Wednesday, 12 July 2017


“ I don’t think Bobi Wine should have shaved off his dreadlocks!”
Sitting on the balcony of Tangu Café,  I eye the plate of steaming Katogo  nestled on the glass table and salivate. Huge fingers of Matooke, swathed in Bacon stew,  the best around town.  I proceed to open the small green flask and pour out the tea and the aroma of Ginger wafts up my nose. “… with a lot of ginger” is what I had said and it seems the fleshy waitress had followed my directions to the letter. I try to focus on my companion, to hold his gaze but the chair across is empty.  I am alone.  Did I just say that out loud?  Am I running mad?

Anyway,  mad or not,  the phrase still holds true.  I really don’t think Bobi Wine should have mowed off his dreadlocks. The devil is in the details and a man is usually as good as he looks. Often,  we try to convince ourselves that we are different from what we present,  that just because we look ‘like thieves’ doesn’t mean we are.  The older I get however,  the more I am convinced that when one looks like a thief,  trust him to snatch your wallet.  You can always thank me later.

Those dreadlocks stood for an idea.  They were a symbol, a symbol of hope.  Those dreadlocks were the idea that a simple ghetto child could rise up and somehow negotiate his way through the dimly lit corridors of power to the legislative body.  The hair and the music. That’s why he was voted.  It is what the people had come to associate with words like gladiator, the ghetto freedom fighter.

On his last rally,  after being arrested,  hundreds of people flocked the premises of his detention and demanded to have their ‘Lucky Dube' back. The devil lies in the details they say.  As far as I know,  the South African reggae maestro had little in common with our own ghetto gladiator.  The music notwithstanding, their dreadlocks were the common factor.

Then our man succumbed to the pressure,  to the stereotypes.  I was disappointed, although I tried to hide it,  looking at our man ‘smartly' decked out in a three piece black suit,  the dreads gone,  waiting to be sworn in.  Looking at him, the way he blended in,  I tried in vain to identify how different he looked from the fat cats he will find in the legislative house.  In his sleek black three piece suit,  our own ‘ghetto gladiator ‘ could have passed for a Saville Row dummy,  or a lawyer perhaps,  an Abdu Katuntu or a young version of our beloved president.

A biting question is presented at this time.
“What makes us sure that he will not change?”
Yes,  I am aware that it’s a long shot,  that I am just being dramatic and paranoid in the least but think about it.  The way the struggle began,  our ghetto hero at the beginning,  soliciting for votes and we the ghetto people hopefully trusting our ghetto Jesus.  And now he does look different to be honest.  Do we have any guarantees that he will not change, that he will not evolve into the crop we already have?  Anyone remembers Kato Lubwama? Yes,  the gecko eyed comedian had gone into the house as the commoner’s voice and weeks later,  he was on Television,  rationalizing about why he as a legislator needed an 180 million car and an IPad because as an honorable,  he had to ‘eat honorably’ and to ‘dress honorably’...

Still ghetto gladiator? 

The version of Bobi Wine I would have loved to see in parliament is the weed smoking version,  probably downing a few sticks outside parliament , before swaggering in to represent his common ghetto people.  I mean if he was sure that that was him,  that even with his weed and dreadlocks he could agitate for the needs of his people,  why change?  Why bend in to the stereotypes?  Who said anyway,  that for a legislator to be effective he must be clean shaven and decked out in suits?

My Katogo is getting cold. I reach for my earphones that had fallen out as I was reasoning and I realize that I had not posed the music.  Tupac’s  is playing in the background,  nearing the end.
Some things will never change,  eh?

Tuesday, 6 June 2017


Symbolism.  The simple concept that one thing,  an item or idea stands for an alternate meaning. That one thing represents another other than itself.  During those long and wondrously enjoyable literature seasons,  we used to spend ages trying to decipher what things stood for,  even those that stood for themselves. 

Ken Walibora, one of my favorite Swahili novelists (among the few that I read), often used the weather to make a sneak peak into a fresh chapter.  Ominous and dark rain clouds for Ken and his readers usually mean that someone is going to die… or will wish to.  You must rejoice therefore when there it is a warm sunny morning,  with bright rays,  there is a marriage ahead. But that’s not the point.  

