And now, once again, announcing the return of These Files!

On Wednesday, September 2010, I emphatically proclaimed the return to blogging and even offered a grandiose banger. The last post went up two months shy of some three years ago to date. I can’t resist copying and pasting what I said then: “The story of the long absence is, to use a tired cliché, a long one. There will, however, be time to tell it.” The only proviso now is I won’t make any promises when to tell it but that it shall be told, that is without doubt.

Again, to copy and paste: “These files contain ideas and musings, and, well, everything else. Eih, and also guest posts. You’ve got something you want to react to or say and you feel the comment section won’t do you justice? Ask for some guest space, it’s all waiting for you.”

Anybody who remembers the Files from the (not a) long time ago, will realise a certain post has been reviewed and recalled. That is as it should be. Anyone curious enough will prod and, maybe, a long explanation will be provided.
This too I shall copy and paste: “A huh, what haven’t I said? It’s exciting to be back. Let’s share ideas and thoughts. We can’t do anything more exciting than that. Or maybe we can. You tell me.”

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A few things to celebrate about the ‘new’ cabinet

Ordinarily, new cabinets should, and always, stir excitement. This is true of Uganda as any country. But what excitement is there when all ministers do is enjoy the perks that come with the job, pick their monthly pay cheques and throw around their newly acquired airs. One must try hard to find something exciting anyways and here’s a few I could think of after many days of tasking my mind:

1. Adieu Ms Agent of Irritation: That’s the moniker a journalist working for an international news agency christened former information minister Kabakumba Masiko and his colleagues couldn’t agree more. Hopefully, her replacement, woman of letters (and words) Karooro Okurut, will be better.

2. Adieu, too, man of a past era: there can be no better description of former internal affairs minister Kirunda Kivejinja. In his heyday, this man crystallised his brilliance by authoring one of the few fine books on Uganda’s history, a Crisis of Confidence. Yet the man who lied to the public over Dr Kizza Besigye’s brutal arrest was a different one from the revolutionary.

KK’s exit, however, is tempered by the fact that many more who could have left with him were kept around. Think of perennial sleepers Henry Kajura Muganwa and Gen. Moses Ali who was appointed deputy chief whip. One must wonder how he will whip others when he is enjoying his nap.

3. Adieu Mr Quiet Engineer: Quite frankly, I’m forcing this one because, well, because there can’t only be two things in a 76-person cabinet to celebrate about. John Nasasira, the man who has been works minister for nearly the last 25 years, has finally been moved.

Last year, Nasasira scoffed at a group of people who organised an exhibition of Kampala’s potholes, wondering what they’d exhibit this year after he had filled up all the potholes.

Unluckily for him, he’s no longer works minister but the potholes are still very much around.

Has ‘mahogany’ really fallen?

The story angle that Prof Gilbert Bukenya’s political star has fallen is too tempting to resist. I toyed with it and nibbled it here and there but I can’t say Daily Monitor was as cautious.

It’s true the man’s political astuteness was worse than weak. He turned both on his bed and his word, to rejig a little a phrase popularised by Eriya Kategaya, who is yet to be reconfirmed as first deputy premier and East African Community Affairs minister or handed a new docket.

Kategaya, let’s mention in a slight digression, went against the saying he invoked and returned to work with his childhood bud Yoweri Museveni after accusing him of going against everything they’d believed in and fought for.

That said, one thing you cannot deny the man who nicknamed himself mahogany (after the hardwood) to scoff at the so-called cabal of mafia that, according to him, were working tirelessly to bring him down is that, somehow, he made it difficult for them to chop him down (in keeping to his self given moniker).

You can berate this professor of public health, a distinguished malariologist and pioneer of the wildly successful upland rice initiative all you want about his choice of tactics in keeping a step ahead of the “mafia” until you fully appreciate that politics is about survival, which has no specified prescription.

Had he, for instance, been dropped in, say, 2005 when he scuttled to Daily Monitor to raise his own alarm against whoever he thought was interested in felling him, then perhaps it would be fair to say the “mafia” set the man’s political and social misdemeanours against him and he toppled over.

