Saturday, July 28, 2018

Just How Much Of A Mulalu Are You?


The suburb of Luzira, if it had a claim to fame, it would be the prison, Uganda Breweries and Butabika National Hospital on the fringes and in socially acceptable speak, is a psychiatric hospital for them who have lost the plot.

Butabika National Hospital
We all have a degree of ‘madness’ in ourselves. I think my ‘madness’ is the normal run-of-the-mill madness while others think I should be on the fast track to Butabika. Then, there are people who have mental problems - real mental problems that the wires snap and they end up going nuts, cuckoos and much more. When that happens and it becomes too much for a family to handle, the only recourse is checking them into Butabika – something that many families go out of the way to keep hush hush.  

On the streets of Kampala, right from the crack of dawn and at the major intersections, there are people who do things that border on the bizarre – if not lunacy. Last year there was Dude who was fond of perching himself near Radio One, and all he did all day is scream. Nobody seemed to know why he was screaming except that when he did it, he was like a toddler throwing a tantrum in the supermarket when denied a bar of chocolate.

Does anybody remember the man they called City Link? City Link used to walk himself from somewhere in Nakawa in his rags of clothes to Wandegeya I think it was, then back to Nakawa throughout the day. He didn’t make use of the pavements but, walked down the middle of the Kampala Road which of course, irked many a motorist who hurled all kinds of abuse at him – the most common being mulalu. But part of me doesn’t think he was nuts, because when a Gagga or Horizon bus came hurtling towards him, he ‘woke up’ and stepped aside onto the pavement to let it pass.   

Meanwhile, there was Indian Kid who suffered a bout of temporary madness at a school just down road from Gadaffi Mosque. At an end of term party, all students were encouraged to turn up dressed at their heroes. Indian Kid duly dressed as Superman complete with red boots and cape. As he stood on the second-floor balcony, the kids below him shouted out: “Fly Superman fly”. With that, the temporary madness kicked in that he scaled the safety railing, punched his fist into the air like Superman does and ‘flew’ – except, he didn’t fly but fell to the ground like a sack of potatoes. The bout of temporary insanity he suffered, vanished the moment the pain to his broken legs started to seep in.

Jump Superman, Jump

Taboo USA is a National Geographic documentary and in one particular episode, it made for distressing viewing for Chap firmly believed he was born a dog trapped in a human body and trust me you had better brace yourselves for what you are going to read next.

Are You Mulalu Enough To Think You Are A Dog?

So, convinced he is a dog that at his home, he sleeps in a kennel. And there is more. During the day he dresses up as a dog and gets his friend to lead him round town on a dog leash. At the stores, he doesn’t buy himself sane people’s food like cornflakes, bread or pasta, but dog food - dog cookies and canned dog meat.

Still on Taboo USA, Next Chap thought he was a vampire. He believed it was in him, in his spirits. Speaking to camera, he said: “If I don’t get my fill of human blood, my body won’t cope”. So where did he get the human blood to drink so his body would cope? Easy. He simply advertised and there were volunteers who allowed him to sink his ‘fangs’ into their backs and drink their blood. Hmmm. 

Mr Vampire 


Pictures: kfm.co.ug, Zentai, Natgeotv.com





Saturday, July 21, 2018

Let The Goats Run, We'll Barbecue Them Later - The Royal Ascot Goat Races Are Back!

Kampala, has a very vibrant weekend social scene except, that it consists of the following - beer and pork. Beer and fish. Beer and watching your car get washed. And that’s really about it. And when it comes to annual events, we don’t fair that much either. There is Blankets and Wine, Jazz Safari, Nyege Nyege and probably not that much more. But wait, before all that, our annual outings were limited to Miss Uganda, Pam Awards, UBL Sundowner Cruise and The Goat Races.

Richard Bona Who Performed Recently At Jazz Safari At Speke Resort Munyonyo

When was still being run by Sylvia Owori. Miss Uganda then, rocked and it was a much sought-after event to be at. More importantly for some of the contestants who came from deep in the districts, life was never quite the same for them after the contest – especially for Zuena Kirema, Winnie Abotile and Salma Nassanga for example.

While she wasn’t crowned Miss Uganda, if Zuena hadn’t take part, she would have probably ended up as a housewife in Jinja. But at the regional finals in the same city, one of the musicians who performed at the event was none other than Bebe Cool who gave a below par performance because his eyes were firmly glued on Zuena. Once his performance was done, he made a beeline for her, scattered her with ‘ghetto talk’ and as the say, the rest is history.

