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Monday, March 6, 2017

Commentary | Issa Hayatou hungers for more

Power corrupts, they say. But someone should probably do a study on this psychological disorder that appears to afflict many an African leader.

Having successfully negotiated his way round the CAF statute that bars officials from serving past 70, the Cameroonian now has the green light to seek a re-election that could see him extend his reign to 32 years, having been at the helm of African football since 1988.

That he needs a monthly trip to France for dialysis treatment (he underwent a kidney transplant in 2015) should be reason enough for him to take a break and enjoy some of that fortune he’s built over the past 28 years.

Even if he hadn’t (which is unlikely), he should be having a handsome commission off that $1 billion CAF broadcast deal that he helped sell to French media company Lagardère Sports, using his son as a proxy (the firm would later charge an arm and a leg to any country that wished to relay the tournament, which is partly why UBC couldn’t afford the service).

His most recent victory in 2013 had been won at a canter (after – reportedly – buying his way to victory). But 2017 promises to present him his toughest challenge.

Criticism and opposition appears to spring from all corners, from soccer luminaries of yesteryears like Ghana’s Abedi Pele to FAs like Nigeria, as well as regional soccer bodies like COSAFA. 

Still stuck in no man’s land is CECAFA (no surprises, there), who are yet to decide whether they either want to see the light or blindly go for "No Change".

The biggest challenge to Hayatou’s throne comes in the name of Ahmad Ahmad, the Madagascar FA boss who shows no signs of withering to his machinations.

The latest to join the "Hayatou Out" brigade is Souleiman Hassan Waberi, the Djibouti FA chief. Weberi hopes to have the rest of the CECAFA members on his side.

But FUFA’s Moses Magogo insists theirs remains a secret vote – which most definitely means he will be going with whoever greases his palm better. We can only wait and watch the space.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Tribute | Fare thee well, Bonney Katatumba

“Katatumba Academy /
Is the School for you and me / “

Thus went a Radio Uganda jingle for Katatumba Academy, back in the day, circa 1997. This was one of the several ventures that fallen businessman Bonney Katatumba tried a hand at.

Katatumba Academy, back in the day, held annual quiz competitions for schools within Nkore region. Pleasurable moments like these usually gave us opportunity to mingle with students from other schools in semi-picnic setting, and (probably) set our hormones on a test drive.

Such galas were, generally, fun. People had fun and drank and ate to their fill. We did trivia and everything else that a good quiz competition should feature. Winners walked away with prizes, courtesy of the school’s management.

Colorful tales from peers who had been there before always beguiled a teenage me, making me look forward to the day I would have my chance.

It wasn’t to be long.

I still remember the day like it was yesterday. A five-man delegation of myself, John Mark Ssebunya, Amos Nuwagaba, Chris Mukwaba and a fifth guy (I forget the name) floored our competitors with a record margin, emerging top of the pack. Among the prize items we took were five crates of Coke (which was a still a big deal, then).

So we made a colorful return to our school with swag, each of us feeling like a young Jesus during that triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

This was one of my earliest memories about Bonney Katatumba. Today, the good old businessman succumbed to a combination of pneumonia and Asthma in what should be a sad day for anyone who knew him, and/or had interacted with him on one way or another.

Since condolences to the bereaved family. We grieve with you. And may the good lord comfort you during this difficult moment.

Rest thee well, Bonney.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Music | The truth behind Mbilia Bel’s legendary hit, Nakei Nairobi

Nakei Nairobi (I am going to Nairobi) actually had two versions. In the original version, Mbilia Bel sang about Duni (Elodie), a childhood friend who had gone to stay in Nairobi, a friend she now missed.

She heard about the issues this friend was facing in a foreign land, so she decided to go and bring her back to Kinshasa.

When Moi executed his madness of banning foreign music, Tabu Ley - who had written the song - decided to twist the original version and come up with a Kiswahili version.

The new lyrics were changed to mean entirely something different from what had been originally sang about. This new version went like: "Tuende Nairobi, tumuimbie baba Moi (Let’s go go to Nairobi, so we may sing for baba Moi").

Listen to the original version and you will see the differences. The song talks about a certain Duni, in the chorus;

"Nakei Nairobi, po na salisa Duni /
Nakei Nairobi; /
Na ko zonga na Duni"

Meaning:

"I'm in Nairobi /
To lend a helping hand Duni /
I'm in Nairobi /
I will bring Duni"

You also realize that she talks about her and Duni having grown up together, like twins and stuff.

