Stella Nyanzi only did what we have feared to do

IMG_4956When the First Lady Janet Museveni, in her capacity as education minister called the media to advise parents about among others, not to transport their kids to school on Boda Boda’s, or if they should, not more than two on one bike, no one dared to respond to her unrealistic advice in this Uganda that’s marred with a lot of inequality.

Only one outspoken woman, Stella Nyanzi – who I am actually so proud of to this effect – dared to insert her finger in the anus of the “leopardess.” I salute you Nyanzi

Many, without taking in the crucial points passed judgment over Nyanzi for her response that made rounds on social media as largely vulgar, missing the point therefore.

The filthy – mouthed mother of twins spat rubbish as many who claim to be morally upright perceived it but a few of us ( now dubbed anti government ) wore no gloves, pulled up our sleeves and dug down the filth to find the pearls in Nyanzi’s dossier directed to the ‘Marie Antonette’ of our days.

“But why would a woman as educated as Nyanzi burst out in such unexplainable anger, moreover in a language so demeaning?” I thought to self. After much meditation, I realized she was only being the true Nationalist that this crumbling Nation needed. I am sorry my silence has let my nation down.

Nyanzi the fearless woman who would get up and speak for the girls who have to miss school days because they cannot pad them selves during the bloody days of the month while billions of tax payers money is whisked away in presidential handshakes, not even the innovative youth who could invent re usable pads can be facilitated to do so because the money has other things to do such as make sure the state house has security as big as that of heaven.

Nyanzi an iron lady who no matter the forces she attacked, dared to say that if the First Lady cut on her luxurious spending and that of hers, the hospitals would maybe never run out of medicine. – as we speak now, more than three patients are sharing an oxygen can at Kiruddu hospital, just a few days ago, a friend lost a brother because the oxygen shared with three others run out. Four lives lost. When a member of the first family will be flown out of the country to treat a bout of flue. Is this government really sensitive to the needs of the ordinary Ugandan?

Nyanzi, the vulgar mouthed mother who puts the plight of women dying in labour before that of a First family that rides around with a motorcade of 1000 vehicles while rural mothers die for luck of a bicycle to take them to the nearest health centre located kilometers or even miles away. Just the other day the ministry of health was celebrating a drop in the ocean reduction in the number of mothers dying as told by the Health demographics survey, the truth is mothers still die not because there is no money to fix the reasons they are dying but because the money has concentrated in the hands of a few First citizens.

Deep in Mityana, mothers have to opt for a visually impaired traditional birth attendant because she is nearest to them than the nearest health centre.

With no doubt, Janet Museveni is one meek person I have ever known, reading her book, ‘My life’s Journey’ (assuming she didn’t lie) further confirmed the character I thought her to be. Having gone through the humble beginnings like she narrates them in the said book, Janet Museveni should not be the woman to advise parents the way she did , seemingly unbothered about the fact that majority a Ugandan family lives in the lowly life where for instance Boda Boda transport might be the only option they find, again because teachers are poorly paid so they create early classes to get students pay for an hour before actual school starts and that explains why pupils have to be early to school.

What if there was a better transport system that children had to jump on say a train to rush to school?

One will argue that it’s not Janet’s mandate to fix the dead transport system nor is it her role to work on the ailing health system but come on, then freakin stop calling her the First Lady, mother of the nation and so on, besides, she is not exclusive to this oppressive government – maybe she shouldn’t have joined politics, even as a minister of education, you don’t want students missing school because they are sick and cannot find affordable healthcare.

Maybe mrs Museveni should not have come to speak to us about our children’s safety when in fact she is like the proverbial bible tale of the Pharisees who prayed for the poor but never did something about their poverty.

You sit up there eating bread and come and tell me stop eating cassava for breakfast? Mam, that’s all I have, if you are really bothered that I am eating poorly, give up some of your loaves for me.

I am wailing for my country, My rights are raped by this regime like Nyanzi would say. I am crying for the pearl of Africa that once was.

I do not condone Nyanzi’s vulgar language but I stand with her on the points that matter to me as an ordinary Ugandan. I don’t care what others think of me, for all I know, in my line of work I have travelled this country, spoken to the poorest of people, who cannot even afford a meal a day. On the other side of life I have seen Government officials enjoy a luxurious life oblivious of the dying population.