Regardless of how crucial those were in influencing the appointing authority’s decision, it’s pretty clear than in his good time, and in the absence of the myriad scandals that have come to define Bukenya’s political career, he who made him VP decided to unmake him.

Lest we forget, Bukenya was never going to be VP for life. It is not a position he was born into so he couldn’t die in it. He could fight for it yes, which he did, but that’s all he could do. Ultimately, the last word belonged to the appointing authority.

What is true is Bukenya’s light has lost a bit of its shine, as is to be expected. However, he can easily reignite it. For one, he still has a healthy chance of remaining powerful if he seeks, and wins, the secretary general position in the NRM, which he tried for last year and lost to now newly appointed premier Amama Mbabazi.

With all his much touted mobilisation and organisational skills, who can tell what he’s capable of doing in that position? There’s a cautionary tale in the man’s middle name Balibaseka. As his life has demonstrated, the last laugh seems to exclusively belong to him.

Eh actually, its not Yvonne!

You’ve got to wonder sometimes what kind of minds are behind some of the commercials in Uganda.

If you listen to especially radio, it’s likely you’ve heard the commercial promoting lifebuoy soap. It goes somewhat like this:

Voice I: ‘Hey, it’s Yvonne.’

Voice II: ‘Hi Yvonne.’

etc etc

The alluded Yvonne is venerated South African artiste Yvonne Chaka Chaka who is the face of the soap on the African continent.

The voice behind the commercial pretends its her. What’s worse, our Yvonne can even speak Luganda (all thanks to the translator.)

Leaves me wondering: 1) why couldn’t whoever is responsible actually get Yvonne to air a radio commercial in English and send it to Uganda; and 2) if they wanted the commercial translated in Luganda, why not find equally respectable people here as Yvonne (and they’re legion: Joanita Kawalya, Halima Namakula, just to mention two) to voice a Luganda commercial, hm?

Who are they kidding?

A contrast of eras

There are few times when you chance upon a perfectly representative image of ongoing transitions and Friday was one such time. Pity I didn’t have my camera with me. But then again, maybe I wouldn’t have been able to take the picture anyways.

Walking past parliament I saw a young guy somewhere in his 20s with an over-sized misbaha (Muslim prayer beads) going up to his waist; over-sized jeans he had not only folded below but could only prevent from slipping off him by continuously pulling them up and walking with a serious swag this way and that way; and a huge turban over his head that is most common with guys with long dreadlocks.

Right behind him was an elderly man about twice and half the young man’s age;   with a graying bald head; a shirt nearing the kind Nelson Mandela likes to wear; some khaki pants and old school business bag.

This man was as amused about the young lad in front of him as I was about the contrast in eras the two people represented.

Power is too sweet

From here on out

What will happen will happen

Power is too sweet to lose

— just like that

Graying laws will be dispensed with

Young ones birthed without a dint’s thought

Power is too sweet to lose

— just like that

Basic reason will be divorced

Brutality will return with vengeance

Blatant lies will be spun to new truths

Power is too sweet to lose

— just like that

***

Don’t show us our past

Only we can state it accurately

Power is too sweet to lose

— just like that

Fundamental change?

What fundamental change?

Respect for basic rights of all?

Are you daydreaming?

Democracy; Good governance; overstaying in power?

We shall deal with you

Power is too sweet to lose

— just like that

These files are back!

Hey nice people,

Here’s to announce that your favourite files are back! And read my words: There’ll be no turning back.

The story of the long absence, is, to use a tired cliche, a long one. There will, however, be time to tell it. And this time, no empty promises! It shall be told.

These files contain ideas and musings, and, well, everything else. Eih, and also guest posts. You’ve got something you want to react to or say and you feel the comment section won’t do you justice? Ask for some guest space, it’s all waiting for you.

A huh, what haven’t I said? It’s exciting to be back. Let’s share ideas and thoughts. We can’t do anything more exciting than that. Or may be we can. You tell me.