Farewell, Spain, we are now very much both World Cup-less even though #SpainIsNotUganda


Dear Spain,

No hard feelings, right? If there are any, then tough. We are not the ones who scored those goals or failed to stop them going into the nets.

But at least you guys have photos with the World Cup in your cabinet, so kudos (clap, clap).

And since there must be space in your album, here are a few more photos to throw into the mix – kind of like making a Spanish Omelette…speaking of which:

Spanish Omelette

But if you’re not that hungry, then perhaps you can eat Ugandan (I sense a sneer on the face of the Spanish Prime Minister, but he would be pleasantly surprised after the first bite into this):

Spanish Rolex

He’d look a lot less grumpy after one of these, I’m sure; and hopefully he’ll share it with Vicente, del Bosque, who as he reads this blog must be thinking:

del Bosque & Rajoy

 

He probably didn’t get audience with the Prime Minister earlier otherwise like many other Spaniards:

Just Apologise

 

Anyway, last night we watched the game on channels such as UBC.

African_Children

 

It wasn’t an easy game at all for our ‘brothers’ and we felt genuinely sorry even though we ribbed them to no end…all unnecessary if Rajoy had only apologised as frequently advised from all corners.

Mama Fiina

We talked about a lot while watching the game, but kept a certain focus running.

Spanner

 

And also made it clear where we stood:

Spain Supporter...Not

 

So the inevitable happened, for reasons that had nothing to do with #SpainIsNotUganda – it was all practical:

Casillas

Before long:

Waiting for Casillas

 

Taxi

The options began to open up:

Visa Application

Either way, there was just one option left (besides the apology for saying #SpainIsNotUganda):

KEEP CALM

Ka-Jambo

 

 

just as the solar eclipse has done; focus on Uganda


If you are not excited about this then you’re generally disinterested in science, your understanding of mathematics is rudimentary and your economics is poor – as poor as your country would be if you were in charge of things.

 This eclipse is exciting because it is going to make us RICH! And FILTHY RICH at that, in just a matter of days!

The clever ones amongst us have already reaped the benefits since we first started talking about this back when Father Simon Lokodo was addressing himself to Uganda’s skirt lengths. This rare natural phenomenon presented Uganda with an opportunity, and today, this weekend and this week, we collect! 

Some people, for instance, are paying UK£2,300 for a seven-day trip to Uganda. That’s just over Ushs9million (NINE MILLION SHILLINGS) for seven days; Ushs1.3million each day. This money is paid to tour operators who naturally make a profit off it – let’s assume it’s a profit of Ushs500,000 per person per day so that more of you are encouraged to go into this line of business and start selling Uganda better. 

The tour operator spends the rest on flights, accommodation, transport and food for the visitors.

That is money into the pockets of people who grow the raw food, the ones who buy and sell it forward, and the ones who eventually cook it; also earnings for food transporters; and dealers in the energy used to cook (from firewood to Umeme)…the list is long but the money is also a lot. 

Especially if you believe that there will be at least 30,000 people coming in through the borders for this weekend. 

And it doesn’t stop with those monies either – they also carry extra money to pay for things like booze, souvenirs, snacks, more booze, like that, like that. If these 30,000 people are each going to spend Ushs1.3million a day, deduct Ushs500,000 as the tour operator’s profit and that leaves Ushs800,000 per visitor/tourist – which equals a total of Ushs24billion (TWENTY FOUR BILLION SHILLINGS)! That, in case you aren’t paying attention, is Ushs24billion EVERY DAY! 

Catch your breath. 

That’s almost enough to build another parking lot for MPs, if you already have Ushs12billion. Sorry. That was an unnecessary suggestion, since we finished with the parking lot.

But there is more money coming in by way of this eclipse; YOUR money. I am already in Masindi as you read this, transferring money that I would otherwise have spent in Kampala and spending it here instead. On top of those 30,000 tourists we anticipated last week, we could easily top up with another 30,000 Ugandans from other parts of the country, all driving up to Masindi, Pakwach and Nebbi to catch the eclipse. 

I don’t know how much we will be spending right now, but this is the time for all those people who live and operate along the road from Entebbe Airport all the way to Pakwach to activate themselves. I know the aptly-named Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Industry might have already sent out these advisories so I am just re-enforcing the message with: 

a) It’s not too late: Print t-shirts with the words ‘I love Uganda’ t-shirts or ‘I Watched The Eclipse In Uganda’ or even, for those who don’t heed the warnings, ‘I Was Struck Blind Watching The Eclipse in Uganda’ and sell them everywhere up to the airport

b) Build Sunglass Huts especially close to Masindi, and stock them with proper UV sunglasses instead of those knock-offs sold in Kampala traffic that will one day make eye-omelettes on our faces if the Bureau of Standards doesn’t wake up

c) All the people who live in those places just off the road from Maganjo to the top of Pakwach, dig up your raw food that’s ready to sell and sell it, dammit! Don’t let any potato, tomato or mango stay behind – you won’t regret this!

d) set up kiosks selling soft drinks at various points along the road, all the way

e) Caterers, please introduce some travel snacks on the Masindi-Gulu road to replace those roast sweet potatoes and cassava, and those suspect bits of meat we’ve seen since the ‘80s. In fact, all Rolex stands should relocate to that road and line up neatly a polite distance from the road.

