Uncle and School Teacher is that if you didn’t work hard enough and pass your exams, you will end up at the bottom off the heap. You will amount to no good and end up being House Boy, Driver or Askari – and not Engineer, Doctor or say Lawyer.

I had no problems with ending up at the bottom of the heap because as a ten-year-old, my ambitions were not outlandish. I really wanted to be Driver because at school, the way Driver drove the school bus as he too us swimming was something to marvel at. He knew how to turn corners and make it look all sexy. He knew how to look at the pretty ladies and when to honk and not to honk at them. As a ten-year-old, he was super cool and it was he who invented ‘swag’ way before he even knew he was inventing swag.

Obviously I didn’t end up a driver – no because I lost steam for the job, but because I got a lecture and hot slaps from Parent when I mentioned it to them. Whenever we went visiting and Parents were swinging lectures, many not so kind words were frequently hurled at House Boy, Driver or Askari.

But wait a minute. At home we had them all so, if they were at the bottom of the heap and there to be ridiculed and abused, then why did we need them? House Boy made sure I had clean clothes to wear every day and that lunch was ready and on time. Driver always got me to school on time and whilst I was asleep at night, Askari made sure that Thief didn’t break into the house.

Some years back, Official from Ministry of Finance in a Toyota Tundra was trying to park is ride near the Coca Cola depot in Kabalgala. When Askari guarding the depot sough to help him out, Official stopped the rife and not only barked at him, but slapped him with abuse after abuse along the lines of – “You think I am stupid. Do you know where I work to be driving such a car? No wonder you are stupid and that is why you are an askari.  When Special Hire Driver tried to intervene, he too got the same treatment.

Askari and Special Hire Driver withdrew and let Official be. No need to guess that he reversed the Tundra into a huge drainage. Obviously when he got out, he sought help from Special Hire Driver who was quick to quip: “Me I am stupid. I am only Special Hire Driver” and walked away.

Then there is Minister. Minister and virtue of his job title, feels that he has arrived. He feels that he is no longer on the same footing as the rest of the populous. He feels that when he is being driven home, Wanainchi have to go off the road because he is Minister. He expects that when he goes shopping, he can jump the check queue because he is Minister. And that’s just the top of the iceberg.

So when Minister Ronald Kibuule went to do some banking at Stanbic in Mukono, he went there ‘expecting’. He went there expecting to ballet himself into the bank without being searched because his is Minister. So when Female Askari stopped him and requested he be searched he couldn’t believe how incredulously stupid she could be. He IS Minister and she had committed a crime that was short of treason, blasphemous and abusing the office of the minister.

So He goofed her. Let’s not pretend. He is not one of us. He is a minister and one who was appointed by the president. He thus has every just right to slap whoever he wants to slap even Female Askari. He is the minister for Water and Fisheries who has many state matters on his mind and the last thing he needs is lowly Female Askari asking that he be searched just like everybody else before he entered the bank?

What on earth was she thinking? I am sure that after that incident, minister Kibuule thinks mighty highly of himself and is perhaps hoping that the powers that be will commend him for the effective hot slaps he effected. He is the type of minister to go bragging to his colleagues at Parliament what it felt like to slap Female Askari. I am so impressed with him what I would want have a poster of him in my room that reads: ‘Minister Kibuule likes to slap women’.

But alas, maybe I shouldn’t have said all that because I am of the opinion that Minister Kibuule, after reading this, wouldn’t have grasped that I put him through the mincemeat grinder and have been belittling him all along. He is also the sort of Minister who would not have read the sarcasm in what I wrote and walked into the offices of FIDA, or any women’s organisation that deals with domestic violence against women and proudly say: “I don’t see what the fuss is all about. Have you read this column?”

But the tragedy of it all - like it is with so many other ministerial scandals is that, he is Minister so what else did we expect but for the saga to be swept under the rug?

Pictures: New Vision

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Has MP Not Heard Of Zebra Crossings?

My childhood was nothing spectacular but as normal as any other child had whilst growing up. I was also fortunate enough to have parents who were switched on and instil in my sisters and I, social values and norms that when we became adults, we would appreciate – although then, we really didn’t appreciate. Like every other child in every household across the world, we saw Parent with their rules and values as being on par with those of Commandant at Auschwitz concentration camp.

My dad – Mr. Bukumunhe that is, is heavily into classical music. However, as a youngster, classical music was not music. The likes of Beethoven, Chopin (Below), Strauss, Tchaikovsky et al who in our opinion, had died before the world came into being, were not musicians. Musicians were the likes of Carl Douglas, Osibisa, Travares and The Bee Gees who were belting out tunes that we could tap our feet to, sing along to and most importantly, dance to. Music was not a long time dead Chopin or Strauss whining away on a violin or Tchaikovsky on the piano.

But Mr. Bukumunhe would make us sit there and listen to them in our valuable time when I would rather have preferred to have been driving my wire car (Below) or playing dulu (marbles) with my friends or my sisters playing kwepena (hopscotch) with their friends. But we listened. We had no choice.

When it came to eating fish, we didn’t use our hands. Mr. Bukumunhe upon his return from one of his travels, had bought fish knives (Below). They differed from the ordinary knife in that they allowed the user to pull away the skin without ripping it due to the larger end and the curve of the knife. Again, we would have rather used our hands or a normal knife, but Mr. Bukumunhe kept on singing that all too familiar and tired song that all parents sang – ‘One day, you will thank me.’

