UGANDA AND THE NOISY PALS

Forested roadMy friends abducted Kageshi and I, lobbed us into this moving car and before we knew, we were in the middle of nowhere. Speeding in a picturesque road akin to what you watch in the movies that have these beautiful yellow petals littered on it. A clear highway with no meanders or speed bumps or kids playing football along the road. A clear tarmac sandwiched by a healthy forest. The sun setting in the far end of the horizon and birds chirping joyously on the sideways as I rolled down the windscreen to let in the alluring and unpolluted air. Speaking of which, there was no littered garbage or blocked drainage or smelly, black smoke getting lost in the clouds. It was heaven on earth; calm, serene and peaceful environment lucky to have responsible neighbours considerate enough to take care of the surrounding ecosystem.

The road took us to a restaurant situated in a deserted getaway with no sounds of boda boda, matatu hooting or sounds of any human activity. We pulled off at the main entrance and after the usual basic inspection of the car we were ushered in. Jumping off excitedly, I would smell the love in the air. It was valentine weekend and I was in this epic place for a perfect valentine escapade. The hotel was designed in gazebos that would form a particular pattern, emphasizing privacy and comfort. We ordered drinks (read wines) and savoured music from the live band set up at a strategic place, with clear sound and command of love ballads we grew listening to from KBC Sundowner, back in the day. Cool, nostalgic music that took one to the moon and back and permeating deep through our bones.

The lead singer being one Sir Ngasha, a graceful, fairly tall, 50 year old-like man, armed with a gold-complexion guitar, boots to the knee, brown leather jacket, tacked in shirt and of course donning a kuyus Cowboy hat, effortlessly serenaded our hearts. He had a Jeff Koinange demeanor; Likeable, authoritative voice and a character marked by wit, humour and intelligence. By 6:30pm more well dressed urbanite souls would check in to kill a night, take stock of their lives and celebrate love. All I spotted were couples outdoing each other in laughter, fun and merry making and amiable waiters dressed in half coats and bow-ties making a million strides along the pavements with their symbolic trays; bringing in more drinks, wine glasses and something to bite.

As dusk set in, cylinder like jikos were brought in with glowing fire that distracted the heated conversation as everybody endeavoured to warm his/her hands. This place was cold. Having been set up next to a river that passes towards the south of the hotel it tends to lower temperatures at night. In this particular gazebo we had businessmen/women, office peeps and a lady from Uganda who stared at her noisy friends speak street-Swahili mindlessly, doing little to help her grab a word or join in the laughter. They even switched to a local dialect at some point, when effects of whatever they were imbibing started taking charge. How so? Haha. I’m not mentioning names.

With this kind of ambiance, there can never be a dull moment. The conversation combed every social discourse in the public sphere from Men who travelled to Eritrea, to the 5 month pregnant woman battered by her husband, to politics and more politics. We are a political nation I tell you, save for football. From conversations in the Matatus to the barbershops we are obsessed with how JAP or CORD will win the Malindi by-elections if not about which party will register more voters ahead of 2017. Remember we stripped off Tunoi, frog matched him in the social media streets and dumped him in a dark, lonely corner and moved on swiftly. Not that I cordon corruption.

I tried to engage this Ugandan lady whom I will name Kisembo which means babies are gifts from God in Uganda. I liked her Ugandan accent. It reminded me of The Hostel TV programme. What became of TV? I totally lost enthusiasm. UgandaAnyway, I asked my new acquaintance how she rated Kenya and Kenyans at large. And her response was marked with this appalling look and excitement about her short stay in Kenya. I’d tell she played diplomatic with that whole convo marvelling about how a great weather we’ve got, sijui warm people, Nyama Choma and our entrepreneurship skills. Really? Kwani how are Ugandans, or Taiwan or Thailand.  Readers from these countries need to write to me about their way of life. Forgive me for not travelling much, I wouldn’t appreciate how warm and extraordinaire we are without your feedback.