The color white. Yes,  I am talking about that white color. Most people,  well,  all people think and actually believe that white stands for purity. That it signifies flawlessness, perfection,  heaven.  Isn’t that why our dear lassies are going to faco, buying whitening creams and spotting white weaves?  Do you remember that movie that had a character of God and he was dressed in black?  No you don’t.  I don’t remember it either. Have you ever seen a black angle before,  I mean apart from those teenage love letters?  
What do we usually sing in the church choir?  Oh yes, 

…wash me oh Lord, 
That whiter than snow, 
My spirit shall be.. 

What if I am a blackboard?  What if I am a car tyre?  What If I desire to be blacker than a raven’s wing?  I will be Excommunicated. Poor mother would never have the end of it if I told her my soul is black. It would be an early ticket to her grave.  

What people don’t understand is that symbolism can be manipulated to orchestrate a sinister form of deception.  You see, as long as there is a concept you believe to represent an alternate idea,  once that concept is present,  you will have the said idea,  with or without the latter’s presence.  A king is king for example because he holds a scepter and lives in a palace.  Take that away and you will have a common man,  with common doubts and fears,  who entered the universe through the same orifice like the beggar did.  

I am willing to wager that the devil would have a considerable following if he decided to shown up as an elderly white man,  with a long white beard and dressed in long flowing bright white robes.  After all,  what is white and impure?  

After all,  what is white and impure? 

Uncle Mukiibi, like a friend referred to him,  the respected educationist, requested for a white funeral.  Why? He probably surmised that his soul was blacker than coals and wanting to con his way past St Peter,  he gambled on his clothing.  A pedophile, adulterous, fornicating (and most likely rapist) professor requested for a white funeral.  Who wasn’t fooled?  

I want a black funeral.  My coffin should be black. Let the guests dress in black and blondes must dye their hair coal black. Anyone who shows up even in grey will be expressly haunted by yours truly.  And I assure you I am not that friendly as a ghost. I will need a magician to be present and she must release crows instead of the ceremonial white doves, black doves will be a welcome bonus.  I want a black funeral. 

Thursday, 20 April 2017


Unexpected journeys and unexpected people. I love travel and I always never care whether I am on foot,  bus or plane.  As long as I am seeing new places, new people,  I will be at peace and I think that will always be so until my next destination is jail or hell,  then I will humbly decline this chance to see new faces.

My last trip to Kabale guaranteed that there be a return journey.  So early morning,  I was up preparing,  wearing my new sweater, a gift from one of these Beautiful Creatures.  Her perfume was still fresh and I could figuratively touch her but that is not the gist of this post.  I folded my mother’s piece of cloth around my neck and I would have passed for an African man on his first trip to Europe,  you can always tell those.  The story needs to be short so I was on my way in no minute,  dosing off occasionally and then tapping my phone which had about two percent of battery power,  this was going to be one hell of a journey.

In Mbarara town of course,  we made our first stop and people left.  These were replaced.  I did not notice this new entrant until he stood up and cleared his voice,  obviously in need of our audience.  The Young gentleman,  in his early twenties,  very young indeed, looked quite energetic.  He had chosen for facial accessories, a pair of shades and a blue cap so he looked worry-free.
“I want to talk to you about AIDS!” The Young man said.
That’s when I returned to my sleep.  He was only an employee, out to make a buck,  paid by one of these NGOs to sensitize travelers about the new old scourge.  I then noticed the tag he wore around his neck and although I could not make out what was inscribed thereon,  I could tell it was a company ID, probably.  So I reclined back in my seat and prepared for chapter two of my sleep.  He went on about AIDs, ways how we could prevent it and all.

The bus stopped again and this time we let in an entourage of rowdy people.  Builders.  They were loud,  like they were intoxicated and they shouted and pushed people. Making their way to the vehicle rear. The bus being full,  they sat on the floor.  One of them hassled the Young gentleman and asked what he was ‘teaching’ about. The Young man said he was teaching about AIDs to which the former jovially called out one of his mates and told him that he had to pay attention.

It was at this moment that the young man took off his pair of shades. Blood of Jesus Christ! His eyes.  I could see the Young man’s eyes and they were a sight not for sore eyes this time,  for sober eyes may be.  They were dilated,  like Heimdal’s, only that these did not have a light in them like the Asgard gatekeeper’s.  They were pale eyes,  with a reddish hue all around and the pupils were not black at all.  They were watery grey.  Then for an unknown reason, they were protruding… a human with dilated lizard eyes.

