Saturday, January 27, 2018

Worst Toilet Habits Awards - Gold For Karamoja, Silver For Bushenyi?

As a nation, we have toilet issues. There are many people out there who have no toilet etiquette and suffice to say, many of them are not the down trodden who live in villages or slums as you might think, but the educated well heeled.

Patrick M, is a tight who some years ago, threw a simple barbecue at his crib in Munyonyo. The numbers on the guest list were pretty conservative – 15 of us, all educated, good family backgrounds, well-travelled and with more than above par manners.

Having ‘above par manners’ is something that didn’t go down well with Patrick when he came back from the washroom. He berated us because somebody had peed on the toilet floor. “Who does that?” he bemoaned. “Look at all of you. One of you peed on my floor and I’m not amused!”

It so wasn’t me because I had yet to go to the toilet but when I did, rather than incur his wrath if I didn’t get my pee aim right, I took myself out into his garden, found some shrubbery and started doing my thing. Half way through my pee, I heard a grunt in the dark followed by - “ani afuka wano?” To my horror, it was our host Patrick.

Getting back, over the past eight weeks, there have been stories in the papers that make for ‘disturbing reading’. One read: ‘Toilet Paper Unhygienic, Say Doctors.’ The next read: ‘CAO Tasks LC Leaders On Toilet Policy’. Next: ‘Residents Shun Latrines’ and the last: The National Household survey Indicates 803% of Ugandans Defecate In The Bushes and Karamoja Sub-Region Leads In This Vice.” 

Hmm, let’s take it toilet-by-toilet don’t you think?        

Toilet Paper Unhygienic Say Doctors

The story reads: “Using dry toilet paper for anal cleaning leaves faeces behind, which exposes one to urinary tract infections (UTIs).”

The discovery comes after a new revelation by American doctors that dry toilet paper, “…moves faeces, but it doesn’t remove it”, which makes women develop UTIs as the bacteria moves to the urethra. “If they’re using dry paper, they aren’t washing all of themselves. It’s just unclean,” one of the doctors said. 

Dr Ekwaro Obuku, of Uganda Medical Doctors Association, chipped in: “Toilet paper removes the faeces while the water cleans everything thoroughly. However, in our setting where most people don’t wash their hands after visiting the toilet, the most important thing is to encourage them to do so.”

Residents Shun Pit Latrines

In Orom which I am told is a sub-county of Kitgum district, their issue with toilets has nothing to do with whether to use toilet paper or not. Rather, they just don’t see the need to go and poop in a toilet or pit latrine. Many of them especially the elderly think “it’s unbecoming to waste time constructing a house for human waste yet defecating in the open seems to be easier.” Eh?!?

CAO Tasks LC Leaders on Toilet Policy

Meanwhile Bushenyi have formed a united ground with their brothers and sisters in Orom, a stance that has so irked Bushenyi CAO, Elias Byamungu. You see, people from Bushenyi don’t have toilets, are seemingly too lazy to dig pit latrines and are not in the least bothered about pooping in the open.         

‘National Household Survey - 83% of Ugandans Defecate In The Bush and Karamoja Sub-Region Leads In This Vice

Meanwhile in Karamoja, they finally have something to shout about! Of the 83% of people in Uganda who don’t have toilets, the Karamajong top the list. Is that something they should be proud of?


I know of somebody who always has a mobile toilet following him wherever he goes. If only we could be like him, Uganda might just be a cleaner place to live in? 

Pictures: New Vision 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Farewell Thee Ba-Summers

Since the year started, a soothing calm has prevailed over this dusty city of ours as it tries to regain its sanity, clarity and direction after the Christmas recess. Many of us had beat a hasty exodus with Teen Daughters to the depths of the districts - fearful of the arrival of the Ba-Summer - especially the boys who were bound to unleash carnage for the month that they were on holiday including, scattering Teen Daughters with their diaspora swag.

The week preceding Christmas, Entebbe airport was a mess as Emirates and Qatar airlines ferried in plane loads of Ba-Summer. Each arrived with an accent – an accent they probably spent months trying to perfect into an east coast or west coast US accent or a British one at that. Having an accent was crucial, but the most important accessory every Ba-Summer had to have, was the British or American passport.

The Arrival of Ba-Summer
They needed to have one so they could floss on Fake Ba-Summer – as in those who live in the diaspora but still need a visa unlike them, the Real Ba-Summer who just waltz in. They need the British and American passport to assure immigration and customs at Entebbe airport that they are ‘foreigners’ and therefore need to be treated with respect and failure to get that respect, they will rant and call the British High Commission or American Embassy – if not, to go onto Twitter and Facebook and vent their wrath with the rest of the world telling them how barbaric and heavy-handed officials at Entebbe Airport are.

