Surround Self with Awesomeness.

bright-future

The future is bright, it has always been. The image of what I want to make of my self gets more vivid and clearer every passing day – I want to transform society, I want to educate the less privileged, I wanna make a difference by feeding the world. Money will speak to me in tongues (Say Amen), I look forward to investing billions in my childhood passions for these never forsake our coming generations.

One hobby I purely hold dear is making others smile, be it through jokes or acts & sounds of humorous courtesy. Gazing at innocent happily smiling kids warms my heart the most, It is astonishing how they let go of all burdens and focus on a simple game for example.

I am not alone. Ooh I can list a handful of like-minded folks. Our passion for developing this motherland keeps us wondering what busied our predecessors’ thoughts. “How did they miss the obvious?”, I mean “How did they forsake their future?”

Fact is; 7 out of 10 youths roaming the city lately have a broken background for family, generational resentment haunting their progress, and negativity streaming live from every homestead. Many have thus chosen to play life safe; School-Job-Marry-Settle-Die (Not in this order at times). The key question remains unanswered: What is your legacy? What shall your grandest grand kids narrate of you to their friends in pride? You need to wake to this thought, at least twice a week: DEFINE YOUR FUTURE, as soon as yesterday.

Now here is a word to my fellow hustlers: Dear folks, as we make this world a better place, we need to understand that its a process that needs time, resources, determination, name it… It is impossible to impact change before transforming your self, this rhymes in line with the “Practice what you preach” slogan. Influence is built from within thy self, coupled with the zeal and confidence derived from the future self you see in the mirror.

The future ‘you’ has a lot to achieve, a highly respectable personality to protect and should thus be refined with absolute integrity. Do not let present-day hustle jeopardize your future principles of sound etiquette and trustworthiness. Everything you do in the early days of your life-story will follow you like loyal scars on the forehead if bad, – Well the good is mostly forgotten, after all we are here to add value: Take heart.

How can we do this? 

This begins by accepting the processes meant to refine us to our dream personas. A person that mismanages $10 will surely mismanage $10,000. Whatsoever we do now will more or less multiply with minimal variation. Embracing mentors can simplify the paradox, mostly if we go by the sound people we are willing to trade places with.

Most importantly; the people around you contribute a magnitude to your success. It is very okay to grow distant from ‘some friends’ – I call it ‘Natural selection’. Do not force people to stick around unless they add value (they add a unique flavor to your life).

Surround your self with an awesome quality of friends, ones that you look up to, those that constantly challenge you, and above all – you should have a common goal.

To be honest, nothing with a bright future comes easy. The struggle is real. Skipping lunch is absolutely OK after investing all your cash in something. Having to make phone calls but have no credit.  Time also reaches when you have a lot to accomplish online, but choose to sleep because you ran out of data.It is OK, do not curse. Smile, calm self down and pray for a better tomorrow.

Before i let you go; If you were confused by this post, It is Okay, just know I was equally confused. This thing of figuring thy self is quite hard. My faith however: I am more than ready.

The TAXI insider.

the-taxi-insider     I signed up for this uniform; I was given this blue rail belt before my license to carry specifically fourteen passengers. It also indicates am different from these airport six-sitter taxis.  My box body is also bigger than the yellow cabs I hearof in other developed countries. It is my responsibility to keep Ugandans mobile — Okay, minus a few that fancy boda-bodas or drive their borrowed if not acquired-on-loan cars. Nonetheless, if they don’t take buses, I remain their best if not only option for the long route transportation. KCCA Executive director, Jenipher Musisi launched the city’s passenger train in 2015 though it is barely my worry, the deep relationship I dug in my clientele is incomparable.

Life in Kampala has never been this challenging to me: waking up before 5am would not be a problem, but I was parked after 2am on an almost empty stomach, my heart is out of charge due to the full lights my steward engaged to cautiously  drive through the unlit streets, I can hardly feel my weary rubber feet, my shock absorbers that squeak all day are doing the same in my sleep because of this mere blowing wind. Unlike me, my drivers at times swap after loading passengers. Here comes my first steward  of the day, parts of my body are still burning with yesterday’s scotching sun and load of work despite the fact that I always sleep outside in the cold. It never matters whether I want to roam the busy streets or not, these guys take advantage of my inability to speak.
We have problems as a family, forget the wasi-wasi we exhibit in sprinting past one another for the next passenger, After accepting to work together with these fat guys – the likes of Pioneer and Wakula-Ennume,  I hear they are conspiring against us- forcing us out of our Kampala. We used to enjoy our city, now they took over the loading space opposite Mapeera House, They talk ill of us to the URA and KCCA, eventually our taxes, policies and penalties are thickened. Am however excited for these Rift Valley Railway foreigners, for one reason, we only cross one another minus sharing roads, passengers need to embrace them for time management. May the Holy Spirit consider a special visit for this, Amen.

