Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The days after tomorrow

On the road to the Namugongo Shrine in Uganda, in a place called Kireka, one cant miss the hundreds of jerry-cans lined up to get water. The beauty of the colour mix is lost on you when you realise that this is the picture of a crisis.

This area has not had piped water in the homes for about two years. People are beginning to give up hope. Two years is a long time.

But that is not a small problem for a small forgotten area in the boondocks. It is a harbinger of bigger problems to come. Tomorrow, next week, next year, we are going to have wars.

The world’s population is growing faster than the water sources are producing water.

We learnt in our SST classes in primary school that the River Nile is the life blood of Egypt. That knowledge seems to have been good only for passing exams. Not for the Egyptians though.

With their technological power and advanced zeal, they are in the position to do with the waters of the Nile whatever they want. Already, they have told the other countries along the basin not to tamper with the water.

Essentially, that means that if you want to build hydro-electric plants and your country lies in this basin, you have to first get permission from down there (Egypt). Chances are that you won’t be getting that permission.

The problem is wider. The Jordan River is gone. It is dead and buried. Israel and the Palestinians have come to some sort of agreement about the sharing of the waters but that is something that’s becoming more and more difficult to handle.

When you move over to Asia, the countries below China in the Mekong Valley are increasingly becoming beholden to their giant neighbour to the north.

The water is becoming more precious. We are sleeping, not finding new ways to manage water and the result is that foreigners in distant offices out there are thinking for us. The world is too preoccupied with oil as the main resource and forgetting about the more important issue of water.

The image from Kevin Costner’s Waterworld comes back fiercely. The movie was made many years ago but it could be prophetic.

Monday, January 29, 2007


1. Abhor deodorants even when the whole world knows you can afford to buy one. For crying out loud, they still sell those Gift of Zanzibar things, don’t they? But that’s just the point. Be a badass.
2. Wait for the passengers to get into the car and drive off for like a hundred meters then say “Lukumi, Nakawa.” This at Kireka, a distance that would cost one like UgSh300 on a normal day. But this is no normal day, hombre.
3. When the smart chick in back says “mumaas’awo” just step on it and stop a hundred meters from the spot. She will have to get another taxi back, the spoilt, beautiful, unavailable hag. (All this is inside your head, otherwise, people will think you are just jealous, a big baby).
4. When the dude sitting next to you starts bumping to the beat on the funky Jay Z joint, change the station to CBS. Watch him grow dark blue with anger then tell him to buy his own car where he can listen to people talking and they want to make the world believe that they are singing. Twakowa.
5. Leave banana peels on the seats.
6. Leave the seats wet on Sunday when the people get to put their Sunday Bests to go to KPC. They should be going to pray, not to show off their lousy, expensive threads.
7. Give the car to your randy friend and don’t check it after. You never know, he might have left the evidence of his hanky-panky in the back seat and that will just tick off the matron who thinks she can change the world with her lectures.
8. Drive like a demon when you realise some chick is travelling with her grand-ma from Bugerere and the said granny has probably never been inside a matatu. Show her where Statham learnt his tricks.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Back in secondary school, in Form One, most of us were too little, too skinny. We saw huge guys for the first time and we were in constant fear.

There were two huge guys in my class. One was showy and loud and such an idiot. The other was quiet and always joking. The showy one was actually bigger, though with hindsight, I think it could have been flab.

You guessed it; there was soon a showdown. Showy Guy is trying to bully some section of the class and suddenly, Quiet Nice Guy is standing up, challenging him. I had never seen him this angry.

So they start sizing each other up. Showy Guy has a rep to maintain and Quiet Nice Guy has nothing to lose. He is ice cold and he is daring his foe to come on over to get beat. No one who saw the fire in his eyes that day doubted that he would have torn his enemy to pieces. Limb from limb, like an over cooked piece of chicken.

The other guy backed down and started mumbling something. we didn't care anymore. The balance of power had shifted so suddenly, so dramatically. We had a new king. And those who were friendly to him were suddenly more confident. He sat next to me so...

The bullies from the higher classes did not cross the threshold of our classroom. We heard that there were cases of bullying in other classes but those were just stories. If you were in Mwiri during those years when the wars with the Jinja schools raged, you will remember his heroics, proudly leading a whole school against loonies with sticks and stones.

