Saturday, April 28, 2018

Pimping The Ride Or Malidadi - Just?

There is, an American rapper out there called Alvin Nathaniel Joiner. That’s his birth name. His rap name is Xzibit. I guess he had a stout reason to change his name because going on stage as Alvin Nathaniel Joiner, would certainly not fill concert halls nor give him the hardcore and dope rapper street cred.

MTV Pimp My Ride Host, Xzibit

Xzibit used to host a show on MTV called ‘Pimp My Ride’ which essentially, was about – err, pimping rides (duh!). For the benefit of those who are of advanced age, having your car or ride pimped is done byadorning them with accessories like chain steering wheels, fuzzy pom pom fringe, fuzzy dice, spinners, specialized suspension, superfluous neon lighting, mud flaps sporting silhouettes of nude women, or mirrored disco balls’.

By the way, if there was a Ugandan version of ‘Pimp My Ride’ on Bukedde TV, would they call it 'Okunyiriza Emotoka', or simply Malidadi?

Back in the 70s if I recall, Dads car was pimped and no, it didn’t have chain steering wheels, fuzzy pom pom fringe, fuzzy dice, spinners, specialized suspension, superfluous neon lighting, mud flaps sporting silhouettes of nude women, or mirrored disco balls. In that era, they pimped cars with a dog that kept on nodding its head and which, sat between the speakers on the rear board of the car or on the dashboard. Looking back, for the life of me, I can’t fathom why men in that epoch pimped their rides with a nodding dog.

Then the dog vanished and in the late 90s, the malidadi that everybody wanted were the fur dice that knocked about off the rear-view mirror or the thick fur rug that was more like a bathroom rug and which ran the entire length of the dashboard. So not cool! My friend Julian Mugisha, once turned up at New Vision in a car that had a rug. Obviously, I was so aghast. 

The Dashboard Rug Was Once The Malidadi To Have

Kisseka Market in downtown Kampala, is the Mecca for car spare parts including Malidadi Mechanic who can pimp your ride. My maiden sortie into the market to replace the wing mirror on the Honda ended up with Malidadi Mechanic ambling up and giving me some spiel on how he could make the Honda stand out with tinted windows.

I should have said no, but I told him to go ahead. With the scorching Kampala sunshine, the tint was effective. Not only did the car look malidadi it looked funky - like a ride straight out of a Snoop Dogg video and kept prying eyes out. All was good until it was time to drive home after a late night at work. But the tint was so heavy, I couldn’t see out of the windows – not even the lights of the cars coming down a side street which, necessitated my driving home with the windows down and in a heavy downpour. The next day, I called Mechanic and had it removed.

The next malidadi trend to hit were the lights under the car and on the exhaust pipe, that every time you hit the brakes, the pipe and undercarriage would light up like a Christmas tree. And before you ask, no the Honda didn’t light up like a Christmas tree whenever I hit the brakes.

Malidadi Lights In The Wheels, Grill, Exaughst Pipe and Under Carriage 

Other malidadi fixtures that chaps added included, a compact disc dangling from the rear-view mirror, a tennis ball on the ariel, bling spinning rims and not forgetting the tiger seat covers which was a must for every Bleached Kikuubo Woman Trader to have for her short chassis Pajero.

Tiger Seat Covers Were A Must Have For Kikuubo Woman Trader

The bling that’s in demand today, are the flashing blue and red lights fitted to the front grill which for some morbid reason, so delights the living daylights out of the mpenkoni driving men from Mbarara, Rushere, Bushenyi, Kabale and beyond - including the Congolese and Sudanese. Hmm! 

Flashing Grill Lights Delight The Daylights Out Of Men From Mbarara, Rushere, Bushenyi and Kabale  

Pictures: MTV, Internet

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Would A Spin Doctor Have Saved Minister Kibuule?

The Spin Doctor. A Spin Doctor or Public Relations Officer is, “a person who tries to forestall negative publicity by publicising a favourable interpretation of the words or actions of a company, political party or a famous person.” That’s what Google says. What Google doesn’t add in the description, is that Spin Doctor’s greatest asset is the ability to lie – regardless that the truth is known to all.
Mohammed Saeed al-Sahar: Even When The End Was Nigh, He Never Gave Up Spinning

Do you remember Mohammed Saeed al-Sahar, otherwise known as Comical Ali, the Iraqi Information Minister during the 2003 Gulf War? Whilst the coalition forces were shown on Sky TV, CNN, BBC News and Al Jazeera knocking on the gates into Baghdad, a defiant al-Sahar was spinning the news at a press conferences proclaiming: “They're not even within 100 miles of Baghdad. They are not in any place. They hold no place in Iraq.” He blatantly lied, and he lied right up until the end of the war.
Don Wanyama, The Spin Master At State House

