Walumbe takes Captain T.

The ill- fated vessel that capsized and killed several Ugandans was a vessel i have had many fan time in. Captain T, may his soul find eternal repose, was as always the embodiment of calm and a sense of purpose. We the reveler always found difficulty maintaining a vexation with him. He knew most of his clients and took care to take care of our various concerns. On the boat he was everything you wanted; The steward, The friend to share the secret sorrow, the money lender, the forex bureau, the pimp; in short anything.

It was a well advised maxim that what happened on the boat or island stayed on the island. So I will not tell you about the things which would make Lokodo’s hair stand on end once the boat vanished from the shore line view and on all ends was surrounded by mass and mass of the great Nalubaale, when conspicuous amounts  of various intoxicants dulled and numbed the sense of morality and blunted the edges of savoir faire.

I cannot deny the fact that I have been marooned on that boat on more than one occasion. A dead engine, the splashing of waves and the impotence of anger; when you realize that chastising the person repairing the engine while soothing balm to your wounded spirit would derail a more urgent matter of repairing the engine. And so you held your peace. When the engine came to life the music, the ambiance and sense of revelry made one forget and thus anger evaporated shared a Cohiba with the captain T. He was a  nice amicable chap. 

Captain T took me on journeys that I cannot forget, helped me forge bonds which to this day I hold dear. He, among our peers, trail blazed the water industry. It was his life and soul, bread and butter. A free spirit who chose to wade in the less trodden shrubbery to make his own path. I celebrate the life of Captain T and wish him peace in the life yonder. Fare thee well comrade, may the angels find you an abode laced with the comforts we all will sooner seek.

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Hook, Reel and Cast

Many times I have been invited to participate in an activity and before considering the validity of attendance I theorize on the merits; carefully weighing the pros and the cons. I was unable to put my tried and tested formula to use which is why I found myself with a wide menu of dirty worms,(there was a bucket-full), new vocabulary to wit: hook, reel, and cast.

It was a hot afternoon. The menace of the sun merciless and oblivious to our chosen agenda. We, there was three of us, had an agenda of liberating some aquatic creatures from the humdrum of the dark deep blue to try out new and other activities on terra firma.


In just under five minutes of his entry, my colleague nabbed a big tilapia. I would have no such luck. I baited more times than I could recall and the pain that struck my vitals as I reeled back wormless hooks; the bait having been devoured by malicious small creatures of the lake was like a Lugbara curved knife in my bosom. I saw our prized worm stock dwindled and I was morose! The agonies of patience!!!


Two hours later, having changed location, more times than I remember I saw the line get taut! I had nabbed my first fish! Unfortunately it was of a very tremendous smallness that we had to return to store.With perseverance comes great rewards. As the night cooled the heat, a second tag on the rod confirmed what to me was a sealed deal; a new angler had been born.

An Ode of a Stifled Song

img_20180522_161246DOTH arrows and lances alone me seek

ANGST in this lonesome crowd

In the silence of the noise

Sleeping alert to twined chalice

Poisoned on edge one with the grimace of Malice

 

CHORDS, Labyrinth and chains

Bound and do bind twice

Freed eons esteemed Cupid’s reluctant prize.

Committed to separated paths takes

False bonds, like elephants appendages  abandoned

on the carpets of Impenetrable amorous Bwindi.

 

Smug gorillas. content with pleasures simple

Rugged swain confront rarest dimple

And lost they are , twice lost again.

Restrain Cupid Oh Great Saturn.

Blind him with your mighty light

Burn his eyes and scorch his eyes; that his arrows may err!

And torment naught the reluctant Swain.

 

MOBILE MONEY TAX IS A STONE AGE INVENTION

In the early 2000’s the first internet cafe opened in Kampala. The speeds of connection were slow and painful, which pain was only alleviated by the fact that the internet provided a rich source of jokes and reading materials. Opening my first email account was basically in partial fulfillment of my thirst for internet jokes that I cannot quote here.