It was like he was two different people. He was cool, calm and collected but then, he could erupt and do unthinkable things. I guess that was foreshadowing.

Last month, I saw him on the street but he was so different. He was not the proud, smart eloquent dude I knew back in school. He was an outcast.

He moves around talking to himself. He has matted hair and he doesn’t know, or care what a clean shirt looks like, feels like.

He has no pants. He has no dignity. He has no shame.

When people see him on the other side of the street, they change their plans to cross over. It could be because of the smell that they predict will rise off him into their clean nostrils but then again, it could be because normal sane people don’t present themselves like that to society.

He doesn’t eat what you eat. He eats the left overs of the city. From a big bowl that overflows with the other refuse of many days and nights.

Martin Aliker is stark raving mad.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


The people interviewed on UBC’s The Beat, one gets the feeling they are being forced to say the things they say. Maybe they are. They keep on stealing glances at someone just off the camera; like that person is holding a big stick and waving it threateningly. After all, they can’t be going like, “Wassup my peeps in Kawaala. And my rastas, I and I bless and we be hanging with NTV…”

After all these months, Tindatiine (the song and the chick) is still a hit. She still gets called to perform at Bivvulu. Riding on one hit. People like this, Peter Andre and Tindatiine. It’s not fair.

You know that feeling when you are about to meet the girl on the Sunday radio show. Remember those days when Christine Mawadri was unseen and she was just everyone’s dream girl? Look what happened when she decided to start being up in our faces.

I heard on the grapevine that Bobi Wine has been clamped down for two years for daring to write a song that’s overly critical of the establishment. Ati Ghetto got him in trouble for its stinging attack on the powers that be. Well, he can always come to my village. We’ve been looking for a bard for a long time. He’ll always be welcome.

How can Stanbic Bank lose close to 2bn shillings in less than 6 months? Is it like the punching bag, the whipping boy of Ugandan banks? I mean, they go and lose 500,000 (for those outside Uganda and who might think our money is too much, don’t be fooled by the figures) and then just yesterday, 1bn! And at 6pm when there is a serious jam in the town. Means the heist was planned well, factoring in the jam, considering they were not caught.

I think I know why kids these days are mixed up and don’t refer me to The Sunscreen. They are watching bad TV shows and playing crazy vid games. Where have Tintin, Captain Cradock, Asterix and Obelix gone? I imagine kids have to make decisions about red and blue pills. And they always swallow the red ones. The Matrix is real, my friend.

Some writer for the Wall Street Journal, with a serious case of constipation wrote that blogging is stupid and useless. Mbu all bloggers do is ride on the information of the MSM (read that in that article) or Main Stream Media. Well, whatever. Get a life.

Halliburton, that oil and construction company is recruiting East Africans to go work in its hot areas. It is being said that Iraq is the most prominent. American professionals are increasingly losing the urge to go. Even the money won’t convince them anymore. So what does that say about the Kenyans and Ugandans who are going regardless of all the scary stories? They have already said they don’t care, at least here in Ug. The poverty here might kill them but it will take too long and that means a lot of suffering. Going to Iraq to guard might mean death but at least it’ll be quick. Besides, they might survive it all and come back with a fortune.

Since Blogger can control our stuff, I keep on wondering when they’ll get tired of waiting for the rest of us to get on Beta. I have read many complaints of people saying the new form is the pits. How do you take on Blogger. I’m all ears.

Like, can you remember a time when there was no war in the Middle East? Seriously?

So Shane Warne has called it quits, big deal. I tried to spin like him back in school and failed. And I survived. My most entertaining spinners are very slow. And their balls twist even more beautifully before they hit the stumps. Get some rest Shane.

And yes, there are Ugandans who say “thouthand.” It’s so painful.

Bebe Cool could make a great president, don’t you think? With that Nameless guy as his Veep.

Monday, January 15, 2007

He said she said

So the government has denied, vehemently, that they had any hand in the erasing of charismatic rebel lord, Dr. Andrew Kayiira 20 years ago.

Uganda’s government, for those who don’t know the inside story, did not come to power nicely. They had to fight it out. They had to go to the bush – 27 men-oba 26? (!!!!????, believe me, I am also still wondering how that lie has stood the test of time) and shoot the hell out of the elected government.

