WATCH OUT. We all must have experienced one of these people and hopefully learnt our lessons. For example, if you took something to the tailor, it is only wise that you sit and wait for your outfit and if you happen to deal with a carpenter, never at any time pay them the full amount.
It is awesome to trust and bet on people. It is awesome to have a list of ‘sures’ but what is not fantastic, is betting on the wrong things. There are certain Ugandans that you certainly never want to blindly trust. If you choose to, then you are definitely doing it at your own risk. Here we go…
It does not matter how nice they talk to you, never bet on a Ugandan tailor to deliver a project in time. If you are lucky, the tailor will deliver your dress two weeks after the wedding. Ugandan tailors work at their own pace, they promise heaven and deliver hell. Time is relative in their world, a week from now could mean a year. You must always pass by their workplace and sew the clothes together. And if you over-press them, they will jump, knit up an ugly design and hand it over.
Ugandan boda boda riders
If a boda boda guy tells you he knows the exact place, do not simply believe. Most boda boda riders have no clue where they are taking you. They simply rely on gut feeling. You can run a thought experiment; pick any random movie title as your destination and almost half of Ugandan bodaboda riders will know that place. The only problem, each of them will have a different bearing of that location. Some will claim Avengers is in Bugolobi, others will claim it is a club in Nansana.
Some professions simply never finish what they start. If they finish, it always turns out to be the exact opposite of their design briefs. If you ask for a chair, expect a stool. If you ask for a table, expect a mat. If you make a mistake of paying the full cost at initiation, then you are forever bound to them. But you cannot blame them, it is a disease they cannot treat. What else could explain the constant cries of Ugandans over their carpenters?
To understand any system, you must understand the incentives. In the case of mechanics, the incentive is to find problems in order to get money. Once the colonial government paid Ugandans for showing up to the district chief with rat tails during the plague periods. Most natives scaled up the hunt for rats by growing their own rats. It is the same with Ugandan mechanics. Go out there, look for a brand new car, hand it over to a Ugandan mechanic and sure as hell, they will find a mammoth of problems. It will range from the fuel pump to the alternator. They will remember to mention the brake pads, the oil filter and the mother of everything, the timing belt. How they love to exalt the god of ‘wiring’? In every garage, there exists the god of wiring — his is a special fee.
Building a house is no easy task. Builders do not make it any easier. It is at this point that employers should gazette some days for their employees to concentrate on their building projects. We could call this; ‘building or construction leave.’ Builders will always inflate the cost of the entire project. If they do not procure their own materials, they will find a way to sneak them out. If that too fails, they will use the materials extravagantly. Be certain, you will always find something off, something to break, something that you did not plan at all. After slay queens, fear Ugandan builders.
2021 is getting closer. Ugandan politicians are morphing into another skin. They are saying the things you need to hear. They are attending every funeral and function. They will even be attending baby showers and bridal showers. Nothing will stop Ugandan politicians from being right in your face. Once they catch you, you will now be the one to run after them. They now have a clear script, oppose everything, organise a mini-protest, and call upon journalists to witness the ‘violent’ arrest. Politicians will do anything to get them in the news. They do not want to work, they just have to appear to be working. You can go ahead and trust every other Ugandan but not once should you trust politicians.
Ugandan conductors and touts
Whenever Ugandan conductors say one thing, they certainly mean another. “Ayisse omu” does not mean one person left, it means about three people left. “Tugenderaawo” does not mean the taxi leaves shortly, it means, the taxi will leave when it is full. Ugandan conductors will treat you like a boss when outside, once in, they treat you like a prisoner. They will stop the taxi at an illegal spot to pick a passenger, but they will not stop there to drop off one. They will give you all sorts of titles on condition that you are boarding the taxi. You will be called mummy, boss, professor. But let you dare stray, instantaneously, you will be given disrespectful titles. Above all, they never have money change.
Your Ugandan friend
Look at the person next to you. If you trust them, start leaving an allowance for doubt. Why? Because of those simple lines; “I am expecting some ka money”, “Let me call you back”, “I am five minutes away”, “Send me your CV”, “I know someone there”. If you live long in this country, you begin to realise that one plus one can equal any number you choose.