I have to pull aside while driving for a convoy of uncountable cars carrying just one important person to pass? Really? In a country where we were all created equal? What’s the difference in a country where the president for example gives all he has to the poor?

Tuffa tuggwaawo, who will save Ugandans? The army wont, the opposition has failed because of their unending fights, not even my religious leaders can help because their advice is so humble and full of reconciliation and will be swept under the carpet as soon as they say it.

May be we need more of Stella Nyanzi Characters to join the war, to rid this country of these moles eating it at a slow but steady pace.

If only the media used its tool to hold accountable rather than please the First family, may be things would be better.

I stand up, I will fight for mother land as long as I can, this is a solemn pledge I make, I’m only answerable to God who will ask me what my contribution was to this world.

Disclaimer: This is a personal opinion, the views in here are mine,you may choose to agree or disagree.

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My American Tales : The One Billion Dollar Way of the Cross

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As we drive out of Illinois to the neighbouring state of Indiana,  it is evident that we are leaving a mostly residential to a farmland dominated state.

Indiana,  I must say is calm and nice a place to be. It is serene too. While we drive through, my host thinks of what I would be interested in seeing here, and pap! She thinks of the One Billion Dollar Way of the Cross.

At the sound of this, I am so intrigued and want to see it, then behold while we close into the place Continue reading My American Tales : The One Billion Dollar Way of the Cross

Mother’s Day is nothing without Mother Mary

Mama

So its mother’s day! Yes a mother is a very important Person.
I have seen quite a number of posts on social media about how wonderful everyone’s mother is, I haven’t posted to that effect though.
My mother passed on almost 11plus years ago, leaving a very huge gap in the family but with a Gallant Soldier (my Dad) who with all brevity stood to take us on, running all roles mother would have run.
I will never forget though about the activities preceding my mother’s death.
On a dull Saturday Valentines day morning in 2004, my then aging Papa and I sat in the sitting room, almost hopeless, my dad was washing my bedridden mother’s clothes that I would later take to Mulago hospital where mom had been admitted and lay in coma.
A group of Christians from our church came in that morning to pray with us for mother’s quick recovery and this lady, in agreement with my dad revolved the prayer around Mother Mary the help of the Sick.
She sang a Song many Catholics would be conversant with, “Tukulamusiza Nyaffe owekisa” and there in is a part that goes like “Abanakuwadde wamu nabalwadde obajjukiranga nobakubagiza” Those words spoke to me. Yes the spoke to me! And During the prayer the leader invoked mother Mary to come and mother our family that was without a mother.
It had always been a habit at home that the radio nob  got stuck in 103.7 Radio Maria the ‘Christian Voice in your home’, we time and again (even if some of us did not really care) treated our ears to numerous prayers casted by the waves of the Mother Mary station….the Rosaries…and my father continously reminded us of how the greatest mother let alone intercessor one could ever have is Mother Mary, the mother of Jesus so from that day on , we would take Mother Mary as mother while mom was away. I for one had known mother mary for a mother as a child but I never felt her closer to me before the way she was going to be this time round.
That same Valentines night, 2004, we were woken upto the bad news of mom’s passing. The news that tore our hearts apart and left even the strongest of us frail.
Papa, with a confused loom put his hands on his head and said “It was Saturday last week, today is also Saturday, Oh God!” Our brother had just passed on the previous Saturday and had been buried during the course of the week. In fact, my mother’s condition had worsened when she received the news of her son’s untimely death.