Sylvia Owori Who Brought Glamour To Miss Uganda

Abotile who I first saw at the regional finals in Lira, went one step further and bagged herself a roofing multimillionaire – Sikander Lalani. Today, life is a far cry for her from her desolate Lira. Its all about a nice Mbuya crib, luxury cars and foreign travel. Meanwhile, Nassanga now lives an extravagant life in Florida, USA. Sadly, Miss Uganda which incidentally takes place next month, has lost the sparkle that it once had.

Roofings Supremo, Sikander  Lalani Bagged Himself Winnie Abotile, A Miss Uganda Contestant

Then PAM Awards hit town and just like Miss Uganda, it was an event to be at for it was our version of The Grammy Awards. But Pam Awards barely lasted five years and it died. And who remembers Uganda Breweries annual sunset cruise in December? It was a cruise that once dragged me out of bed when I was heavy riddled with malaria for it was not a cruise to miss at any cost. 

Isaac Mulindwa Who Was At The Helm Of PAM Awards

But surely The Royal Ascot Graces in Munyonyo was THE premier event to be at. Corporate hospitality and extravagant indulgence, wrist bands and an afternoon of utter madness. The Goat Races had died for a couple of years but at the start of the month, rumour went around that they were being revived. I can safely say it’s no longer a rumour. It’s for real come Saturday August 25th at Speke Resort Munyonyo.
Naiya Ruparelia, Sheena Ruparelia, Tusker's Grace Namutebi and Silk Events Elvis Sekyanzi At The Goat Race Launch At Speke Apartments Recently

Alas, I have been out of circulation for many years that I doubt my name still exists on the databases of the companies that have corporate tents. Nevertheless, I think it’s time to start lobbying Bob Kabonero and Jonathan Bakwega at Kampala Casino, Rajiv Ruparelia at Ruparelia Group for complimentary invites. But complimentary invite or not, I am dragging the family out to it for its one event that they too would miss.   
   
The Goats In Action

My Highlights Of The Events:

Miss Uganda – The contestant in Jinja who kept on walking and walking till there was no more catwalk left that she tumbled off the stage and into the photographers below.

The Goat Races – The HE goat that was on the verge of winning the race when it suddenly stopped, looked back and spied the SHE goat which messed him up. He gave up the race and decided mount her much to the horrified screams of its owner.

PAM Awards – The musician who was given a dummy cheque to sh2m and thought that he had to produce it to the bank to get paid.    

Uganda Breweries Boat Cruise The guests who thought it was fashionable to turn up late and got to the pier in Luzira only to find the ferry had set sail ages ago.   



Pictures: Red Pepper, Jazzsymphonic.com, Daily Monitor, theugandan.com, earthfinds.co.ug 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

MPs Got Bodyguards. Next, Flags For Their Rides?

According to Wikipedia, a bodyguard or close protection officer, is a type of security guard or government law enforcement officer or soldier who protects a person - usually high-ranking public officials, wealthy people and celebrities from danger as in assault, kidnapping, assassination or harassment threats. The group of personnel who protect a VIP are often referred to as the VIP’s security detail. Hmmm...

Russian State Bodyguards In Training

But I know better! The people at Wikipedia are obviously telling fibs since a bodyguard is really none of that. Rather, they are people who are employed because they are dispensable fodder to get goofed instead of their bosses, shot at and killed instead of their bosses and blown up to smithereens instead of their bosses.

Over the resent years, there have been a number of high profile assassinations in Uganda – most notably that of former police spokesman, Andrew Kaweesi and Arua Municipality MP, Ibrahim Abiriga. What Kaweesi and Abiriga had in common, is that they both had bodyguards when they were ruthlessly killed by assailants who are still at large.
Forensic Officers At The Scene Of Kaweesi's Assassination 

With that, the powers that be along with The Man With The Hat moved in swiftly to declare that all Members of Parliament should be afforded personal protection – army sharp shooters - which is gloating news for MPS but not necessarily so, for those who are going to protect them (MPs).

Army Sharp Shooters

You see, the average Ugandan MP is so taken in with the ‘honourable’ tag they attain when they become MPs. Some of them are that daft, that they even refer to themselves as “I am the honourable MP….” when addressing the hapless locals in the districts. But that’s not the only daft thing MPs do. Years after being kicked out of parliament, many still continue to refer to themselves as honourable – like it’s a title for life.

The End For Abiriga

MPs are going revel in having bodyguards because to them, it’s a status symbol, a sign that they have finally arrived from some far-flung hovel of a district to bag themselves space on the green leather benches in Parliament.  And guess what, the next thing MPs are going to ask for – tell a lie, demand for, are those little flags so they can have them fluttering on their 4x4s when they go to their far-flung districts to commission a borehole.      
Flags Next For MPs?