Don Wanyama is a Spin Doctor at State House, just as Simon Kaheru is at Coca Cola and Sandor Walusimbi at Umeme and I guess, they tell ‘all the lies’ possible to protect the people they spin for.
Simon Kaheru, Coca Cola Media Guru

Ronald Kibuule is a minister – Water State Minster to be precise. Apart from his ministerial obligations, Kibuule is also gaff prone. Let’s just recap on some of his gaffs. In 2016, he beat up Security Guard attached to Stanbic bank in Mukono. Last May, he flew in a police chopper to go and visit and wait for it, wait for it – Father-In-Law in Ntungamo while last October, he sneaked his pistol into the chambers of parliament – something that is strictly forbidden. And a few weeks ago, he took himself to Gomba – Kyabadaza, to commission a sh13.5b water and sanitation supply system, except when he turned on the taps, not a drop of water flowed out of them except a ‘steady progress’ of hot air so jibed Media Analyst. 

If Kibuule had a Spin Doctor, that person would have been on site before he (Kibuule) arrived and checked over and over again to make sure that water actually does flow out of the taps. Spin Doctor also wouldn’t have allowed him to take to Twitter to defend himself when New Vision broke the story. But with every tweet that Kibuule posted in his defence, the cesspool he excavated for himself got bigger and bigger that by the time he grasped the crux of his self-inflicted damage, Hardcore Twitter Hawks had ridiculed him, the cesspit had sprung a leak that he was floating for survival in the gunk of Nakivubo Channel.

Minister Ronald Kibuule: If Only The Taps Had The Water He's Swimming In

Back in the days of yore when breathalysers were introduced, Police called us in the media along with then State Minister of Transportation whose name I can’t recall, to show us how it works.

Done with showing us its working dynamics, State Minister was called to do the inauguration by blowing into it – something he enthusiastically flew at. What State Minster had disregarded and so had Spin Doctor assuming that he had one, was that the previous night he (State Minister) had had a late night – at a cocktail and had quaffed more than a good number of beers and Johnny Walkers.

Is there any need to tell you what happened next? He was well over the limit that to save State Minister, embarrassed Policeman declared the machine ‘faulty’. Spin Doctor should have been on hand to counsel State Minister not to blow - knowing that his boss would still be over the limit after the previous night’s binge.

Kibuule, Politicians or CEO who are faux pas prone, might just want to contact Cynthia Mpanga, head of Public Relations Association of Uganda who I am sure would be only too happy to endorse a good Spin Doctor or PR Manager for them. 

Cynthia Mpanga, Head Honcho At PRAU


Pictures: Matooke Republic, Observer   

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Is Time Management The Scourge Of Uganda

There is something about us that I don’t grasp – particularly when it derives to time keeping. It’s heartening that there are people out there who are resolute enough to take time seriously because they wear watches. But hold up. Many watch wearers, wear watches that stopped working years ago and when you ask why they wear a watch that doesn’t work, with a straight face they say “for just.”

Time Management Is Not A Uganda Thing
Years ago, when Air Uganda was still in the skies, we were off to Nairobi on a media trip. We all knew our departure time was 14:30hrs and passports would be required. Well, we all did except for Hapless UBC Damsel. At 13:30hrs while the rest of us were checking in, there was no sign of Hapless UBC Damsel which, prompted Air Uganda Official to call and find out where she was.

Hapless UBC Damsel was not on the outskirts of Entebbe, or just about to be dropped off. Rather, she was still in Kampala around Clock Tower. Luckily, the flight was delayed that she managed to make it to the airport before ‘wheels up’. Pause because there need to tell you what happened next.

For the two-day trip, she had packed an overweight suitcase and a rucksack which, were the least of her worries because she turned up without a passport. As she put it, “I assumed Air Uganda was going to do it for me.” Hmm!

Even Though People Were Given Time Keeping Tips, They Would Still Turn Up Late 

Slithering on, while in Johannesburg to cover the reality television show - Big Brother, Nigerian Girl was in her own time keeping element. As Kalungi Kabuye of New Vision will affirm, Sandie, the petite Indian girl who took charge of us whenever we were in South Africa covering DStv functions, is very systematic with her briefs - especially when it comes to time management.

However, in the five days we were in Jo’burg, Nigerian Girl was late for just about everything. Late for breakfast, late for lunch, last to return to the bus from shopping trips, late for excursions. The thing about her that irked, is that she felt she was doing nothing wrong for she quipped: “I don’t know why the Indian girl is stewing. Its normal for people to be late.”