The out-of-charge battery had given me hope for a longer rest but this driver is not a friend, jump-starting me to get on the road. My doctors in Kisekka Garage say my body is cracking down, it has been a year since I last visited them for service yet I hit potholes every day. My steward is also the worst at speed control, I hear passengers murmuring worries for their life, a few back sitters speak up to the driver and the only response comes from the taxi conductor:
“Abeemabega muziwereze …”
Those sitting at the back, forward your fare..!

lwanga-robertKampala on a warm afternoon. 6/DEC/2016

I have a clear blue ‘T’ logo printed on my cheeks, it looks more of a badge with an English motto “licensed to carry 14 passengers only”. My driver knows all spots where the traffic wardens station, plus when they leave and come back for duty. At night, the conductor compresses within me about 18 passengers at ago (Without counting kids), some having luggage, the driver sets off from the central park and drives past Namirembe road as though he is rushing to catch a catholic mass at the destination.
Seated passengers firmly hold my ribs as my feet hit humps, potholes and solid trash. Outside through the dirty glass is a marathon of buildings all running back to town. My people are rhythmically skipping up and back down into their seats. Silence is taking over every other second; I can sense their bodies in suspense and expectation of the next bumps.

Today has been a long day, most of these people are quiet, on calm casual days, voyages are often spiced up by stories, conversations, at times conflict not forgetting preaching which happens in seasons I forever failed to comprehend.
This back sitter is talking to her husband on the phone: basing on the conversation, we are a minute into Mengo, one of the hills on which Kampala City stands, in a soft voice she mentions “Am in Jinja, and I think am to spend the night this side..!” Passengers turning to one another in confusion, just as I was, the rest turn and look at her with that questioning stare. Rolling her eyes like a rabbit, she chooses to ignore every emotion. Meanwhile everyone halts into murmurs and mild giggles that force her to usher an early ‘goodnight darling’ phrase before rushing a hang up.

I work hard in festive, good thing is my stewards earn well and I stand higher chances of good meals plus seeing my doctors after the season. Last Eid, we were heading back to town. This lady and the kid must have enjoyed the foodie celebrations upcountry. Our long drive has cultivated eventual silence; it is only my body shouting from the engine to my turning feet, and to the changing of gears heard even by those sitting furthest from my driver. I suppose this kid is hungering with this two hour drive, perhaps he is in an all-Eid-eating mood, worst news is we are still an hour before entering town.
All over a sudden, a brave sound is breaking the silence “Maama, Soda?”. I am quite positive the mother understands what her kid means, but she insists to ignore the kid’s request, not with any verbal response either.
This kid is serious; I must say he means business. “Maama, Sooooooda?” He is saying this every passing minute or two. It is now that moment when every passenger is following the conversation but pretends not to be involved. It appears to us at this level of requisition, the kid is now asking from a subconscious mind
“Maama, Sooooooda?”
Everyone eagerly awaits the mom’s response, am not sure she has one lined up. Later on, just when all of us believe the disappointed kid is about to give up, He cautiously steps up his budget: “Maama, Sooooooda … and Chapatti?”
With the whole taxi bursting out in laughter, it appears everyone thought they were the only ones following. All of them are now reflecting on the boy’s five mile efforts gulping down in vain; the mother is astonished but spares her remarks for the next journey, perhaps one on these precious weak and short lasting Pioneer buses. Some people keep saying they belong to the yellow hat-ed “muzeyi”

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Pioneer buses

From today onwards, I vow to work harder for the better of Kampala City. No more making suited up gents feel out of place on my clutch-y rows of thin sofa, no more pin pointing first time arrive-rs, neither will I ask for less transport fees. I also vow to serve you my loyal passengers with passion that will even bring you offers like free transport back to town if you board me upcountry for the festive celebrations. I hereby pledge to stand by my word, for as long as boda-boda riders keep charging English speakers twice the non speakers’ charge on equivalent services.
Yours Sincerely,
The lost spare parts.

ROOTS OF #UGANDA’s CORRUPTION.

corruption-is-deadly

Who Are You?