Writing in The Observer recently, Josephine Namuloki interviewed one police bodyguard who had this to say: “At their homes, they (MPs) don’t care whether you have eaten or not. Some of them can’t even buy water for a person who is guarding them; how do you continue with such work?”

At this stage of the column I reckon I am in the bad books of every MP so let’s turn it up notch or two and go out guns blazing. So, this is what I think. Obviously, MPs are not going to feed their bodyguards because it’s something they beneath them. But beyond that, could it be that the bodyguards are not keen on getting a goofing instead of their bosses and more importantly, do not warm up to the idea of being shot at and killed alongside the MP they have been contracted to guard?

There could be some truth to this chain of thought for a couple of weeks ago, Obongi MP, Hassan Fungaroo said: “The police say instead of escorting MPs, they are better off staying at home because escorting an MP is a very risky business.”

And in parliament there are some MPs who are deemed to be ‘trouble makers’ and who are risky business like Fungaroo said that if I was the bodyguard assigned to protect say Mukono Municipality MP, Betty Nambooze or Aruu County MP, Odonga Otto, I would rather take my chances at being assigned to fight Al Shabab in Somalia or Boko Haram in Nigeria. 
Al Shabab Fighters






Saturday, July 7, 2018

Tales From The Late WBS Television

The Logo That Was Once A Household Name

I’d would have never gone into television had I not interviewed Elvis Sekyanzi, who then, was Executive Director at WBS Television. He roped me in when all I knew about television was to err, pick up the remote and flick through the channels. I found television fascinating – especially when we went live because often, circumstances occurred that were beyond our realm.

Elvis Sekyanzi - Former Executive Director at WBS

Gabriel, started his career at WBS as a presenter on Showtime Magazine before going into production. While in production, he harboured ambitions of being a sports caster, something that was embraced by Elvis. So, for the next three months or so, Gabriel dedicated himself to sitting in the studio when we were off air and practised for hours on end. Now and again, we would sit in with him, advise and steer him to becoming almost as prolific as Rmathan, who was the stations top sports caster and who had nailed the art of sports casting down to a tee.

When D-Day broke and in the final minutes before he went on air, there was nothing to suggest that events would go ‘south’. Gabriel was in an upbeat mode. He had sprung a ‘back-to-school’ haircut and he looked razor sharp in a tweed blazer.

When the signature tune started to roll, a blob of sweat almost as big as Lake Victoria slithered down his forehead - closely followed by another blob of sweat that was almost as big as Lake Victoria’s twin sister.

By the time the signature tune was done and he was live on air, Gabriel was no longer the Gabriel in the razor-sharp tweed jacket. Rather, he was a scattered wreck who looked like he’d lost the fight against the hoodlums in downtown Kisekka Market for the kaveera of nsenene.

Not only could Gabriel not remember his name, he also got his script in a jumble that whatever he said, it just didn’t make sense. Two minutes into the cast, we switched to adverts and dragged the gasping-for-air hapless lad out. He quit television shortly afterwards.

One Christmas day, we did a live broadcast from All Saints Church that was led over by the late Archbishop Mpalanyi Nkoyooyo at which, off camera commentary was required. Foolishly, Chief Technician Daniel, thought I was the best person to do the commentary.

Late Archbishop, Mpalanyi Nkoyooyoo

An hour into the commentary, I spy a frantic Production Assistant Francis waving his hands at me. When he eventually got through the congregation to the commentary box he had this to say: “TB, you fool, you’re pronouncing his name wrong. It’s not nkoko yo but Nkoyooyo!” I quit television commentary shortly afterwards.

Back in 1999 I think it was, Sudhir Ruparelia threw the mother of all parties to open up his Rock Bar at Speke Hotel that cars were lined either side of Nile Avenue right from Rwenzori Courts down to Garden City roundabout.

In those days, Sudhir, rarely gave interviews so it was a real coup for us – Tilly, Chris and myself (Showtime Magazine) to corner him for a one-on-one. I’d never quite seem him (Sudhir) like that – all jovial, upbeat and willing to open up. For almost 30minutes, he gave us the most amazing and eye-opening interview about himself and how he intends to revolutionise the entertainment industry in Uganda and how he’s building a resort called Speke Resort in some very far flung place called Munyonyo that nobody had really heard of.

Sudhir Ruparelia

After the scoop of an interview, I reclined back in the bar knocking back free cocktails when an almost terrified and nervous Chris comes up and whispers: “Please don’t shout at me, but during the Sudhir interview, I forgot to press the record button!” He vanished from work for two weeks.     


Pictures: Howwie.Biz, Celebbyte.com, Chimpreports.com      

In Greed We Trust - Until We Get Caught or We Lose Money

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