It was a moment of panic, like wax we melted, but had to look forward. I was only 15, young and Naive but had taken on mother’s roles at home of cooking for her grandchildren and Papa, I had kind of grown so good at it, but I missed mother because her food was incomparable, her tactics in making us happy were unmatched but now she was gone. Yes she was gone!
I asked God why, yet I couldn’t find a ready answer, I had last seen mom a few hours ago at her death bed and she could barely speak to me, my big sister had pulled me aside and hopelessly whispered “Mother is going to die” but I did not despair as a priest had just anointed her with oil in the sacrament of Life ‘anointing of the sick’ I was brave that she would see the new day alive and smiling.
I had witnessed tears rolling down mother’s cheek and I remembered her words someday as she nursed my dying cousin’s wife “when a mother sheds tears at such a point when she cannot speak, she is grieving for her children she is leaving behind”
It was that moment, I knew mother was grieving for us, yet I could not lose hope.
I was a liar. Mother was gone.
The unbearable pains  continued with only one consolation though – we had been adopted by a new mother who had watched over us always even when mom was alive. Mother Mary was now the woman I had to tell all my secrets, the woman whose mantle I had to hide into when times get tough.
Papa always reassured me of mother Mary’s presence as as a mother. Everytime he visited me at school, he reminded  me to always talk to my mother and at numerous visits left with me a Rosary.
The one time I can never forget is when I was going to sit for my Senior 4 exams, while parents showered their kids with success cards and so on, Papa gave me a Rosary and reminded me still to go with Mother Mary into the papers. I must have thought that guy was crazy then, but today that craziness is the reason for my success.
When I was going for my job interview, I told papa about it and he simply told me ‘go tell your mother about it’ I remembered and rushed out to Mother Mary’s Grotto at Church and placed all my papers at her feet and my prayer was “Papa has said I should come and tell you…..”
I got the highly competitive slot.
Mother Mary, I learnt was mummy and I had to run to her in whatever situation. Today I call her mother and tell to her whatever I would have told my biological mother. Yes I miss my mother but I have a Jesus’ Mother. Who wouldn’t be proud to be Jesus’ Sister?
Happy Mother’s Day.

Incredible Inginanti

I thought the first time I write a hearty piece about Ingrid  Nantege of Uganda in fact to be specific, of NTV Uganda, would be at her death.

Well, it has come earlier than expected- Am not praying she dies, but in the event that she does, Ingrid and I agreed to write each other’s obituary.
So whoever goes first.

I have the lines of Ingrid’s Obituary Intro, hence am kind of strained thinking up a punchy intro for this piece.

Oh s**t I have less than 30minutes to do this.

“Ingrid Nantege, phone nunber …….is conversant with Kenya, she will help you out in case you need any help…blah blah blah …”

That was how part of the letter sending me to live in Kenya read.

Of course I would later know who that Nantege is.

Our first meeting at Serena Hotel lounge.

I met a beautiful and smart woman, with unique lips, ( am straight) she held a tin of lip balm in her hands,  replacing a drying layer of balm every other minute.
Outspoken and eloquent, I found her.

Fast forward…………..she picked me from the River Road Airport on a very cold morning, that was so kind of her.

As if that was all, I found myself under the same roof with her – As in this noisy,outspoken, and eloquent woman was gonna be my housie for close to a year – exciting!

I don’t know what to call her, big sis or small sis because since I knew her she has been 18 and she is still making 18 today (thats a nigerian jeer from her) followed by the name ‘Tumi’ short for my name.
I suspect she will say ” But Tumi, are u mad?”

I chose to call her My Girl.

So my girl Nanti makes sure I have food on my table if I dont make sure she has it on hers.

She has introduced me to a couple of good friends and that legacy lives on.

On my first BD outside Uganda, this woman toiled as though it were her wedding day.

I figured out me and her shared a gift of Hospitality. We are People loving people and that marked the beginning of the endless random house parties we organised.

The morning knocks on my door with the phrase ” Trudy we are late” eish! Nanti I love you.

Those moments of brokeness…on this one, what happened in vegas stays there.

The JAN days…OMG.

My Girl Ingi Nanti am so pissed that I am writing the obituary before u die, so let me stop here and think about your Birthday.

It is to that extent that the Date 6th Dec has become part of me, not because you shout alot about it but because to it is tagged a great woman and personal friend.

Your birthday means a lot to me because you mean a lot more to me, without it I wouldn’t have known the person who has known and listened ro all my crap  – you know my bad and my good.

No amounts of words can explain how glad I am to have u in my life, no gift can fully express the treasure u are, no message can say it all, not even the tongue but deep down me you are a pearl, a precious jewel, and above all a glass of milk to me.

I never feel bad when  people interchange our names, it is stuck there in the blood.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY INGRID

May you live to see the Glory of the Lord shining upon your life.

May you live to write my obituary.

God bless you dearly.

An open letter to Hon. Maria Mutagamba – Mama, please sort the mess in Uganda’s Tourism Ministry

Its been a while since I last updated my blog. In fact its exactly 4months since my last post.

