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How to meet the Pope

Pope Francis recently told the Uganda government the things he wants and does not want during his visit to the country in November. The list was the kind to make any politician squirm – he won’t sit with any other passenger in his car, he won’t use a big 4×4 SUV vehicle, he won’t meet any political leaders apart from a brief meeting with the president and only to discuss religious matters and he won’t sleep in a hotel. Prior to this, it was reported that government had budgeted at least Shs60 billion for VIP cars.

With rules that strict, it immediately seems impossible to meet the man of God. That notwithstanding there are still a few ways you as a politician can meet him. It is election season so a selfie with the Pope would do wonders for your campaign. Here are a few ways you can approach this mission impossible *play the soundtrack *

Dress up as an ordinary citizen and stand among the crowd on Entebbe Road to welcome him. When the Pope’s being driven past you, make sure you stand out like a rolex in a 5-star restaurant. Wave more than the rest. Say some words in Latin. Carry a placard. Do something. The point here is for him to see and remember your face – that’s all.

Then move onto phase two. When he goes to conduct mass, make sure you spend the night in the chapel. This will ensure that you get a decent seat, close enough to hear every word he says during service. These words are what you’ll use to make conversation when you finally get a chance. For example, you could remark at how well he kept saying, “The Lord be with you”.

Now, you need to make initial contact. Get in line for Holy Communion. Make sure that when you get there, you say a few words to him.

Now to seal the deal, we move to the final phase – a full conversation. Since he won’t allow any passengers in his car, you could pull your political weight and make sure you be one of the four guards running next to the car. This will give you plenty of time to have a long conversation through the sunroof. You could start it simple by talking about the weather then gradually increase the heat by steering skillfully towards your reelection bid and how the Catholics will benefit from you being back in office. This step though requires you to shed some of that political weight in preparation.

All the best, my friend. Omnem medullam. If you are serious about this project, you should know what that means by now.

Before you bare it all…

We live in interesting times, in a very interesting state. This week had a lot of news that read like satire; the only thing reminding us that this was the real deal was who was reporting it (serious guys using that no-nonsense reporter voice). One story that held its ground in all this was one about some things the Minister of State for Lands, Ms Aidah Nantaba, said. She reportedly advised residents of Kayunga District, who are being evicted from their land, to undress before land grabbers as a tactic to scare them away. She didn’t stop at that – she had a strong basis for her sound advice. She said that the residents should do this to emulate residents of Amuru and Soroti districts who undressed to assert their land rights.

I’m not in any way against people standing up for their rights. What I’m against though is that these people are only being given half the advice. Imagine you wanted to run for President and I advised you to release a video and stop at that. In the same vein, our dear Minister of State only gave the people of Kayunga half of what they should do. Here’s the rest:

Consider having some background music. If you are going to do something like that, you might at the very least find ways to make the most of the experience. I don’t have suggestions on how, as a group, you’ll go about selecting the playlist but democracy is generally encouraged.

Have the police in attendance. They’ll form a ring around you to shield you from more people so only the targeted audience receives your message. They’ll also let you know at what point you start to step on the law that made Father Lokodo famous.

Inform the medics beforehand. As serious as this cause is, we need to eliminate the possibility of some people undermining your cause by thinking some screws are loose.

Cover the children’s eyes. Order a 48-hour ban on all media for children. During this time, they should stick to story books and ludo.

Clean-up the internet afterwards. In many areas that have been ravaged by war, stray bombs that remain strewn all over the place usually cause damage several years later. To avoid this, clean up the internet. We don’t want your children (or anyone’s children) to come across those images.

How to go to Mbale

I am late to the party this time; like that guy who shows up when the MC’s inviting the lovely couple to give their speech at the wedding. He even missed the cake! This information though is of such importance to the nation that it still tastes good even as mawolu – kind of like lumonde.