A  Must Have? The British Passport
During their stay, the Ba-Summer looked so different from the rest of us. The Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas, Nike and Rebook T-shirts they wore, all had authentic logos with perfect stitching, unlike the ones sold in Uganda and imported from some backwater sweat shop in Taiwan where, fake logos are sewn on askew and Tommy Hilfiger is spelt as ‘Tommy Hilfigger’, Adidas as ‘Addiddas’, Nike as ‘Nikke’ and Rebook as ‘Rebbook’.

Authentic Tommy Hilfiger Wear
In the diaspora, the Ba-Summer are reliant on Visa and not cash. In Uganda we also use Visa but the Ba-Summer are a step ahead of us. While Visa services are now available in most big stores, bars and restaurants, the Ba-Summer are not used to inserting their cards into the machine. They are used to ‘contactless’ – a simple tap of the Visa card on the machine to complete the transaction.

One thing that shocked many of them is that Uganda has Uber. “What you have Uber in Uganda?!?” so I heard one of them exclaim to what looked like her rather bemused Living In Uganda Cousin. And she went on – “Is it like the one in England?” At this point I should have interceded and given her a couple of slaps and told her to stop faking it, because it was so obvious she was one of them Ba-Summer who had been living in England for less that three months. I found this out because when Living In Uganda Cousin went to the washroom, the Ka-Summer gave up on forcing her awful South London accent and came back to down to earth and was now using proper Ug lingo like – “I sloped down to the ka-shop” and “Eh, that ka boy is fake, oba a muyaye - just” to whomever she was talking to on the phone.

Having Ba-Summer in town was economically enriching for us. They gave us their American dollars and British pounds to change into Uganda shillings and we made sure we paid ourselves - without first asking them, a 30k – 50k commission per transaction. When they asked how much it is to fill up the Premio with a full tank of petrol, we told them 450k yet it’s only 190k. And when they discovered roadside Rolex, we told them they cost 8k yet, they cost a mere sh1,500.         

For Every £50 They Gave Us to Change For Them, We Gave Ourselves A £10 Commission
But now, they  have departed back to the wintery cold of the US and UK - empty handed of course because while they were here, their authentic Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas, Nike, Rebook went missing as did their socks, make up kits, authentic iPhone chargers. But the funny thing, the day after they left, we somehow manged to 'find' them. Hmm!    
That Last Hug
 Photos: New Vision, Agencies, Facebook


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Are Robert Kisubi & Henry Rugamba Really That Eloquent?

There is something about a certain Robert Kisubi, who used to work for Umeme until he quit to set up a PR consultancy firm. In the time that I have known him, he’s above board, well respected in the community and better sill, a very stirring orator.

Robert Kisubi
That perhaps explains why Julie and Michael indicated him as the master of ceremonies at their wedding reception a few weeks ago. Robert rose to the chore with little exertion, though there was need to counsel some of the guests that they had to be ‘sharp and on-the-ball’ to appreciate some of his jokes, sublime sarcasm and wry sense of humour.

Whilst he’s a Musoga though not from the royal family, Robert held court much better than any of the previous Kyabazinga’s have done while holding court at the palace in Bugembe. He didn’t swagger because that’s not his style. If I had said otherwise, he would most probably have sought me out and lynched me. Rather, he ‘crooned’ in suave - spewing out his quips in bravura that had the guests lapping up every word he had to say. That wedding reception without Robert, would still have been a wedding reception without Robert, but with him as MC, it was like going to a wedding reception at the comedy club – full of roaring laughter, dabbing tears away and anticipation.

Robert and Mrs Kisubi At The Wedding After His MC Duties
Coincidentally, Robert just happens to be my cousin, Julie the bride, my sister and Michael the groom, is somebody I have known since the mid -70s. I can almost hear many of you screaming out that this is abuse of Sunday Vision column space to promote my family interests, but what the heck, just deal with it!

Interestingly enough, Robert’s partner at the PR consultancy firm is Henry Rugamba. Like Robert, Henry too, is an eloquent speaker, savvy and superbly sharp on the wit. I have been to a couple of weddings where he is MC, and he’s never slid off the rails. He flows, he charms, he stuns and he goes out of his way to deliver way above expectation.
Henry Rugamba
The last wedding that I went to before Michael’s and Julie’s, was a disaster. I don’t know who suggested Galabuzi (names of course have been changed) as MC, but he was a calamity right from the start. As soon as he picked up the microphone, he consumed the first five minutes telling us about his attainments in school, university and at work.