This Easter just gone, all was not well at Skyz hotel, up on Naguru hill. Family Man decided to treat his family to Easter Sunday lunch and he did the noble thing of calling ahead and booking tables to accommodate them. All should have gone well had they turned up on the time they had designated they would turn up.

Nevertheless, they turned up an hour-and-a-half late and being a busy Easter Sunday, the hotel obviously couldn’t hold the reservation and gave the tables away. Family Man flipped, went into a rage and unleashed a tirade of abuse at Expat Food And Beverage Manager – everything from f**K you expletives, rants of racism, to threatening to have him fired and deported. The day was saved when a cool-headed Patrick Bitature stepped in and diffused the situation. 

Meanwhile across town at Speke Resort Munyonyo, brunch was served from 11:30am – 4:00pm. Middle Aged Man in his wisdom turned up at 5:45pm to find brunch done and dusted. Unlike Family Man at Skyz hotel, Middle Aged Man didn’t flip and make a nuisance of himself but resorted to posting his frustrations on social media – along the lines of: “I drive to Munyonyo only to be told brunch is done. Do they know I had to drive my family half way across town to get there to be told its over? They should get serious!”  

Had he been sombre about his time keeping, he and his family would have relished a nice brunch and washed down with champagne - at least I did because I was on time!

Pictures: Internet

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Its 'Perfectly Acceptable' To Dump Your Rubbish On Kampala's Streets

Greg is a friend I have known since 2007, when he came to Uganda from South Africa to take up the position of General Manager at Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort. As an expatriate, Greg perceptibly glided in with expatriate philosophies and top on his list, was that of cleanliness. Greg doesn’t like litter and abhors folk who litter. 

Greg Petzer In Forefront
When he strolled the grounds of the resort and came across litter – be it a crumpled-up bit of paper, sweet wrappers or cigarette butts, he would stop, pick them up and duly deposit them in the nearest dustbin.

Let’s pause a tad while I usher in Akhilesh, who I have known much longer than Greg and who is the amiable Deputy General Manager at Speke Resort Munyonyo. During the build-up to CHOGM in 2007, Akhilesh and I would retreat to the balconies of the apartments above the Viking Bar to rest our legs and have a breather.

From our vantage point that gave an almost panoramic view of the resort, we would look down and spy Greg doing his rounds which of course, included him picking up whatever litter he came across. As he walked past Viking bar, from our balcony, we would litter – drop crumpled paper and sure enough, Greg would stop, pick it up and put it in the bin. If there was no bin, it would go into his pocket to be off-loaded at a later stage.

On his way back from his rounds, yet again he would find more crumpled paper and without disinclination, would stop, pick it up and get rid of it. It took him weeks to realise that Akhilesh and I were playing games with him and I don’t think he found it amusing.

Akhilesh Malik
Uganda needs people like Greg. The way Ugandans see Uganda, is that of one huge dustbin where rubbish can be discarded anywhere and with not a care in the world. There is an old lady – employed by KCCA, who at 6:00am, is on the streets of Industrial Area between Mantrac and Gapco toiling away to rid the area of rubbish. It’s a backbreaking job she does daily in between inhaling dust and exhaust fumes from the line of tankers waiting to offload fuel and while she toils, most passing motorists never notice her.

That stretch of road becomes a litters nirvana especially in the early hours of the morning for those dropping off kids at school. It’s a mutedly lit street that affords the perfect cover for getting rid of rubbish without attracting attention.

It’s one thing tossing out the odd bit of chewing gum paper or cigarette butt from your car, but honestly, there are people who go beyond ‘reasonable littering’ – if at all reasonable littering is acceptable. Some go as far as hurling plastic bags of rubbish. Others empty out rubbish from a plastic bag but bizarrely enough, go to great lengths to retain the plastic bag – I presume for use the following day.

Meanwhile, area at the junctions of Nile Avenue and Coville Street, look like a bomb site most mornings because of a makeshift bar that props up during the night to cater for Prostitute, Client and Boda Man operating in the area. The makeshift bar comes with a bench and is stocked with cut price drinks.

The Morning After At The Junction of Coville Street and Nile Avenue
Okay, so KCCA have a huge green plastic bin positioned less than 50-yards from the ‘bar’ but, the use of the bin is not known to the patrons of the bar – probably because they know KCCA Road Sweeper will show up every morning to do the needful – that of sweeping up the empty plastic waragi bottles, Bond 7 tot packs and condom wrappers that they shamelessly left behind without thought for the rest of us who don’t litter, to wade through. 

I expect some people would have taken the title to this ramble - Its 'Perfectly Acceptable' To Dump Your Rubbish On Kampala's Streets literally. So for the record, it is NOT!  

Pictures:  Akhilesh Malik      



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