This is one question majority of us find challenging to answer. As a matter of fact, most of us fail before we even start speaking; we are often introducing ourselves to the wrong audiences. Believe me or not, the above question no longer requires your name for an answer in this era. For that matter, I am also positive this question is best responded to by other individuals eager to speak on your behalf, the magic is in them not realizing they are doing so. How is that possible? – You will probe, and my response will forever be, once you do quality work in an efficient way, references will forever favour you. Just like a good reputation, people will deal and make business with your track of success instead of you as self. This will therefore give you room for better and better performance if you establish strong principles and etiquette.

With my informed landlord we have numerous educative chats ranging from day-to-day life stories to the historical facts half told if not never by the media and many writers. I came to appreciate the fact that people rich in age are often rich in knowledge, however, many of these endangered species – the likes of my landlord, have no clue on how to pass on these crucial pieces of knowledge and information to the younger generations given the continuous shifts in both the modes and priority mechanisms of communication, not forgetting the jet speed at which technology is evolving, always leaving these aged Ugandans miles back on the path of information flow.

The blame I take on behalf of our generation- the young and perceived “elite”. First and foremost the partial reference to our history, this self denial of our core roots plus the doctoring of past political statements will do us no long term good. Just like a business man only willing to share the success stories minus detailing his struggles and challenges, individuals learning from his path will never know what turbulences to expect along the way. Yes you make quick money through cheap popularity as editors in these well known media houses, which for your information are in some unworthily cheap competition, struggling with brand survival. Why are you my dear youths letting your values and tags bleach and leach? It baffles me when you are so quick to tell me your social media usernames before saying out your botanical and indigenous names. For my editor friends twisting Uganda’s tales to fit your story perspectives, a quick question I pose to you: How do you expect the nation to solve its jigsaw puzzle when all you do is hide the pieces?

Secondly on my count of blemish, this childish belief we all have in us. We see ourselves more informed and above these ageing persons, forgetting they refer to their memory as we type search queries in Google once asked who we are. I am not disqualifying the fact that you know quite a bunch of stuff that the endangered species fail to comprehend, point is I bet you would beat them had such stuff been invented in their days. Do you ever reflect on how shaming it gets every time you rely on some online company in the United States to tell you of what your fore fathers did in your own country?

 What went wrong?

All through the colonial rule, as maintained by Uganda’s leaders before 1985, politics was more of ideological capacity to rule, guide and spearhead the nation than the opportunity to grab power and control as is of now.

The Mengo government had well established leadership where appointments to various positions in the royal government were based on one’s potential to govern, direct and guide fellow citizens. The Sub county appointees termed as ‘Abaami’ for instance were given control of all duties and works of the ‘Gombolola’-Sub County. This structure borrowed from the colonial rule by the Buganda government provided technical assistance to the Ssaza chief through his council of knowledgeable citizens, these were skilled practitioners in the various relevant fields such as agriculture, health, financial management, to mention but a few.

The likes of President Tito Okello Lutwa and his predecessors embraced the purpose and essence of the rule on appointment because it always meant the appointed council was accountable of any resources forwarded from the central government to their respective local governments. In addition and enforcement of the above, there were prisons at every sub county, most especially in areas of Buganda where culprits were held in case of any mismanaged resources and other civil offenses committed by citizens. The other key motivation for transparency and commitment in service that the appointees had was building continued trust by the public, they worked so they could be favored by the royal appointments over and over again thus corruption was unheard of because of the personalities that servants had to build.

With such setups, the colonial rule was guaranteed of some level of success to the extent that governments that still apply such political principles are obviously way better than this mother nation.

In trying to build a new model of leadership, President Yoweri .K. Museveni in 1986 dug a pit. He came with principles that he thought were to be better.  Among many I will point out the change from appointment rule to these local leaders being elected by citizens, this was a good idea considering the flaws of appointments however he never thought through the necessities and requirements for conducting these elections at Sub county level lest other offices below and under the “Ssaza”.

With poor organizational structures of this exercise, people could wait at the sub county headquarters for hours and hours before hearing from their aspiring leaders, imagine the hunger and anger of voters waiting from 8am only to hear from their leaders when it was approaching sunset, Out of humor thereafter, in order to sink their message, the aspirants saw it wise to feed their supporters before talking to them. The pit dug by a simple principle passed by a fresh president in Y.K. Museveni grew deeper and wider with time as aspirants had to sell their cattle, land, farm produce and among other belongings in order to feed their supporters.