Anyhow, am here, not on a good note though.
I know this may seem like an outpour of my harsh emotions, but I also want to consider that someone has gone or is going through the same but they chose or have chosen to shut up about it.

Anyway, long story short, am here to vomit my displeasure with much hope that by the time I write the last fill stop, I wont bear no straight face no more.

Close to 2months ago I had a clande to with the Ministry of Tourism where I had to surrender my travel documents.

The deal didnt go as expected but still I was never contacted even as the people handling the programme had all my contacts.
When I needed to use my passport I took responsibility to call and find out how I could get it and thats when I got the news that the deal flopped.

That wasnt the main thing that moment, all I needed was my passport and Yellow fever card.
The woman (Barbra) who I personally handed my documents to asked me to go to the offices and pick them, upon reaching both her and her phone were not available.

And since then her phone acted either off or not picked.
About month later as the urgence grew for my documents, on monday I walked to the offices again, only to be informed it was a temporary office and that the event had ended hence the office closed.

Since it was being run by the ministry,I went to be helped only to find the ministers PA or secretary of sorts telling me ” by the way that woman who was cordinating your programme was a volunteer and another person came here also looking for a passport, we found it down in some box, but I don’t know where those boxes are” she added ” Try to call her, I have no credit on my phone”

In my heart am like what the hell is this? So yes that was her response, call Babra to tell you where she out ur passport.
I desparately walked out of the AC filled office habouring seemingly irresponsible chaps and kept trying the advice I got.

Nothing seemed new, I was sure she wasnt going to pick my calls after numerous unsuccessful calls the whole day.

Bless the Heavens she finally picked after a long constipational like struggle.

“Hey I need my passport” My pissed self spoke after greetings.

“I gave your passport to Agaba at the Ministry ask him” she replied witg a guilty voice

“Well, how am I supposed to know Agaba who seems to have one bame like a cat?” I asked myself

Anyway give me his number I asked abd straight away called him.
Skeptical, Agaba says oh yeah she gave me the the the….aaaaaa……

The what?

I mean the things haaa but I doooonttiiii know…..anyway ask Claire

Eh but who the fuck is Claire?

The guy says okay go to the ministry the lady you will find there is the one ask her…

But wait, this is the same woman I was talking to at first and she feigned ignorance..so?

Meanwhile all this is my credit being spent.

Anyhow, mr Agaba, am coming for my passport tomorrow. Good night.

Yes you come, I will be there early to look for it.

As if tomorrow wouldnt come., soon it was tuesday. At 2pm I called and guy is giving me stories, mehn!

When I walk to the the minstry again its blame game, witg me using my airtime to facilitate people’s careless talks of I gave you the passports, yes you did give mw stuff but never told me they were passports, I did no not me,
They were in boxes,

Wait what would official documents be kept in boxes?

Some were taken to the minister’s home, eh! Wait, at her home? For?

What would official documents be doing at the minister’s home?

Holy shit!

Okay am really pissed give me the ministers number, and it’s off.

I gathered balls and boils and traced the minister’s Residence. At 10pm this evening I was at her residence in Nabbingo, luckily allowed in but unfortunately couldnt see her in person because she was in bed and wasn’t feeling well but she sent me a person to attend to me.

The best this person could do was to promise that lets take it tomorrow because its late now.

I agreed.
And just like that I my passport is lost. Because of useless and careless people earning salaries to annoy Ugandans!

Now, dear mama Maria Mutagamba, from where did you fetch these villagers posing around in town offices as officials?

Whats the criteria of getting a job in tourism ministry?

Do you know how many irresponsible chaps who sit in that ministry are?

If yes, do you know how many need to be taken to school of truth telling?

Enough of the questions. I got home at 11: 30 and am not about to push my travel again. I NEED MY DOCUMENTS ASAP.

Tomorrow am resident at the ministry.

Dear reader, sorry for the frustration let down on you but this was worth a blog. A tweet or a Facebook share is all I need from you.

Thanks for your time.

Off I smile. Uwitware

Help this blind 8months baby see

 

Eight months ago, Faridah Nakalyango a resident of Masaka, Uganda gave birth to a bouncing baby Tasha Nakigudde.

All was well until the baby opened her eyes.

Faridah says when the child first opened the eyes, there was a milky coating, upon check up, the the doctors said the child could not see.

