Monthly Archives: June 2015

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Like Museveni, enjoy our roads

In the State of the Nation Address recently, our beloved leader shared what’s been going on around the country. We got to hear about the various developments and also got some sneak peeks into what our future holds. In this invigorating session, our dear leader spoke of how the ruling party has brought about tremendous change in infrastructure, particularly electricity and roads. Not to leave it vague, he went on to intimate, “These days I really enjoy driving around Uganda’s roads”. We couldn’t agree more. For those who seem to disagree (and there’s never a shortage of you haters. We see you), here are a few things to remember to put things in perspective:

The potholes you complain about are actually intentionally left behind during road construction. Those not left behind are left under the road in waiting – in six months at most, they will emerge. Why these potholes? They are for your good actually. See, the goal as a nation is to move towards a good standard of living across the board. Potholes are a part of this plan; the discomfort they bring as you drive is supposed to spur you to work harder to get a bigger, better shock-absorber-having car. This is called Shockbsobs theory. Our beloved leader enjoys the roads partly because he understands this theory (and he’s worked hard and gotten a big car). Also, wouldn’t you want to live in a nation that manufactures cars? How else are we going to get there without you taking regular trips to the mechanic? In so doing, our mechanics’ skill set is growing; it won’t be long before they can make vehicles.

As a nation, our taxable base isn’t that big. The traffic on the roads is to allow us collect taxes from the fuel you are burning. As a nation, we had to move away from running after people for graduated tax. In as much as it was helping us raise a generation of runners (and we were consequently coming close to taking gold medals from Kenya and Ethiopia), it was a tiring process. So now, as you wait for afande to flag you off in traffic, we are collecting taxes.

All these things require is a little perspective. You too can enjoy driving on our roads.

The Taxi Code Continued

Last week, in the Taxi Code, we started on a journey to educate a new taxi driver on what’s expected of him on the road. We shared quite a bit with him but we couldn’t cover everything. Here’s the rest of the taxi driver traffic code.

Your primary goal, as a driver, is to run down that taxi in as short a time as possible. See, new taxis don’t look good. They come off as lazy; any hardworking taxi looks like it is one hoot away from being spare parts in Kisekka market. Those are the taxis we real Ugandans love and are accustomed to – work towards getting yours there as fast as possible.

Pavements are part of the road. They may have some pedestrians using them, oblivious to the fact that you have right of way, but don’t mind them. Drive, hoot, drive, hoot. Also, ask them, as they curse while getting out of the way, “Ogenda?”


Humps and potholes are only seen by dimwits. Only people without purpose have time to try and dodge or slow down as they go over them. You have purpose and drive. Drive straight always. Don’t mind the people bickering in the taxi – they’ll thank you later when they get to their destination quickly. They might be in pain but that’s part of the price they have to pay.

Occasionally shout at other drivers as you go past them. It is important that you hurl insults every so often at other drivers for anything that comes to mind – driving slowly, not giving turn signals, taking forever to overtake the car ahead of them. If they want to do these things, they should drive taxis.

The next taxi is your enemy – overtake them at all costs. In your free time, watch Furious 7 and pick up some tips on driving like there’s an army of rabid robots after you. Drive fast. Overtake that taxi ahead and keep the competition between you and it going; passengers love the thrill of being part of a real life car chase – it makes them think they are in a movie.

In all this, once in a while, shock everyone by stopping to let children cross the road. Also, stop and allow another vehicle to join your lane. It is acts like these that keep you dear in people’s minds; after all the cursing, they’ll remember these acts of benevolence and think, “Maybe they aren’t that bad after all.”