Speaking of politeness, all of us must be at our most polite this week because these tourists might enjoy their stay here so much that they choose to come back every year on anniversary visits; plus, when they go back they will tell everyone they meet what Churchill said: ‘Focus on Uganda’. 

Even Ugandans: Focus on Uganda.

thinking like africans in africa generally


Image

 

BESIDES the opposition in South Africa who might only be seeking to make political gains out of the gaffe by President Jacob Zuma, everybody else seems focussed on the ‘Malawi’ element of his unwise comments the other week.

 
For those living in the dark (nice pun on this continent), Zuma’s actual words were: “We can’t think like Africans, in Africa, generally. We are in Johannesburg, this is Johannesburg. It’s not some national road in Malawi.”
 
Don’t bother with the context in which he said those words or to whom, but focus on the facts that you are certain of:
 
1. He is President of South Africa, and therefore Citizen Number One 2. South Africa is part of the continent of Africa 3. Jacob Zuma is African – generally.
 
His comments didn’t surprise many people for two reasons: First, Zuma has consistently raised controversy over the last few years by saying and doing things not normally used as a measure of how high an individual IQ is; and Secondly, South Africans are known for referring to the rest of the continent as ‘Africa’, as if they are on their own continent. We didn’t notice it for the first few years after apartheid ended, because almost all our passports bore the stamp ‘All countries except South Africa’ for so long that we ran our own mental apartheid against South Africa.
 
On their part, some of us suspect that they are running their own against us, and we call it xenophobia but that’s only a symptom of the problem at hand here; others call it a superiority complex but I bet there is a far more intelligent man out there than myself (and Zuma, certainly) who could argue that a superiority complex is actually an inferiority complex in defence mode.
 
I won’t get into that because I am not that intellectual philosopher.
 
What I will get into, though, is how weakly the whole of Africa (excluding South Africa) has treated this comment of “think like Africans, in Africa, generally”. Surely the whole of the African Union should be up in arms against Zuma for turning the continent into an idiom for something negative, bumbling, stupid, wrong, derogatory (feel free to add all the adjectives that the comment above evokes in you).
 
How can all the Presidents of Africa except South Africa not have taken offence at the comments by our smiling jolly father of twenty and husband of (how many?), he of the miracle shower solutions and God-knows-what other gaffes that we don’t ever get to hear of because we are in Africa?
 
But then again, wait. Maybe it’s ME who’s thinking like an African in Africa, generally? Taking offence at light comments made in a jocular setting and perhaps delivered as part of some political satire? The event might have been the South African equivalent of that US dinner where the President cracks jokes with comedians and pokes fun at himself and everyone else?
 
Unlikely.
 
But then again, still, wait. Maybe there is something in that saying about thinking like an African in Africa, generally; does it have to do with failing to prioritise? Neglecting to plan? Being incapable of appreciating the value of time? Refusing to save now for better gains later? Blowing scarce resources on glitzy luxuries instead of the development of much-needed infrastructure? Filling up the pot-bellied bank accounts of the wealthy few in the cities at the expense of the rib-cage thin majority in the villages? Taking denigrating donations with one hand while using the other to spend on ostentation? Growing large dirty areas of dusty compounds and slums instead of well-kempt, lush gardens even in the middle of a tropical oasis?
 
Zuma may be on to something, you know. He just might be a major intellectual, after all, out to make us face our realities.
 
We Africans, in Africa generally.  

watching corruption: all hail the Chinese!


I DON’T find it easy expressing admiration for countries that are not Ugandan but the Chinese today receive a sounding round of applause for being extremely serious about anything that they approach. 

Generalising to include all Chinese is wrong, of course, but as we say in Ug: “Just allow!”

These guys have caught my attention today because of a chap called Yang Dacai, who has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for corruption.

The applause is not just because a thief has been jailed, it’s the manner in which the story was put into motion and followed through that had me marvelling when the story broke on BBC right there in my car (on the radio).

This despicable fellow came to public light because he was smiling at the scene of an accident in which 36 people died in August last year.

People were enraged and the photograph went down the Social Media tubes at the speed of a tweet. I didn’t see it nor hear of the outrage, mostly because at that time in Uganda we were probably engulfed in some issue or another – perhaps embezzlement charges to do with Kazinda (I can’t even remember his second name as I type this) or Christopher Obey.

But, this fellow’s wrongly implemented smile wasn’t the only issue.

Some people looked at the photographs and then at more photos of the same guy and then started asking, “How come he has so many different watches?” which question turned into, “How come that guy’s different watches are all so expensive?”

