Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Perspective | On The Brand New Lt. General Muhoozi and Workplace Promotions

That the first son is now a three-star General is no longer news, having completed his official decoration three days ago, on February 19, 2019. Technically, it paves the way for the CDF transition from one Muhoozi to another.

Army things are complicated, they say. But not even those who understand them will are willing to discuss them. We are advised to leave issues of Generals to Generals, they say. Their secrets remained as tightly guarded as those of a doomsday cult.

But that’s not the point of our speculative chitchat, today.

It’s the factors that trigger these promotions. We grew up listening to tales about the most daring of soldier tales. Names like Pangarasio Onek. Oyite Ojok. Isaac Maliyamungu. Suicide Katungi. Tadeo Kanyankore. And others.

One would imagine these to have belonged to the topmost of army echelons at their peak. So why bow out at lower ranks than their reputations suggested? It could be strategy, loyalty, tactical nous or leadership guile.

Perhaps, it’s a combination of all factors. Most of the Generals we have today have interesting sides to their stories. General Saleh was said to have been so daring that at some point, one of his alternative noms de guerre was “Rufu” (death). By the time Paul Kagame repartriated himself back to +250, he was known in his circles as “Pilato” (from Pontious Pilate).

Others had friendlier names, like Eriya Mwine (Chefe Ali). And David Tinyefuza was called Mashurubu, not because his overgrown moustache made his face look like a shrub, but because mashurubu is swahili for moustache.

Their seemingly less-decorated peers remind me of the hustle I’ve seen once too often in the corporate world. There are those techies who quickly take the leap and move on. Three years into the profession, somebody has done all those courses that give people airs of corporate gods. ITIL, CISA, PMP, Et Cetera. They are now Senior Manager, Technology something-something. I was told a story of one guy who rose to the top without having ever run an end-to-end project.

Then there are techies who find comfort in being technical foot soldiers. The blue/black screen guys. Guys who won’t take the downward graduation (yeah, that oxymoron) from playing with code to working with Excel spreadsheets and powerpoint presentations.

10 years into the profession, someone still stares at a back screen with tiny dancing white characters on a black screen in the face of an emergency. A client, bandying themselves as the face of the business, rubbernecks behind in anticipation of a quick solution.

An hour of mini cardiac arrests and sweaty troubleshooting and scratching every pore of their skin ensues. When the storm is finally over, techie breathes a heavy sigh of relief and mutters something.

“Kalas! Please test again”
, asks Mr. Resident Magician.

The erstwhile restive face-of-the-business now runs a few checks before letting slip a wide grin. “But where do you guys learn this stuff from – school?”, asks a silky tone. Some get laid for this.

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