“What do you think happened to my eyes?” The whole vehicle hushed.  The Young man repeated his question and no-one had an answer.  So he moved around,  staring us in the face, to give us a closer look at hell.
“I am a student, in my second Year at the Kampala International University.” he said.  “ You wonder why I am not in class like the rest,  why I am here on a bus full of people, teaching about AIDS. Well,  I am a patient of the same.  Father and Mother are both deceased and I am entirely unaware of how I contracted the disease.  All I know is that I have been taking ARV  ever since I was a kid. Have you ever seen the drug before?”
He proceeded to fish out his pocket, a small tin and opened it, then showed us a huge tablet. But is it even a tablet or common stone.

The size of it will shock you. 

“Two years ago,” the Young man retrieved his tale,  “living in hostel,  one of my roommates asked me boldly.”
“Moses,  you always take tablets every day.  What kind of disease is that,  that never heals?”
“ I broke down and cried almost immediately.  And then I resolved never to take the tablets again. So just like that, I stopped the daily dosage.  Pleas from the doctors fell on caged ears and for one year and two months,  I could not take the tablets no matter what. Then on a cold afternoon,  my eyes started paining.  In a short while,  they were bleeding bloody puss. I could not see anymore.  The doctors said my pride had caught up with me finally, that I would now dance to the tune I had so beautifully orchestrated. I went to the eye clinic in Mbale and they said I would need a surgery.  Ten million Ugandan shillings. My bank balance at the time was 23,900 Ugandan shillings only and having auctioned  piece of land, my sole inheritance from late father,  I could only raise three million…”
He needed not mention the rest of the story, we were almost immediately in our pockets,  looking to make a contribution to this young man’s predicament.

Kampala is not just mere buildings,  the city dwellers always say. You can be conned clean in broad daylight.  May be this man was an advanced conman who had just mastered the art.  May be not.  Whatever the case was,  I think he was good enough and I would be proud to have fallen prey to his tale not failing to mention that I would fall for it time and over again.

I stared out of the window,  looking at the rolling grassland plains of Sanga,  dotted with feeding cattle.  I wondered who ordained that a young man bear the burden of his parents, that a soul must live with the looming harsh reality of the uncertainty of tomorrow.  Life could surely be cruel.

Looking at the size of those tablets,  turning them over and over in my mind,  I could tell which choice of prevention I am going to stick to. I pictured the last time I had unprotected sex so vividly and I shuddered at what a fool I had been.  I would definitely go for a test the following day and then live out the rest of my days abstaining.  That was a fortnight ago,  I haven’t tested yet.  Everyday I say a little prayer to God to have mercy on his lost sheep. I hope you do too.

Sunday, 19 March 2017


"So,  do you believe in predestination?"

I have,  on more than several occasions, asked this question,  both to myself and the people I consider but most especially the ones that confess to be grown in the faith.  For a conscious mind,  they usually hesitate to supply an answer.  Most have usually not thought about it beforehand but it is such a burning concept that one understands what it means in a short time. One’s face will be creased with a smile as they supply a stark “yes” or a dodgy “no” although interestingly,  most will look to evade either with a counter explanation that conforms to what they believe in.

One thing is obvious. Either answer is an ideological trap. One answering in the affirmative, will be acknowledging the omniscience God. This in itself implies quite an array of assertions.  That God for example knew before hand and actually willed it that Eve would harvest the raw apple before ripening. He knew it that the willy serpent would successfully persuade naïve Eve and that Adam too would not stand the test of time.  It would mean that He knew the battle would be lost and yet His majesty went ahead to issue a stern warning against the harvesting of the apple before He had authorized It.  Do you see where I am going?

The affirmative answer to the question would imply that God knows everyone before they are born and duly knows what they shall do,  when they will die and what their fate in the afterlife shall be.  He would know that Kony for example shall see it fit to rape young girls and mutilate countless bodies or that Hitler would be a menace to a certain minority yet He would go ahead to allow the people set foot on earth.  That means that He actually willed it that the better proportion us come to earth,  make wonderful nuisances of ourselves and there after proceed to the eternal agony of the hot flames while a select few suffer here on earth and then proceed to an ephemeral rendezvous in paradise.