There’s more. Barely had the wedding party settled into their seats at the high table, he called his girlfriend to come stand by him and then rambled on for ten minutes about her attributes and what she does for him. Jeez, who does that?!

Barely fifteen minutes into the reception, many of the guests were fed up with him though, I was aghast when I found out at the last wedding meeting that he was going to be MC. So, Bold Guest sitting on the fringes of the hall shouts and heckles something along the lines of: “Listen man, we didn’t come here to get bored with your very unfunny jokes and to listen to your CV. Just stick to the programme!”

For all of his accomplishments that Galabuzi bored us with during his spiel, one thing that he failed to grasp, was the concept of ‘quitting while you’re ahead’ for it all came to a head when Bride and Groom returned to the hall after changing.

A Wedding Party
Says Galabuzi: “Look at the stunning bride, does she not look lovely in her outfit?” Then added: “My girlfriend has also changed into an outfit she bought while in South Africa,” then invited her to come and stand by him so we could see and admire her.

I should have cringed as Brides Brother surfaced out of nowhere, slapped him twice on the ear, tore into him in Luganda, wrenched the microphone off him and violently shoved him away, but I didn’t because the slap to his ear was so justified. Adangamu!                    

Pictures: Agencies

Friday, January 5, 2018

When Kale Kaihura's Police Get It Wrong

I have no issues with authority – authority being Uganda Police Force. I think many of them do a grand job and take the mandate of ‘protect and serve’ seriously. And they do so on a meagre pay coupled miserable working and housing conditions. On the other hand, some of them have fallen into the corruption trap while others use their uniform and Ak-47 to intimidate if not, to spread fear.
Entebbe International Airport
I was at Entebbe airport just after Christmas picking up my cousins – Mark and Sara and my nephew Edwin. As we loaded the luggage into the ride, two cops wearing black uniform were nonchalantly leaning on the ride in front of mine and watching us. Luggage loaded and as we take our seats, one of them shouts out: “Driver come here.” Mbu ‘driver come here?’ My retort was swift and to the point. “If you want to see me, you had better come to me.”

Police In Black Are Responsible For Security At Entebbe Airport
Obviously, he was not amused but lazily clambered over.

Cop: “Is this how you park a car?”

TB: “What the heck are you on about?”

Cop: “You can’t park half way into the next parking slot.”

Ah now that I got his gist, it was easy to explain why I parked as I did. So I told him.

“You see Cop, I parked according to the way the person before me parked. If the first person into the car park does not park properly into a bay, it means everybody else after him will park out of sync.” 

No matter how many times I tried to explain that rationale, he wasn’t having any of it. Exasperated, he lays down his trump card of - “let’s go to the station!”

With that, he walked round to the front passenger seat and found it occupied. Peering in the back, he finds all seats taken. But with an incredible sense of deluded authority, he asks: “So where am I going to sit?” Had Cousins and Nephew not been around, my first response would have been: “WTF!”

2nd Response: "Cop, are you on crack?”

3rd Response: “Please tell me you not looking to be stung by a hot left?!?”

Slicing a long story short, he had the nerve to assure me not to repeat the offence. Hmm - 'offence?!'

That same day but in the deep dead of the night, I drop off Friend. As we sit in the ride jazzing off the main road and outside the gate to crib, a bike roars up. The guy on the pillion is wearing the blue police windbreaker while the guy riding it and who did the talking is wearing blue jeans, a fleece and under it, a football shirt – Manchester United.     

Could He Be A Police Officer Disguised As A Prisoner? 
Wanting to know what where are doing, there was of course, the need to find out who they are. “Am a police officer” came the curt and intimidating response. Cool. So, we hit back – “before we go any further, may we see your warrant card?” Now this was the killer. He flashes the light of his torch at the police number plate on his bike. Hmm, because he’s riding a bike with police number plates, that’s identification enough? Worse, the other cop who was in uniform, couldn’t produce his warrant card either.

But he had a Plan B and a bad Plan B at that. He goes: “You call Buziga police post, Kabalagala police station or CPS and they will verify the bike.” Now check this one! It’s not the bike that needed verifying but the police themselves!     

With that, we told him: “Listen up, we have no inclination of calling round police station so if you can’t produce ID cards, you best hop on yer bike and be off.” With no retort forth coming, they did just that and skunked off into the dark.  So, what next? Err, over to IGP Kale Kaihura I guess…? 

Police Boss - Kale Kaihura

Pictures: New Vision, Daily Monitor, The Insider, Uganda Radio Network               


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