The graphic put up on the BBC website tells you how serious this is:

Image
The many watchfaces of Yang Dacai – BBC Photo

Brother Wristwatch, meanwhile, is not a major public figure – he was just the head of some government work safety body in Shanxi Province<— yeah, I had also never heard of this province before.

Got to the part in the story that reads, <<Yang Dacai was accused of taking bribes and “holding a huge amount of property”, state media said. He admitted taking bribes and said he could not explain how his immense family fortune worth 5m yuan ($817,000; £527,195) came about.>>?

US$817,000 = 14 years in prison.

As a percentage of China’s GDP, that’s 0.0000111643%. <—I am serious – I double checked the mathematics six different ways.

Again, US$817,000=14 years in prison.

And the evidence used to begin the investigation was simply that first photograph, followed by a careful perusal of many other photos in which the watches were clearly spotted.

And all this was started by civilians banging kaboozi.

How can you not admire this?

Next? Are you going to go back over the years of newspaper coverage and society shows on TV in Uganda to get people to explain where their cars and houses have come from?

You, yes, YOU!

I thought so.

But another thing – this week Dacai was charged, but he was first fired last year for the inane smiling he did, and after investigations had run a good course, he was also kicked out of the Communist Party.

Applause, applause! It turns out that your political party won’t protect you when you are suspected to be corrupt – they throw you out.

And NO, before you interject with the thought this this was just a lowly member of the Communist Party thrown to the fishes so that China can claim to be serious about corruption, the following are also under probe right now:

Jiang Jiemin, former head of the China National Petroleum Corporation, the country’s biggest Oil giant; Bo Xilai, Party Head in Chongqing;

Should I ask again what you are going to do?

I won’t ask, but I’ll tell you what some senior government officials in China did: they stopped wearing wristwatches. And it’s so serious that, “global luxury watch sales have seen double digit falls in demand from China and Hong Kong, two of the top markets…”

THAT story is here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23541923.

My hands are hurting from all the applause right now, but the pain inside me from how little we are doing over here is much, much greater.

seriously – are we just fools?


Image

 

On Twitter today a discussion arose that had us agreeing to call ourselves fools.

 
It all started with a small story in the papers quoting the entire Chairman of Nakawa Division, one Benjamin Kalumba, saying that we, his people, are at high risk of contracting cholera now that the rainy season has set in, because there are no public toilets in the Division.
 
“We don’t have a public toilet from Jinja Road roundabout up to Banda, but thousands of people use this road. On Kinawataka–Mbuya Road, people have resorted to using the railway line as their toilet. We are at risk of cholera any time if the government and donor community don’t come for our rescue,” Mr Kalumba said.
 
The message in general was well-put and would have gone past me right until he asked “the donor community” to get in and build for us a toilet.
 
Immediately, I tweeted: “Another fool asks donors to build us toilets”, then after a few minutes and a couple of responses by people joining me in calling Kalumba a fool, I felt it was a little unfair for all of us to be pointing fingers at him when he is our leader, so I amended my statement and suggested that “we are fools” for not having toilets there already.
 
“Not everyone,” one Lauben wrote back, “the people entrusted to do that are the fools. Why wait for the situation to get that bad? Looks like poor planning…”
 
But no, I insisted, WE are the fools, because those people we entrusted to do that are supposedly the best of the lot. They represent us, and if they are foolish, then they are simply reflecting our foolishness and are so high up that it is easier to see that foolishness.
 
If we are so clever, why are we sitting here in our air-conditioned offices and carpeted homes (yeah, this is a cliche but I feel more comfortable thinking that we are like this, we elite fellows in Uganda) just metres away from the next available outbreak of cholera while we use the internet to communicate almost at the same pace as and with people whose closest link to cholera is when they google it?
 
Why aren’t we the leaders so that we mobilise ourselves to build toilets and make our country a better place?
 
Why are the leaders people like Kalumba, who believe that their role is to make speeches saying just about anything regardless of how terribly stupid and servile it sounds (“Muzungu, please come and help make for me a place where I can pupu?“)?
 
Paul Busharizi raised this a while back in an article after Iganga Municipality commissioned a new toilet block and maybe Kalumba’s out-take from reading that was that we need more bazungu building toilets for these bloody Africans; so why aren’t we, the witty, clever fellows who understood what Busharizi was writing about and tweeted and re-tweeted it in indignation, and discussed it over coffee at Java’s, why aren’t we the ones holding drives to build public toilets in Nakawa Division?
 
Or why isn’t any of us identifying this as an investment opportunity and sinking a couple of million shillings into a project providing toilet facilities in Nakawa Division?
 
Are we too clever to do this, and therefore spending our time coming up with some fantastic mobile-phone based apps to transfer money from place to place, or to identify malaria parasites in each other? Are we too locked down in crowd-sourcing projects, doing loads of social networking and doing oil and gas courses so we take advantages of the opportunities coming our way?
 
Or are we just fools?