Andrew Kayiira was the leader of another group that had the same agenda as that of the National Resistance Army which had major issues with the Prez at the time, Dr. Apollo Milton Obote who was too chicken to stay around and answer to all the charges that have been levelled against him. Well he answered but from very far.

Kayiira was shot in 1987, a couple of years after the coup that brought Kagu to power. Since there can only be one cock-of-the-walk, the death of the doctor was immediately pegged on officialdom, however much they tried to show that their hand was clean.

Now, the people either are too thick or they have nugu. Last week, the Democratic Party, one of the opposition organisations decided to shake off the image of cowardice. You see, they have always taken their grievances to court unlike some people who think that when they have issues, the exact words to use are: “You want some of this, okay, lets take this outside…I mean to the bush.” And other such unsavoury things.

Anyway, DP took this Kayiira thing and masqueraded as very hurt citizens crying out for Kayiira’s justice. They said they have the report from Scotland Yard which implicated government. Apparently, that’s why the report hasn’t been released to the public for 20 years. The president said DP just wanted to force the Tear Gassers to act. Oh, by the way, if you didn’t know, Uganda is fast becoming the place where tear gas manufacturers will be camping soon because the market is just too tempting. The weekends bring the premiership soccer and tear gas at political riots.

Every one is running around screaming that they have the real report. It is good money. On top of getting yourself on TV, you can get the development partners to give you a visa because the evidence will be in their face; state inspired violence warranting asylum in their country.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

2007 here we are

The year has started but going by the mood, its not going to be the year we all get our dreams fulfilled. Sometimes I stop and wonder if we all haven’t missed the rupture; that all the really deserving haven’t left and are up there sipping on juice. Just before 2005 started, there was the Tsunami. Parallel: Just before 2007 started, Saddam Hussein was killed.

Now, I am tempted to say he didn’t really die. I mean, a figure that big, a guy who fought it out with the Americans in 1990 and won can’t just be there dying like that, really? People with hero status don’t die. Elvis is alive. Tupac is alive. Saddam is definitely alive. I don’t know what those guys have been showing on TV and I don’t know when the truth will come out but I know there is a stink somewhere.

I also got myself a UHF aerial and was introduced to the joys of NTV. Of course, the Kenyans could say we are all going gaga for nothing, that the station is not all that cosidering, but when you have been given WBS as the best entertainment for so long, when Denis Mawanda wins best TV presenter (he did sometime back) when NTV shows up, you just can’t resist the urge to punch the air. I bet the programs manager there is experiencing a bad case of diarrhea. When Straka finally leads another walkout, then the situation will really become apparent. Don’t you just love the way they give you the real implications of a news story instead of just reporting?

I started at my new job. I was plucked out of the freedom of walking the streets and I guess I am going to have to realize my dreams from here. Plus I get to read all your blogs at no cost.

A very good friend of mine told me he is starting on a journey that will end at the end of next year; he’s getting married if everything goes according to plan. May the Force be with you, my friend.

I read in the New Vision, Uganda’s main government daily that at the end of the year 2006, church leaders condemned members of parliament for their demands for 60m shilling worth cars. The next day (today) in a continuation of this story, the MPs hit back that clerics are given cars worth 100m shillings by government for doing nothing developmental. What really got me was Rev Zack Niringiye’s charge that instead of stealing in secret, the MPs are now doing it openly. Of course am paraphrasing, I don’t have the paper with me here. I would have wanted to be there to see the expressions on the politicians’ faces when they read that.

The guy who recorded the murder of Saddam on his cell phone has been arrested. I wonder what he’ll be charged with, telling the truth?

Time mag said those who have used the computer to relay info this past year are the Person of the Year 2006. Now that’s something. In your own way, as small as you think it is, you are changing the world somehow. It reminds me of that old rant from the school of hard knocks; you have the power to kill in your hands. The fourth estate is not for joking, joking, alo.

Liverpool pulled off the revenge of the season. They say when you have nugu, wait till it has chilled well then vent it. Bolton hit us sometime ago and it really hurt, dude. It did. When we got them, (the old crone will always wait for when you come around trying to eat her nicely cooked food) we hit the bejesus out of them. A fitting result, by the way. 3 – 0.