Mbale is a town known for a number of things, such as having the imposing Mount Elgon lurking in its background. About a 4 hours’ drive from Kampala, we’ve never known it to be a difficult place to get to. Hop onto the bus, fall asleep, get off bus. Or jump into car, stop when afande stops you, proceed, stop in Mbale. Nothing too complex. All this changed this week, following some interesting developments in our political environment that have since made the town hard to access. In an effort to help you still be able to get there, here are some practical tips on how to go about it:

First, Mbale isn’t a place you go to without an agenda. Set an agenda. It could be to consult. It could be to stop someone from consulting. It could be to oppose a presidential bid. Whatever the case, have a clear agenda.

Next, announce that agenda. Make it known to everyone with a (digital) TV set or a stable internet connection that you are going to Mbale on a certain day to do (insert your agenda). As a rule, expect objections – Mbale isn’t a place you go to without some resistance.

Next, to put those objecting in their place, get a huge, huge team of lawyers. If possible, get the country’s entire lawyer population on your payroll. If the ones in the country aren’t enough, get some from our neighbors. It is acts like this that foster good regional relationships. Have the lawyers breakdown to the haters why they are wrong for opposing your visit. Since they are so many, make sure their work doesn’t overlap – maybe by apportioning sections in the constitution they should each concentrate on. I joke.

Jokes aside, ensure there’s a welcoming committee in place, ready to you know, welcome you on arrival. They can meet and discuss what food to give you on arrival; (hint hint malewa)

Lastly, they say a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. In your case, the journey of 760 kilometers begins and ends in a few steps. I’m unhappy to be the one to tell you that you won’t make it there. The welcoming committee will probably have to eat the malewa after all.

When they finally tell you…

Wasap! It’s been 3 weeks since we heard from each other. Long time! Some bats had sent applications for blog tenancy; the nerve of those creatures. My apologies for the absence – the 8to5 and Londa, in that order, had taken their toll. Today and over the next 2 days, I’ll share the weekly articles from those 3 weeks then we’ll resume normal weekly programming next week. Steady? steady. Here’s something from 3 weeks ago – right after the ex-Primier announced his intentions to run for our beloved leader’s job…I know, I know, mawolu, but this is the kind that’s been in the microwave. Happy Monday!

This week ended a long wait; we were finally told what we’d been told we’d be told. “I’ll tell you when I tell you what I’ll tell you and you’ll know that you’ve been told a true tale,” had become a popular tongue twister in schools around the country. Our children were getting migraines trying to say it without biting their tongues. Our teachers were writing the statement on the blackboard, not daring to try and say it themselves. We had nearly reached our wit’s end so the former Prime Minister’s grand reveal was a welcome relief. We can now go back to “Three witches made three wishes….”

In the statement, our former Premier pointed out an ailing system as one of the reasons for his declaration of his intention to run for President. Our beloved leader, it is reported, was quick to throw our former Premier under the (movement) bus, pointing out that he was in many ways behind the system he was now criticizing. If there’s any bus you don’t want to be thrown under, it’s the movement bus (because it is moving, geddit?)

We were very surprised by the announcement. Here are a few other announcements that’ll surprise us just as much:

The grass saying it’ll be green next year, not red. We’d on one hand be struggling to understand how grass suddenly got a voice and on the other, why it chose to stay green. Why not switch things up a bit? You can’t honestly be green that long and still be happy. Something’s got to give.

Boda boda riders, through their association, announcing that for the next six months, they’ll bend traffic rules here and there. They’d tell us that in their current state, the rules aren’t tailored to suit an average motorcycle rider. Things like disregarding traffic lights and policemen, adding fashionable scratches to people’s cars, denting vehicles and speeding off, suddenly entering a road – those things, in the interest of all road users, need to go on.

Ghosts telling us that it won’t be long before another institution is discovered to be harbouring & feeding them.

Potholes informing us that in the next year, we can count on running into them on our roads. They’d tell us that they might move around and change size a little, but they have plans to stay.

All these things, and a lot more, would shock us as much as this week’s huge announcement did. What other announcement would take you by surprise?