That would make the world the Lord’s play thing,  like a toy or a novel,  where some characters are in it to die,  play prop or obey whatever whims the writer sees fit.  I mean it would sound like the Lord just created the universe and decided to throw in a bunch of miniature dogs,  to fight,  mistreat each other, drive cars, go to the moon and think they have made it in life and then die while He invited some over for tea and others burned in Hell.  Sounds hypocritical to me,  I do not know about you.

The negative answer is not any better.  The failure to believe in predestination actually doubts the omniscience  of God.  This would cast a shade on the other qualities, omnipotence  in particular.  It would therefore mean that something’s are beyond God’s control and that when push comes to shove, He does not know what will become of us or what will happen in the end. Now,  there is a common belief,  as asserted in the Bible too,  about the final battle , then, when God shall defeat Lucifer so magnificently and then proceed to claim His rightful place.  What if He is not sure about this too?  What if He was to lose this battle given the fact that Something’s are beyond his control?  I mean at the moment,  things are not looking good for team heaven.  Homosexuality, disease,  war,  famine and a lot of stupidity which are All evils attributed to the devil.  I mean the devil has claimed people like Kaweesi, Muhamad Ali and Micheal Jackson. Why would you ever take these while Justin Beiber and Kim Kardashian  are left standing?
What if the devil was to play a Bayern on Arsenal on the final battle?

There are voices in my head, questions that need to be answered and these keep me awake.  Someone schedule a meeting for me with the Pope,  I will meet Kayanja there after,  the Mufti and Mama Fina.  May be they can put my heart to rest.

Is it all an illusion?  Have we been played? 

Wednesday, 8 March 2017


Men are obsessed with plans. In our human minds,  we fantasize,  lay out and visualize the perfect outcome of our ventures. We draw out the best and worst possible scenarios and swear upon our grandfather’s graves that A to Z is the best we can ever have.  The truth is, nothing ever comes out according to the perfect plan, at least not to the letter. After all,  the first men did not know that meat tasted better with salt. I have a feeling that in the beginning,  men thought bananas must ripen before consumption.  Now we just harvest them green,  heat them up and speed up the process.  Dots can only be connected backwards. 

What we don’t realize is that we are scared, extremely terrified that when push comes to shove,  we shall in despair,  blame ourselves for having done nothing or failing to do something about it in the least. In the end however,  we always go along with plan Z.  That, which always inevitably happens, that we had not foreseen.  The first girl that your teacher forced you to seat with who later became the puppy love of your dreams.  That stranger on the bus that ended up being the mother of your son. The time you forgot your cap at the café and met your current boss on the way back.  In the end,  we always sit back and relax,  think to ourselves that after all things have not been ‘that bad’.

The king Odysseus, a proud suitor to the most beautiful Helen. You bet he had everything in plan.  Win fair Helen’s heart,  have a hoard of sons and live out the rest of his loyal life basking in Glory.  Helen of course chose Menelaus.  King Odysseus settled for Penelope and look how they ended up.  Who would have thought? Helen ended up a whoring disgrace,  seduced by a boy playing a harp.  Penelope to this day still represents fidelity,  having held on for decades. If the sands of time were to flow,  any man who would choose Helen over Penelope would be the essence of dimwittedness.

Looking back at my life,  I realize the need for auto pilot. Sometimes we need not worry about the next step,  may be sometimes,  we need to just close our eyes,  rest,  Laugh easy and let nature take its course.
After highschool,  it was evident that I needed a miracle.  I needed astate sponsorship for me to proceed to university ,  short of which I had to ‘sit and dig’ like the phrase goes.  My perfect plan and it’s back up visualized me doing a bachelor of Laws,  the most prestigious of social arts courses. Most of us, having failed to live up to our parents science dream,  always fancied Law as the next best thing.  I failed the preentry exam or at least, the 66% that I scored could not let me onto the state sponsorship.  I settled for a bachelor of International business and the cogs turned.  Look where it got me. To the shores of the Baltic!  I got to live through the ice cold northern European nights and like I always muse, had I excelled in that exam,  I would not be here.

We can only get as far manipulating the future. Something’s are better left to God,  fate or even science,  whatever one chooses to guide them. There is always a plan Z that we can’t foresee and just like I always say,  what happened is always the best that did, after all nothing better did. 