With the minor effects from various local governments slowly but steadily amalgamating to affect the national political system, it took the president years to learn of the now wide and deep pit for which he cast the first scoop, Votes at that moment were being bought indirectly. Considering the high expense in campaigning, the public servants now needed to cover-up their costs thus turning politics more into an investment than service delivery. That aside, when it got to a time when all aspirants fed supporters, it became a competition in its self, leading many to “invest” more than they would be rewarded/paid for serving in the respective offices, leaders thereafter resorted to diverting central government remittances from what their sole purpose to catering for their debts incurred during campaigns.

The rot grew from the smallest unit of leadership in local governments high up the political structure until it became the order of the day. By 1995, regarding offices given minus elections, politicians had began giving out their possessions to responsible decision makers for appointments on ministerial posts as well as other desired offices in the national administrative structure.

You may ask, weren’t there laws to protect the national resources from such laundering? Yes. – the laws were clear that mismanagement of public funds was punishable by refund, imprisonment and at times even loss of office. With this in mind, various political leaders had to take more caution in covering their expenses, the only way out was to get extra revenue by off-book charging the people seeking services from their offices. Eventually this grew into a national norm with of course charges differing basing on how known you could be to the officer in charge. In fact, this is how aspects of tribalism ended up in Uganda’s politics: Probably explaining why throughout H.E Museveni’s reign, majority of the top serving government officials tend to share a tribal root.

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Uganda’s informal sector contributes the biggest proportion of the country’s GDP. It however suffers more off book penalties than paid to the national treasury.

As I conclude in good faith, fighting corruption is the only straight path we have to take in order to revamp Uganda’s economy. The beginning point I suggest is us stopping referring to this crime as a necessary evil.     It begins with you: stop buying your right to public services, if you hold an office, work for the better of this mother nation. Be blessed.                    

 

                                

                                                          

Humbled to reclaim what’s really mine!

Placeholder ImageFor all the days I have roamed Kampala, I have never been consumed by this much sense of ownership and belonging. Its amazingly awesome, and thus ignites the patriotic Ugandan-nes that has for a very long time been inside of me, though mimicking a dormant volcano.

All the serene beauty that sits opposite Mapeera House had been turned into a barracks. In fact, the army had literally colonized the “National City square“. Turning it into their most beloved bush, Imagine the botanically crude 1986 camping where hundreds of them used no standard washrooms – All this has been going down in the city center.

Well yesterday! as I plotted to linkup with one Allan around the site, Little did I know that the long craved space was now open to “people”… WOW, i just couldn’t manage to withhold the feeling. I said to self: The first day of September has really set the bar high, I now encourage the rest of the days to work harder so as to impress me even more.

Kankubulire, Its soothing to sit in this grass, the trees provide a tremendous wave of joy and refreshment. Even when one is broke, the lovely sight of people transacting in the bank across the road might restore hope, or remind you of what deals to chase.

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View of Mapeera house (home of Centenary bank), taken from the comfort of the City Square

Omanyi..! chilling in this spot of town is priceless. It comes with an opportunity to half-laugh at those stranded in Jam, forgetting you will sip the same soup on your way back home. Of course, this being Kampala – one should expect random vendors of all sorts of chakala-chakala. Expect diversity in the merchandise pitched: Powerbanks for either your body or phone, then you will get some roasted g-nuts. Wait, here comes a one-on-one preacher, same person also wants to sell me a novel. All in all, one is spoilt for choice.

Allan finally arrives, he’s not late – just caught up by 30 minutes of Jam. He then makes a deliberate effort of sitting down despite us being in a rush to leave the square. Inquisitive me starts questioning him why. He unveils a deep anger towards the army and the hat-man that had denied us the chance of enjoying our own. This reminded me of the people that steal from you, and want appreciation for returning the stolen on a later date.

This not being a political blog, i won’t comment about how long the president and the army have captivated the state. Just know we are this grown up but had never stepped in the City square. Its quite embarrassing.

On a lighter note, I must say my mood is now set for the Kampala City Festival, you know it is happening 2nd October 2016. I am looking forward to biting the biggest Rolex from this spot.Though you shouldn’t await the caption, All my gadgets tend to avoid following me to high risk areas.

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The Kampala City Square as seen from top of Mapeera house

Kampala is so much fun, the social life is very action packed. Events and awards are always happening somewhere anyhow. I was recently captivated by one dubbed Social Media Awards.The awardee was rejecting the prize for not knowing the “Awarder”. How awesome is that.

As i go back to my Kamooli, remember to stay safe and pray to God for guidance in the choices you make every other day.

Yours, @LwangaRoberts.