There are many more things that he put us through and today I am glad that I did listen to that all too familiar and tired song because on my travels, I have been to dinners where fish has been presented and I did know how to use a fish knife. I have been to The Proms at the Royal Albert Hall and classical music evenings and I have been able to contribute to a conversation during the interludes.

Another thing we were taught, is how to cross the road like the school kids below. It was something that even a kindergarten school dropout from Bushenyi or Mawokota could grasp. Stand a foot or two away from the edge of kerb. Look across the road to see where you are going to end up, then look left. After that, look right. If no traffic was approaching, inch to the edge of the kerb and repeat the process and if all was safe, briskly cross the road while still glancing left and right to make sure no cars sprung out of nowhere.

While Mr. Bukumunhe taught us how to cross the road. as my father, many others have not been so fortunate especially our duly elected ‘honourable’ Members of Parliament. You see, three weeks ago, MP decided that it was high time KCCA closed off Parliamentary Avenue to traffic. This they figured, would enable them to cross the to and from Parliament in an ‘honourable’ manner and style.

I image the average age of MP is 40something. If MP who is 40something and in 2016 still does not know how to cross a road, then oh dear, there is equally a good chance that as kids they were never potty trained, does not know the use of a toilet brush, pees on the floor or seat or perhaps even squats on the seat.

This makes me believe most MPs were born deep in kyalo where cars didn’t venture and the first time they saw proper tarmac was when they walked from deep in the kyalo to the main road. And when they came to Kampala, they must have been puzzled at the white markings that are painted across some of the roads. If anything, MP finds it easier crossing the road when a herd of cows, mbuzi’s and ewes are rampaging down the road towards them than his own Toyota Prado driven by his driver.

But let's not give up on them. I am sure that Paul Wabwire, who I believe is the clerk to parliament - if not, works in the clerks office, can organise with say UTODA, for MP to have road crossing lessons on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays? 

Photos: Alamy, Internet, New Vision    

Saturday, September 3, 2016

I Am Not A Perv!

Perv. The Cambridge English Dictionary describes the word - ‘pervert’ or perv’ as: ‘A person whose sexual behaviour is considered strange and unpleasant.’ Example: “Stop leering down my dress, you perv.

With that, let’s try and put it into context.  It’s a given that when men see an attractive woman they will look at her. When my tights and I look and admire, we tend to do so on the sly – almost undercover. Other men that I know of don’t take the sly and undercover route, but leer and ‘undress’ her till she is nude. Some don't stop at her being nude. They are already in bed with her. But I don’t stand about at the street corner in Wandegeya with binoculars and fene whilst leering at all the women who walk past me. Its not my style.

I was in school in Kenya with a lanky and dark skinned Peter Komeni, a Nandi from Eldoret and who was not the most handsome looking schoolboy there was. When it came to school dances with the girls from Greenacres school, Peter was in a class, a league of his own. Once the music started, he would be the first out of his seat and striding across the empty dance floor to Greenacres Girl on the opposite side.

That was not all. He would stand in front of the first girl he came across and without disguising it, he would leer her up and down. If she was not to his liking, he would move on to the next and the next till his leering was quenched and found somebody suitable.

When he found his quarry, she would inevitably say 'no' - but no, was not a word that registered with him. Short of yanking her out of her seat, he would stand there and glare at her till she said yes and offered herself to him.

Then there is Norris. What makes Norris’s brand of leering particularly nasty, is that his eyes don’t sit back in the sockets like those of ‘normal’ people. His are chameleon eyes – so huge that whenever I see him, I half expect them to squirt out of the sockets at a mere blink.

With his chameleon eyes on the verge of squirting out once he sees his prey, he is so focused that he starts to drool, then goes into a meltdown - unable to function on anything else except his leering and without being aware that he is doing it, he nastily tugs at his crotch. Not cool.    

I was minding my own business. I was walking down the sidewalk while at the same time, trying to send a txt message. Every now and again, I would look up to see where I was going so I don’t bump into people coming towards me.

This time when I looked up, I saw the mass of hair. Then I saw her. Tall, very leggy and for a moment she scattered whatever message that I was trying to text. Was I going to look at her? Heck yes! I didn’t even have to think about it because it was a given - that as soon as she passed me, I was going to turn back to leer - no tell a lie, to politely look at the rest of her. And I did and yes, she was all that. But when I swung back round to continue with my walk, Plan B was also walking down towards me.

Eh, a ‘double given’ in the space of 30 seconds, is every man’s dream. Plan B was smoldering. She was hot and oozing sex appeal all over and once she swanned past me, I took two extra steps on, then turned back to look. To my anguish, Plan B and not continued with her walk. Rather, she had had read my mind and had sussed that I was a ‘turn-around-leerier’. She had stopped dead in her tracks and was menacingly standing put with hands on her hips while her non too amused laser eyes that were capable of frying anything into smithereens fried me. She also had a ‘message’ flashing across her forehead that read something along the lines of: “Now check TB. You of all people? You are such a dirty perv. Have you no shame in perving in broad daylight?”

I was mortified. I got this feeling that everybody - in the salon, Bon Apetite, the shopping malls across the roads, in their cars, taxi and on boda had seen what had gone down and that they were all baying out – “TB is a perv, TB is a perv all the way to Porn Cops office.” With that, I fled and into a dark side street.

While a survey said men spend almost a year staring at women, I think they might just have to revise it especially for the Ugandan men who work downtown or in the taxi park because, their leering  is on a different level. 

Picture: Reuters.
Caricature: Danny Barongo

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