Wednesday, 8 February 2017



Siku njema huonekana asubuhi. The coastal dwellers always say. A good day manifests itself at dawn. Contrary to the good day however, the bad day is not interested in revealing itself beforehand. It will just sit back, relax, take a breather and probably visit its friends to sip on tea and then wait for the right moment to strike. And just like that, in a trice, you will be declaring it the worst day of your life.

On a fine Saturday morning, we relaxed at hostel, slept our behinds off and then indolently had lunch. Mayanja, the class motor mouth had been proclaiming all week that Saturday was the day the Lord had planned. A birthday of sorts. So in high spirits we waited for evening to set in.

We drove off to the venue, Michael getting directions on phone, Mutebi on the steering. We manoeuvred the Bugolobi neighbourhood till we got to the party. The disappointment, we could not hide. There were no drinks in sight. All they had were a few bottles of soda on the table, the music mediocre and the high school style MC who kept on blubbering high school slang. Not the place we wanted to be. We stuck around for a while. The bottle game began. You hold a bottle and as soon as the Dj starts playing a song, you pass it on till the song is cut short and the culprit with the bottle stands up and is given a task. Campus demands that the commonest task be dancing with a female, usually one you do not know about. This was certainly not the day the Lord had planned.

It is at that moment that we remembered Janet’s birthday. Hurriedly we excused ourselves and headed to Wink Bar in Kololo. Here, we were not disappointed. Although we had spent two years in the same class and hostel block, Janet was not my friend. Often I would pass her up on my way to campus and we never greeted each other. I was therefore surprised when she hugged me and cordially led us to a secluded spot in the bar gardens. One Guinness after another. The cake was cut. We ordered a round of shisha, the first and second last time I ever tried it.

The festivities got done close to midnight and that was still too early to call it a night. First, we headed to Casa. It lacked the lure. Just old white men and young promiscuous ladies out to considerably dent the former’s wallets. Then we went to Nagulu, Panamera first. Arrogant Banyankole men, sitting and drinking like it was their last day on planet earth. Bouncers moving up and down asking the rest why they had no drink in their hands. The night was bound to end at Legends Sports Bar. This one never disappoints. Loud good old music, a jovial crowd, beer, the smell of roast pork on skewers and an open space for bone shaking. Ah, the good old times, before they started making us pay for entry. Banger after another and this time it was surely late. So we decided to converge and head home.

Ahmed who had wondered off had to be called. So I, glass of the bitters in hand, followed him. Pushing people out of the way until I caught up with him, tapped him on the shoulder and let him know we were leaving. He turned around and led the way. The Dj changed song and every one bleated to Chris Brown’s Loyal intro. So I did a slow jump and turned around, to the opposite direction.    

 That’s when I was swept up. Huge men, Dwayne Johnson’s size hustled me. I could tell by their midnight complexion that their surnames begin with an ‘O’. One scuffed me by the collar so violently that my tie button flew off.
“I’ve got the rascal!”
The huge black men then descended upon me and started thumping, like I was a venomous African snake. One rained a fist on my left jaw. Decibels of pain raced up and down my spine, numbing me in the process. It is common practice in Africa that a thief be taken as a common enemy. Within a short while therefore, a sizeable mob had formed around me, kicking, battering and showering blows on my head.
“Wuuyo. Wuuyo omubbi.” They chorused.

The huge men decided to rush me to security.  It all happened in a rush and I was just there stupefied. It felt like an extremely bad dream save for the little detail that the pain was real, and I was being mobbed for apparently pickpocketing a huge black man. I could feel my mouth getting heavy and the bruises forming. Despite the haze around me, I knew that my face now looked like I had poked it in a beehive.

It always gets worse.
“Who are you?”
“I am a student.”
“Where is your ID?
“I don’t have the ID. We haven’t got them yet.” I desperately blurted out.
The mean looking security guy smirked at me with the all-knowing we-know-your-kind face. The only piece of identification I had on me was a black and white NSSF card. They were not convinced.
“Bino babija ku Nasser Road”. They said.
Great. My only form of identification was hurriedly dismissed as a forgery. The security guy handcuffed me and took me to the dock, complete with iron bars. Now I was a convict. He said he would take me to Police. Inside, I slumped down, heaved a sigh of worry and wondered why God had decided to take watch a movie at such a time of need.

