Saturday, December 3, 2016

Museveni Left Us For 'Dead'

Kicking off with a shameless but, self gratifying plug, Barbra Kaija (Below), is editor-in-chief of this great Sunday product – Sunday Vision. Jemima Na-gundi, who vivaciously defines herself as a ‘tiny frame full of endorsements’ and I concur with her on that, is one of my Twitter tights. Between them, they are responsible for this ramble because, for the best part of the week, writers block had set in until a WhatsApp txt from Barbra and a tweet from Jemima, jogged my memory.



In the run-up to Christmas, we are all looking for money. Some will get it legitimately. Others such as Goon, and due to embeera, will rob and kill - if need be. What Goon does, is to lay in the middle of the road at night when he ought to be at home with his family while pretending he’s a ‘left-for-dead’ accident victim. When you stop to help, along with Best Goon Friend who has been skulking in the shrubbery, they pounce and relieve you of your valuables. If not, Goon feigns his car has broken down and once you stop, I need not tell you what happens next.

We had spent the best part of the day in Kalangala, Sesse Islands, eating fish - something I am not particularly fond of, but more importantly, we were there to interview Mark Shuttleworth (Below), a South African who has a $750 million net worth on his ATM card, and who hit the headlines when he became the first African space tourist - an 8-day privilege that only set him back $20 million.


On our return to Kampala, I too felt privileged because I had opted to drive to and from Kalangala rather than hitch a ride in the sardine cramped Coster media bus. While Jeff Mbanga worked for Weekly Observer, he was nevertheless a friend who I invited to ride along with myself and New Vision photographer, Ronald Kabuubi in my Pajero as the rest of the media pack looked on in envy.

While we left Kalangala late but, in time to catch the last ferry to the mainland, there was no need to worry. Pajero had been serviced only days before and I had no issues with driving at night even though parts of Masaka road were known Goon blackspots. Then Pajero decided to overheat that necessitated stopping at a small village and politely asking for some water. With radiator replenished, minutes later, we were on our way.


Once off the ferry and though Pajero kept on overheating, we made it to Total, Nyendo where Mechanic did his thing and declared it fit to make it to Kampala.

Except, we didn’t make it to Kampala but, to the middle of a Goon infested operational zone where there are no houses and no life. To get help, we sought to flag down passing motorists at 11:00pm - like anyone would be foolish enough to stop.

The first car that turned up slowed like it was set to stop, then picked up acceleration and dove off. The second crossed the lane to avoid us. The third would have stopped but didn’t, when they saw Jeff and Ronald emerge from the Pajero. The terrified occupants shouted: ‘abo babbi’ and sped off.

That got me thinking. I’d seen people standing by cars in Mabira forest and frantically trying to flag me down in the dead of the night and did I stop? Heck no. That’s a such a Goon stunt so, better safe than sorry I would smirk at the stranded motorist as I sped on to safety.

At 2:00am and resigned to the notion that Goon and Best Goon Friend could slither out of the dark, slit our throats and rob us, out of the dark comes a car with flashing lights. As it slows, its exactly what we wanted to see - a police Subaru. Help had finally arrived.

Except, police Subaru didn’t stop. The cops in it, peered out at us then carried on into the night and minutes later, a convoy of army Land Cruisers followed. And that’s when the shilling dropped – Museveni’s convoy was heading to Kampala. We clearly saw him (M7) in the back of the Cygnus because the overhead light was on but, he didn’t see us for he was busy reading. However, his driver and his then ADC, Wilson Mbadi, did see us as did the rest of the convoy.


Do you know what they did? They didn’t stop. They drove on. They left us at the mercy of Goon. They left us for dead and the headline in the papers the following day would have read: “Goon Slits Scribes Throats on Masaka Road”, with Bukedde chirping in with a one-liner ‘Bafu’ headline.

Was I vexed that they didn't stop? No. Were Jeff and Ronald vexed? No. We took it in our stride. Yes, we did utter a few no so kind words after the last Land Cruiser got swallowed up by the dark but we didn't vex. We took it in our stride as any other scribe would have done.    

We figured the reason Police Subaru Cops, M7, Mbadi and the rest of the convoy didn't stop, is because they too, had heard of Goon’s Masaka Road nocturnal activities and that when they saw us, Mbadi turned to M7 and shouted out: “Mzee, abo, babbi. Tuduke!” And with that, Driver didn't need a reason to floor the Cygnus all the way back to the safety of State House Nakasero.

Pictures: Sunday Vision, Internet

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