All diagnosis reveal that the child has an eye condition called primary congenital Glaucoma.

Consequently, the baby has since been blind.  On the outside, the eyes are visibly swollen, while closer look at them reveals how unstable they are in the eye case.

Doctors she has visited have recommended a cornea implant which is pretty expensive and worse still cannot be done here in Uganda.

Faridah has no option left but to look for 20 million to take the child for an operation in India. Unfortunately, she cannot raise the money by herself, she is only appealing to people of good hearts to give her a hand if her child’s sight is to be restored.

Faridah, who is a mother of two is also worried because her first born who got an accident that made one of her eyes blind. She seems the most unfortunate woman, having two blind children with the blindness arrived at in two different ways.

These are true tears of a mother…

Let us help Faridah live as a happy mother.

 

 

Two hours in Mogadishu

When I say I love traveling, my inner self feels convinced. To many traveling may mean boarding a plane to a place a thousand miles away or probably sitting on  a bus to go on a long journey, but for me, it means refusing to sitting in one place for more than 30 minutes.

This is not because of the kind of work I do, but may be because of my nature – I wouldn’t want to call myself restless but for lack of a better word , Yes! Restless!

Enough

Of course I got excited when my editor’s call came through that I should organise all my travel documents I would be covering the Air Uganda maiden Flight to Somalia.

Did you just say Somalia? The question resounded in my excited mind.

Picture the excitement and honour. I knew this was going to be fun but of course it was going to involve enduring a Yellow Fever vaccination injection which for years I had been reluctant to take.

“All programmes cancelled. I must get this vaccination done in the least time possible.” I said to myself.

In a few hours I  gladly surrendered my upper arm to the nurse’s palms.

So with all set, all I waited for was the D-day. I wasn’t excited because I was gonna fly, travel or something, the vigour stemmed from the fact that I was going to Somalia – one of  the countries on my  ‘to – visit list.’

My keen Interest in Somalia is also linked to the recent happenings in there, that I have always just read about in the news. I wanted to know how it feels to be in a place like one that is just recovering from insurgency – The journalistic Ego (Of, yeah I once was in Somalia)

I am simply being honest. I did not care if the trip was just for a few hours , just like it was – All I longed to do was to step feet in SOMALIA.

Well, at the eve of the flight, I retired home at the usual hours, and went to bed at about 11pm. I was meant to wake up at 2 and get ready for the 5.30am flight. I was up at 1.30am.

Quick through the process, at 5.30am, the much anticipated Journey commenced. For 2hr and 10 minutes I was catching sight of God’s beautiful space creation.

It was nothing short of Aaaaaammmmmmaaaaaazzzziiiiiing! Oweeeeesssoooooommmmeeeee!

When the hostess announced that we were landing…

The plane hovered over the waters, and soon we were on ground – Safely.

One word – Ancient

The smell of a semi desert.

An airport/ Military base – 9 of every 10 people you set eyes on, are dressed in military fatigue.

Place is guarded more than I had ever witnessed. The beauty was that the biggest number of the AU troops on ground hail from Uganda – they too were as excited to see an Air Uganda Plane jet in.  I keenly remember on of them telling me

“ Eh!, this has never happened, my heart has skipped seeing air Uganda plane land, ayaaaaaa, this is soooo goood.”

With these words I felt the joy and excitement of a ugandan who has been away from home for the at least eighteen months.

The tight security at the seemingly ancient airport for me revealed how much it may not be safe to travel further into Somalia, although the security operatives on ground kept assuring us that all was well.

The head of the Uganda People’s Defence Force contingency told me “People are happy, people are traveling, construction is going on, business is growing, Guns are silent here in Mogadishu.”

“Guns are Silent” that was the gist of the statement – what any entrant into Somalia would love to listen to. It made me feel at home.

And when these Soldiers walked to me giving greetings in our native Luganda language, I even fell more at peace.

About two hours in Mogadishu’s international airport and all I wanted to do was go even further – Oh I wish I could. I all wishes were horses…

Two hours well – Setting eyes on the Somalian President, interacting with Au troops, getting burnt under the scorching morning sunshine ( as If I even cared) and of course using my hand camera to document my first ever trip to Somalia.

In the few hours, I cannot forget to say my head was veiled. Somalia, wait for my Mega Return!

Yours Truely Uwitware

African Blood.