I also enquired if it’s indeed a fallacy that Uganda women are quite submissive to their husbands to an extent of kneeling down whenever greeting them. She was like; Yea thati usseeeed to happeni buti ish gradually being swiped offfu by Westernization calchaz. (Inserting Luganda accent)

So, I asked Kisembo, how on earth they have sat pretty with one President for 30 irking years and worse still, how he is a top favourite to win in the coming elections? Does it mean there are no fresher brains to lead Uganda, honestly? To my surprise, a typical 20 something old Kisembo doesn’t give a damn about politics leave alone breaking a sweat in wondering who will ever oust Museveni. She detests politics. And as you would guess, that story got buried as soon as it clinged to life. Apart from one Stella Nyanzi a fiery writer from Uganda who is so charged up to see the end of Museveni’s era, surely the rest of Ugandans can do more.

With Kisembo teaching me a few phrases in her native language I wouldn’t help flaunt my new Luganda talk.

Hi? ……………Ki kati?
How are you?………….Oli otya?
I am OK…………….Gyendi
Have a nice day…………..Siiba bulungi
Good night…………….Sula bulungi (on retiring)
Welcome……………….Tukusanyukidde
See you later……………….Tunaalabagana
Please………………Mwattu

Thank you……………Weebale

Munyonyo………..Very much

Finally, it was a wrap having enjoyed dinner with Kageshi and my noisy friends. By the way, its parochial to tolerate a thought that Valentine is a barometer that measures your degree of love.

Signing off as one super happy Arsenal earthling…Chao!!

 

 

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EXITS KIBAKI; ENTERS UHURU

KIBAKI-AND-RUTO-e1363180006867One thing you quickly notice with these two gentlemen is that they do not have christian names, one is a contrast of the other from age, character to background but somehow intertwined by nature’s humour and history.Kibaki who apparently bestows a laid back character has unquestionable intelligence that ultimately made him dust off his pauper background but also thanks to his father who thought he was not useful in the farm.On the other hand, Jomo’s scion is from an affluent family enjoying unprecedented privileges unlike his peers.One thing with Uhuru is that he his charming and exudes charisma anytime anywhere not to mention his mighty handshake. The witty Mutahi Ngunyi best captures these two blokes contrast, he simply says Kibaki did not have many hurdles to clinch power in 2002 but the son of Jomo faced an avalanche of them, consequently Kibaki’s reign was marred with a myriad of challenges , the latter as foretold by Ngunyi will have an easy time. Am tempted to believe this political scientist going by the many post election pacts Uhuru is signing daily which analysts think is crushing the opposition.

Narrowing down to Kibaki who was the first African to graduate with a First Class Honors from the prestigious London School of Economics. We should give credit to his administration for the tremendous economic growth, a stock market which has reached its highest stock market index in four years, implementation of free primary education, subsidising secondary education, 15 new universities created under his administration, more funding of higher education students loans body.Upgrading of infrastructure, tapping on I.C.T and making Kenya a technology hub in Africa, he ensured Kenyans were supporting their own budget as opposed to soliciting money from Western powers.

Amidst all these praises, there are some things he overlooked. Some 2007-08 Internally Displaced Persons are still languishing in tattered camps five years down the line, ironically a good number of them voted for him as their president. Am not sure if he forgot about them, lets give him the benefit of the doubt and blame the highly charged Kenya politics.Either way its an issue that will erase some of his good attributes.Security has remained a thorny issue in this country complicated by ungovernable Somali, global terrorism, inter-clan wars and corruption within security agencies.Not much has been done to tame M.R.C and Baragoi skirmishes.Kibaki has done little to reduce the gap between rich and poor which consequently impedes any economic growth, corruption is worse than during Moi’s era and industrial strikes from disgruntled civil servants. Kibaki has also been compelled to eat a humble pie courtesy of court rulings in a number of occasions.

For me, he remains the best president we have ever had, Chief Justice shocked many when he disclosed Kibaki never used the hotline that was directly connected to statehouse, in other words he did not interfere with the judiciary even after it sometimes ruled harshly on him.

There enters a fairy young man, full of energy and charisma. All the best Muigai Kenyatta.