Shortly afterwards, a friend from the Big Apple told me to hook up on Facebook. I asked her what FB was but she was non-committal. I none -the-less joined and became a big fan of the Mafia wars, Pirates of Caribbean and a host of other diverting games. At the same time I made a number of friends. Facebook became the modern version of what the Acoli called “Wang OO!” Wang OO is a community place where children and elders sit around a burning logs and the elders teach the young ones valuable lessons and cultural knowledge. Its from the Wang OO that the children drink of the fountain of knowledge that are our elders.

It is not only fan and games on Facebook. Many Ugandans have utilized it as an instrument for business. The traffic and idle men in government offices have since branded the FB as a gossip shop necessitating a tax of 200 UGX. Apart from being a a tax bereft of common sense, the tax is arbitrary, a bad tax and smacks of desperation by the GOU to squeeze every little cent out of the Uganda. To add insult on injury, when the will they shut off the platform arbitrarily. So to kowtow the GOU’s line is to submit to whimsical uncertainty. Uncertainty not much unlike the one lived by the village drunk’s cockerel.

Unsurprisingly, many Ugandans have done the Ugandan thing; rather than pay the pittance they have patriotically donated the money to Capitalist by paying for more expensive packages using VPN. Incidentally an indirect consequence is lower usage of the internet and more real time spent with real people. So even of the GOU puts on a brave face, on this one its the people 1 and GOU NIL.

The Facebook tax was supposed to target other communications of VOIP, Inventors have come up with APPS not linked to the Simcard rendering the tax as useful as a horned dog. The inventors will keep inventing and the retrogressive apparatus will die.

The GOU’s appetite for money remains insatiable; the public expenditure keeps expanding day by day with increasing MPs pay, allowances, and money spent on political battles. These escalations cost a pretty sum and the fortieth day lumbers on for a head crash with the inevitability of a Greek tragedy.

Creativity, perseverance

“People like to think that the creative process is romantic. The artist drifts to sleep at night, to be awakened by the subliminal echoes of his or her next brilliant idea. The truth, for me at least, is that creativity is primarily a result of hard work and study.” Grant Achatz.

If you take time and read or find out more about the curious tale of Grant tour life will be much better. Grant is a Chef; not these round a mill but top prima inter pares. As he aired to his heights he faced a personal tragedy; cancer robbed him of his power of taste!

Imagine for the life of you a chef without ability to taste. The inability to differentiate salt and sugar, or acidic and alkaline flavours. The hotness or mildness of peppers which are central to the fabrication of good soup.

He still stood his ground and made known his desires by words; spoken and written. His arts are alive today and he still runs one great restaurant …Alinea In Chicago. His is a story of creativity, passion and determination. Oh he successfully recovered from his ailment.

Save me, Save Ug; Inside the Finance Minister’s cry for help.

IMG_20170305_093742A writer/publisher of great repute was asked by an aspiring young writer to peruse his manuscript with a view of giving it the nod necessary for its publication. When he received the package he sent it back to the enthusiastic young man with a note, “Is this the best you can come up with?” The young man, undeterred by the blow, proceeded to re-read his manuscript dotting the “ts” and cross the “i”s, or rather the other way round (wanted to see of you were following.  And then resent the manuscript to the great author. He received his comments that very after noon and the words were, “is this the best you can do?

Given how in awe he held the great author he went through the process with even greater rigor than before. Huge chunks of the works were expunged, reworked until the young man, like the great Father in the Bible, looked at his handiwork and was pleased. He sent it to the great man confident that the work would find acceptance. It came back with the same comments already mentioned.

The young man could not take it any more. He wrote a well thought out letter, editing it several times to remove coarse and offensive language, explaining that  he had truly labored and he could not find any more improvements to make.  Including a few more civilities he sent the letter and the manuscript to the great man. He received this reply, “I will now read your manuscript!”