"Na yoki Nzambe motindo ya mpasi, ba nyokoli yo /
Yaka pembeni nazali se wayo ya motema /
To vandi bo mwana, to meseni nga nayo, Dunia /
To bandi bo mwana, ki moninga na miso ya mama /
Ezali mabe nayoka okomi na pasi naza te /
Na koya na kenya na ya ko zwa yo tozonga /
na Kinshasa. Ya Elodie, mapasa /
lokumu ya famille o ti wapi? /
Ya Elodie, mapasa /"

Meaning (translation may not bring out the exact picture, but you get the point);

"I have heard of the problems that now bother you /
Come to me, my heart is your home /
From the childhood we’ve been there for each other, Dunya /
A childhood friendship, born under the watchful eye of my mother /
It is terrible to heard that you fall sick and I am not able to help you /
I will go to Kenya to bring you back to Kinshasa /
Please Elodie, my twin /
What have you done to your family’s name?" 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Lifestyle | Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem! That’s what is on my mind, this morning.

Taken from Book 1 of the Roman poet Horace's work - Odes (23 BC), Carpe Diem is Latin for "Seize the day" (I love poetry, but I haven’t read this particular book – in case you were about to mistake me for some pedantic poetry aficionado).

It is an abridged form of the phrase: "carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero", meaning "Seize the day, put very little trust in tomorrow" (Wikipedia).

If you – like me – grew up in the village in the late 90s and early 2000s and happened to have followed Sports shows on Radio Uganda (Green Channel, to be exact), you must have heard about some guy called Kenneth Musisi. Musisi worked alongside the likes of Sam Mpoza (who has since joined NTV).

One Tuesday evening, Musisi said he had a "grand announcement" to make. He said he would be introducing someone "we should get used to", on his show, the following week. Someone who would step in whenever he was away. He would also co-present with him, once in a while.

That person was Innocent. Innocent Tegusuulwa. One thing led to another, and Innocent later found his way on Bukedde TV. He’s since turned into a motivational speaker of sorts, among other trades.

He is the guy who coined that now famous Luganda mantra: "Toli Mwavu, omutwegwo gwe mwavu" – which may be translated to: "You are not poor; You just have a poor mindset".

Tegusuulwa seized his moment, and has since never looked back. Today, he is certainly a bigger brand than the man who introduced him onto the scene (does Musisi still do sports, anyone?).

His is one of the several examples anyone could give you off-the-cuff, of different people who have gotten chances and taken them with both hands.

Chance knocks once, they say. But sometimes several of them come your way. Opportunities that have capacity to turn your fortunes for good.

Sometimes the magic bullet to your quest for success could lie in that one opportunity. Take it and your dreams could come true, pretty much sooner. Bungle it and you’ll be left licking your wounds. Forever.

#TheRoadNotTaken

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Business | Quality Supermarket Ntinda Closed



So, Quality Supermarket Ntinda has folded. 

It looks like the purchasing power for the folks that shop from, or stay around Ntinda was overestimated. Or maybe the projections were wrong. 

For a business in such a prime location, one would have expected them to stay afloat. After all, a couple of competitor stores remain in business and – seemingly – doing well.

The guys at Tuskys’ seem to have gotten over that rotten chicken scandal and turned their fortunes around – at least going by the shopping traffic. Capital Shoppers does remain solid, too. 

Now, since management deemed it wise not to communicate the reason for this move, we shall be left to speculate on what could have gone wrong; 

1) Variety and pricing. Each of the other competitors had a better variety of products. 

Quality Supermarket had no food section, aside from a small area of the building that featured cakes and – seldom – oily beef Samosas.

Compare this with Tuskys and Capital shoppers that have a wider range of services ranging from food to bits of furniture and other products. 

Unless I had a particular item I wanted from Quality, it was always going to be difficult for me to make Quality Supermarket my first port of call. 

2) Business hours. For the few times I tried accessing the place past 9PM, the staff were always in retirement mood. 

It wasn’t uncommon to find those mean-looking security guards manning a wet entrance with puddles of filthy water. 

If you went to Quality Supermarket wearing some thin-soled footwear, you were almost certain to earn yourself a free muddy footbath. 

Cleaning for the next day would have commenced already. 

3) Parking. Despite the seemingly ample parking at the complex that housed the supermarket, it wasn’t always easy to find parking. 

This could also probably be due to the different businesses in the area. The guys who occupied most of the parking were probably doing different business, for the tills almost always had no queues.

4) Probably the landlord saw it fit to increase rent, and the guys couldn’t cope. This is another theory that has been thrown around. We can only speculate. 

Any positive points? 

It certainly wasn’t always gloom at Quality. Some items were fairly priced. They also had a knack of having that one item that would have eluded you elsewhere in the neighborhood.

They had some decent cake, and their in-house bakery had that 1Kg bread that always felt 1.5 times heavier than the 1Kg inscribed on the sachet.

Oh, and the customer service wasn’t exactly as awful as that at any of those Mega Standard Supermarket branches.