Tuesday, November 21, 2006


The scene is the Tusker Challenge show at Nairobi’s Carnivore shown on UBC. One of the judges, Ian, is having an exchange of words with the show’s presenters including Gaetano Kaggwa.

IAN: … we are tired of producing ‘one-hit wonder’ musicians in East Africa. What we need is popular artistes that can produce hit after hit, album after album.

GAETANO: … but we have them …

IAN: Okay, name me just five artistes in the whole of East Africa that have produced more than one popular album.

GAETANO: Okay. I’ll start with Uganda. We have Chameleon (applause and screams), we have … ummm … Bobby Wine …

IAN (interrupts): … NEVER HEARD OF HIM!

ME (thinking aloud): OUCH!


Dear Editor (www.newvision.co.ug),

When the MP for Aruu County in Acholi got access to some hundreds of millions of shillings, he invested in a mansion in a lakeside village in Buganda. Just that village alone in Makindye Division East, represented by Michael Mabikke, has a combined property value that could be triple the value of the whole of Aruu County. I wonder how much of that investment in the mansion made it to Aruu because I think the porters, water, building materials, electricals and other inputs all were sourced from Mabikke’s constituency. In that scenario, we do not even need to give points for guessing whose constituency gained economically from Otto’s investment – it is a no-brainer.

Some people have questioned why we should have age limits in the constitution for persons that can offer themselves to run for the presidency of the country. Otto’s outburst about spearing anyone who dared invest in his constituents’ resources (never mind that he has softened this stand) answers them. As for MP Okello Okello’s similar sentiments, I just cannot comprehend. He is so incredible that they named twice! I cannot imagine how much Otto would have been able to do with the hundreds of millions of shillings he spent on a luxurious roof for his family if he had invested it in Aruu County, but I know it would have been something quite significant. After all, is it not the votes of the peasant and unemployed voters of Aruu that are responsible for his being able to be employed in his current job which has given him access to those hundreds of millions of shillings? It seems to me that any investment in Aruu would be a threat to Otto’s stature as the ‘King of Aruu’. A richer citizenry, it seems, creates a more enlightened and progressive community and such a community is very demanding and forces the ‘king’ to think, which is something that the ‘king’ abhors.

Citizens of Aruu, you know best what you want. Otto’s family is very comfortable. It is your children that are hungry, walking long distances to school, health centres and water sources; it is your children that are dying from preventable and curable diseases, not your MP’s. You already have enough problems in your land. What you need to overcome them are allies, one of whom is Otto. Consider him an ally to you because he chose to invest huge sums of money in somebody else’s constituency and he was not speared (is he spear proof?). There is absolutely no reason why he should scare away and discourage any potential ally who might be considering associating with you. You have always protected your land from more violent, unfriendly forces and I see no reason why it should be different in the twenty first century. If you need money to invest in yourself and your family, and for the future, you should be able to use any resource at your disposal, including land, as long as it is the right one.

Martin Makara,