This anecdote was brought to my attention when I heard that the Minster of Finance was seeking for aid from academicians to write about the economic challenges of our country Uganda. Under our current governance structure the Minister of Finance is the chief under whose authority the National Planning Authority(NPA) falls. The NPA is jammed packed with economists and other such academicians whose competence like Ceasor’s wife is beyond suspicion. And it is true that this department has excelled in providing written direction for the country to achieve the country development goals. These are codified in the National Development Plan 1 and National Development Plan 2. Priority areas defined in the NPD2.

We also have apex bodies like the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) whose analysis of the economic situation in Uganda is beyond reproach. In a stakeholders meeting in February 2018 the EPRC stressed a need for Uganda to make new strategies to address, inter alia, spiraling unemployment, reduction of dependency on debt; which leads to increased interest rate, increase productivity and industrialization. There was an observation that decentralization did not bring services closer to the people but actually, “decentralized corruption!” Its beyond the scope of the topic today to evaluate the pros and cons of a centralized corruption structure versus a decentralized corruption structure.

The greatest mischief in decentralization is the creation of political chiefdoms which are unproductive and a toil on the tax payer. To this juggernaut we have to add  wastefulness necessitated by the body politic. There is a lack of commitment by the body politic to toe the line of financial discipline which is the first step towards economic recovery. Preference being for quick fixes like the obnoxious Facebook/gossip tax and mobile money tax. These temporary fixes are mirages that will not solve the greater economic mire Uganda find itself in. The first step is discipline and the ability to read what we already have available to us in the apex white paper for economic strategy in Uganda NPD2. Whose theme, ” Strengthening Uganda’s competitiveness for sustainable wealth creation, employment and inclusive growth,’ resonates with the heartbeat of the country.

NPD2 identifies 5 priority areas: infrastructure, agriculture,  minerals, oil and gas and Tourism. We need to dig deeper into each of these elements in order to ensure that we leverage their latent capacity to empower Ugandans. Take for instance the dams we are building  what component of that is owned by Ugandan? Or is it a question of casual laborers and a few supervisors? Is there skills transfer to local contractors to build their capacities or have we left it all to economic mercenaries?

In agriculture what steps are being taken to drive to commercialization? How well are we positioning the agricultural sector to feed into the indigenous industrial sector?  How are we stimulating production and value addition? Have we worked on the marketing? The past leaders had Boards that managed marketing; what substitutes do we have for these interventions for bulking produce?

In tourism what is the capacity of our service providers? How do we manage our image as a country? What innovations do we have to strengthen the capacity of the sectors?

All these questions are not mathematical; commitment and a little discipline and the “bazukulu” enjoying the fruits of their labor will cause little dis-rest in the country.

 

The Fatalities of Boda-Boda and Kagame’s No-Nonsense

So, I dialed for Uber – Boda to get to the urgent destination in this city of Jenny. The guy comes and as I wait expectantly for the headgear, the chap kicks the starter and I make protestations demanding for a helmet. “Omanyi Bossi bu tissue byangwaako ...” (You know boss, the tissue got finished). In Kampala, finicky boda passengers demand a form of tissue head wrap that they put to prevent, one would suppose, diseases and disorientation of the hair with foreign or out landish oils and ointments. “Come off it I demanded for my head-gear and without the pomp of Kampalans protected my head.

In neighboring Rwanda, I believe that a bike is incapable of movement if any of the riders has not adorned a helmet. This law is true for both private and public service bikes. The moment you leg is over the seat of the bike the head gear is presented to you to fasten and strap; with or without head napkin tissue.

I tried to put this in context so that it could be clear to even the dimmest of wits. If, in absence of the headgear your precious hair comes to contact with the tarmac you stand to loose more than just hair; potentially skin, hair, and cracked bones. So how do you be so concerned, and wrapped up in your priorities that you would prioritize protecting hair over more delicate organs like skin and skull bones- be wise my friend.

A visit to the emergency ward would put one wise to the precarious situation that exists in today’s setting. Many an inmate therein wishes they had got their priorities right with the question of helmet or head gear tissue. Therefore comrades get the priorities in order; protect that head!