The Traffic Code

A friend recently shared a picture of a white taxi driver waiting for passengers. The picture didn’t show whether he was shouting “Nyabo ogenda?”, “Sebbo, tugende?” or “Sir, will you use the transport services of this beat-down vehicle?” You know how pictures be – worth far less than a thousand words, they can’t even tell you what the people are saying. I’m not sure whether fellow taxi drivers gave Mr. Smith (the picture didn’t indicate his name so let’s jump to conclusions together) the taxi traffic code. In the event that they didn’t (and for the benefit of anyone who intends to drive a taxi), I’ll go ahead and share the taxi traffic code in a two-part series. Here are the rules:


Don’t ever give a turn signal or ‘indicate’. Indicating is for people who don’t have other things to do while driving. That’s not you. You have to keep focussed on getting your passengers to their destination quickly – indicating slows you down.

Stop at will. No matter where you are, you have the right to stop wherever you want – even in the middle of the road. Everyone can wait. You are their pastor today – teaching them a thing or two about patience in affliction. The stray sheep who feel they don’t want the lesson can find space round you and proceed to their non-exciting destination.

Related to stopping the car at will, start the car at will. You have lots of passengers and they, not you, are an impatient lot. Start the car, turn it into the road and go. Everyone ought to see you coming and make adjustments.

The customer is king…only when he’s outside the taxi. Once inside, you own him. He can’t say anything about how you are driving, what you are listening to or what you are saying. The standard response to any complaint is, “Go buy your own car”. You can sugar-coat this in various ways depending on how good you feel that day.

Taxis generally grow up on a diet consisting of fuel that costs less than Shs. 5,000. They can only stomach that much at a go, regardless of how far they are going. Do not attempt to feed yours on anything more than that lest it dies from indigestion or related ailments. Have you seen all those taxis that give-up along the way and you have to stop and take their passengers? Well, they tried to turn their taxis into fuel gluttons. Don’t be like them.

Tourism does an Oliver Twist

The news this week reported that our tourism sector, despite bringing in about 10% of our GDP, usually has almost no funding in the national budget (less than 1%). In the report, a number of individuals in the sector were interviewed; they had a few choice words to say about the government’s priorities. Let’s put ourselves in government’s shoes though (and this does not in any way mean we are eyeing the top seat; that usually has repercussions). So, let’s say you, as an individual, are government and you are dispensing money. Here are a few decisions you’ll have to make.

Great pictures of lions and other wildlife vs gear for police

This is a hard one. While looking at that excel spreadsheet you’ll be using to allocate the nation’s funds, you’ll wonder whether it’s a good idea to doll out a few millions to have some photos of lions taken for an ad campaign. Lions asleep, dreaming of a land where they don’t chase food, the food walks to them and asks to be eaten. Lions basking in the sun. Lions having dinner.

On the other hand, you’ll have the police that needs gear for the upcoming elections (and for crime-fighting activity).

Tourism Advert Vs Office of the president

Should you make a flashy 60-second ad showing smiley faces of Ugandans, beautiful shots of nature and then ending in a shot of our beloved leader giving a thumbs-up sign, signalling to all those watching that Uganda is the place to be if tourism is your thing? You’d need to run that ad on CNN and BBC.

Or should you send more money to the office of our beloved leader? This is an easy one.

Upgrade national parks infrastructure Vs Give out sack of money

Do you invest in tourism infrastructure – accommodation facilities, transport to the areas, etc.? Or do you instead give out sacks of money? You do know that we, the people need those sacks.

While the powers that be dilly dally, one way we can draw people here is to train even one lion to live life as a vegetarian. We’d feed it healthy alternatives like soya and nkeje. Wouldn’t people travel all the way to take pictures with it? Lady Gaga would adopt it and it’d curtain-raise at her concerts, letting out a mighty roar that’d excite and scare revellers in equal measure. We’d call it Simba from Uganda.

Unrelated KB: I run Kanzu Code, an entity that builds digital products ( websites, mobile applications, custom digital solutions ) that solve various issues. We are currently working on one to address youth apathy to elections. We are currently running a brief survey on why youth shun elections; the results will inform our app development. Would you like to take part? Kindly share your view in the 3-question survey here: Londa Survey. For more details on the app, please check this out: Londa Media Advisory. Thanks!!