God must have woken up just in the nick of time. Thirty minutes later, the security guy came, opened the iron bar door and shoved me outside. He un-cuffed me and threw me out of the gate. 2.30 am. I would not locate Mutebi. I had no coin on me, having spent the whole of it on the bitters. I was going to walk to Nakawa on foot. I quickly recited a Hail Mary and sauntered away from the music.
The sound of an engine revved up behind me. Probably one of the drunk night revellers going home.
“You guy. Where the f*ck have you been?”

Mutebi. I said the name like a prayer. I could have cried tears of Joy. He had returned to transport a second shift, the Toyota Subaru being a little too small for the whole lot of us. I hopped into the back seat, with three other ladies, reeking of Red Label.
“Where have you been, we combed up the place and you were nowhere to be seen!”
Excellent. So no one had witnessed the ordeal. I sighed and leant back, stared out of the car window as we sped off. It was something I would take to my grave. I have a blog though, so my death house will be robbed of one dark secret. The day that will arguably pass as my worst.

Saturday, 21 January 2017


Dating tends to be akin to walking through a murky, reptile infested stream in an equatorial jungle. You have to tread carefully, lest you be mauled by an alligator or you get swallowed by a humongous snake out to get an early breakfast. This is always so, especially when your financial skeletal system is a little bit below the average national levels of calcium required. You plan meticulously before you can part with a shilling which is almost every time you get to see your better half or the better half to be. Men are instinctual providers, this means that even in the event of her being well to do, it is hard to let her foot the bill two times in a row. You will begin to feel inadequate.

You have spent a week without seeing her and it is almost inevitable that you have to visit her. You will be there by five in the post meridian you say, but for some reason it is four forty five and you have not started on your journey. She texts you, demanding to know where you have reached and you will confidently tell her that you are at the taxi stage. You speed up, hurry to the taxi stage and the particular taxi in the lead only has two people in it. You cannot take the boda boda because it will end up consuming five times the portion of the budget allocated to transport. You take the front seat, pull out your Tecno M6, switch on the mobile data and it vibrates twelve times, that must be her.

“Are you coming or not?” She will break the silence.
“Of course am coming baby. What kind of question is that?” You will reply.
“Well you said you would be here by five p.m. if at all you had a watch, you should have realised that it is five minutes past your arrival time.”

The taxi starts moving and you will be filled with energy. Then you will turn around the corner and you will see the longest line of cars you have ever seen. Traffic Jam. God’s timing never seems so imperfect until now. It is coming to six. The phone will ring.
“Where are you?”
 “I am at Spear now sweetheart.” You will reply, trying to incorporate a hearty lilt in your voice, unsuccessfully so.
Everyone in the taxi will turn and train their eyes towards you. It is not because you have green eyes or webbed hands. It is because you are stuck in jam at clock tower, a long way from your location on the phone. You will start feeling like a lying idiot for a minute until the back seat is filled with the ringing of a phone. The person will claim they are in Ntinda. Perfect, time has vindicated you.

There are times which are so bad the devil will not take credit for it. This one time she will be sick. You will head there thinking it is only a cold, only to find she is down with the worst fever you have ever seen. You will head out looking for a pharmacy but the place being upscale, the only one you will find is Vine Pharmaceuticals. No mom and pop drug shops around here. When the pompous young lady behind the counter tells you that half a dose of Coartem goes for 10,000 shillings ‘only’, you will smile, pull out your wallet and train it towards the light and see the lone five thousand shilling note carefully folded in the corner, and then you will clear your voice and ask for quarter dose. I tell you.
Oh the sound, of an empty wallet!

A friend of a friend of a friend of mine has a girlfriend. She is one of these upstate cute little things that has become so assimilated to the city that she ‘craves’ pizza despite lacking a foetus in her belly. Pizza, not chicken! For if it were the in the latter’s case, eleven thousand shillings on the streets of Kitintale could get you a whole chicken. Pizza. Reminds me of the time father used to equip me for a school term with fifty thousand shillings. That is a four month’s budget down the drain at Nandos, excluding transport to and fro.

For people that were tempted only by a third party in the Garden of Eden. God punishes men far too worse.