What's up: Kalungi Kabuye
It was sign of the times a few weeks ago when we were watching the latest Big Brother evictions. As a twist in the game, new, ‘fake’ housemates were to be introduced in the house, and one of these was a pretty Ugandan girl named Sophie.
She had hardly said two sentences when one guy posted a comment, “so Ugandans can only go in the house as fake housemates, he he he”.
A few weeks ago, I would have been mad as hell at this guy, but now I know better. So I just replied “I do not see how you even think that is funny.” He kept quiet.
There is this other friend and colleague who I have known for years. Recently she got married and moved to Nairobi, Kenya, and all of a sudden, nothing about Uganda is good for her.
She cannot understand why there are very few traffic lights on the roads, or why many manholes are gaping open.
She hates the fact that there are policemen all over the place, especially since the bombing at Kyadondo Rugby Club happened all those years ago.
She laughed how her daughter described the Bugolobi Road as a torn blanket.
Now this woman has lived in Uganda all her life, and in fact built a house in Wakiso district, where her daughter grew up playing in the dirt.
The same daughter who laughed at the potholed road in Bugolobi. She did not get my joke when I asked her what they called chicken in Nairobi.
Another colleague got married and now lives in the UK, and now she does not understand Ugandans and their behaviour.
She complains how Ugandans are always asking her for money, how they beep her and expect her to call back; and always asking her to bring things for them from London. She conveniently forgot that a few years ago she was doing the same thing.
I tried to explain to her how we guys buy stuff from Amazon using our Visa cards, but she refused to understand, and insisted that Ugandans are still very much in the dark ages, and needed her help to attain the quirks of civilisation. Guess her relatives are still stuck in some forest somewhere.
Then there is this friend I used to have on facebook. ‘Used to’ have because I un-friended her, just could not deal with all the negativity she would come up with day after day.
No matter what happened, she ranted against the Government. If she woke up and stubbed her toe on the table in the kitchen, it was the Government’s fault. And she was not joking.
Another colleague blamed a friend’s father’s death from cancer on the same Government.
He would not take it when we pointed out that the biggest cause of death in the so-called ‘civilised world’ is cancer. To him everything that is wrong in this world is the fault of the Government of Uganda.
That cop he bribed in order not to go to court for causing an accident? It is the Government’s fault. Even that gatekeeper at the warehouse where bought material from, that money he gave him so he could smuggle out more than he actually paid for? Still the Government’s fault.
The most common used clause on social media these days is ‘only in Uganda’. And it is not used with sparkling pride. When that petrol tanker was involved in an accident on the Northern Bypass and dozens of people died trying to siphon fuel, it could only happen in Uganda, they said. And it was all Government conspiracy to reduce the number of opposition voters in the city.
When it was pointed out that the same thing happens all over the world, and that in Kenya such an accident had wiped out a whole village that had come to collect fuel, they insisted it was Uganda’s influence. And in any case the people are poor because of the Government, and are only trying survive.
That boda guy who grabbed a lady’s handbag and rode off with all her rent money? He was only trying to survive, same as those thugs that broke down your neighbour’s door, bashed his head, and took off with his TV screen. Yup, it is the Government’s fault.
At a health club in Ntinda last week, a group of guys were involved in a heated debate whether Makerere University was actually ranked fourth in Africa as news reports had it.
They said it could not be true, and that the Government had somehow rigged the results to impress investors.
Then when Transparency International published its Corruption Index and showed that Uganda had improved it ranking, just one place behind Tanzania and beating out Kenya, they refused to accept it, and said it was all Government propaganda.
For some reason, many people confuse disagreeing with the policies of the Government in power to the country they live in. If they do not like the Government, or the President, then they do not like the country either.
That is the mistake that Ugandan-turned-more-Kenyan-than-the-Kenyans makes; she thinks by bashing Uganda, she is bashing Museveni.
That guy who is broke because the deal he was chasing did not go through, will say Uganda is the most difficult country to live in, and it is all the Government’s fault.
What did Malcolm X say about hating oneself?
“You cannot hate the roots of the tree without ending up hating the tree. You cannot hate your origin without ending up hating yourself. You cannot hate the land, your motherland, the place that you come from, and we cannot hate Africa without ending up hating ourselves.”
Catch KK on twitter @KalungiKabuye)