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How to be …a Kampala driver



Madness: Even if Jesus returned with his disciples, nothing would save Kampala from the indiscipline that has become of many drivers in our city. It’s very normal not to be normal on Kampala roads, writes Ian Ford Nkera.

Kampala roads entertain drunks, psychos, the ones not-so-gifted with common sense and the ones whose birthright is never to give anyone way. We have loud-mouths who are always eager to chip in with an insult or two. We can’t forget the ones who think that they own your time and are not in a rush to go anywhere.
Kampala roads always have room for a new character. People who have driven in Kampala for the first time always demand a heart transplant after their ride. The boda boda guys won’t rest until your side mirror is knocked off. Pedestrians are not about to stop crossing roads anyhow. Basically, it’s kavuyo just. The disregard for road regulations is alarming. If you intend to go behind the wheel for the first time in our beloved city, read this guide to blend in well.

Zebra crossing is for zebras
Until the day a zebra shows up on our road and crosses, my advice is to continue driving. The pedestrians are also very certain that the zebra crossing wasn’t designed for them and should you stop at a zebra crossing expecting people to cross, you will be shocked. They won’t do it. They will simply look at you like you are possibly mad and don’t know what you’re doing. It’s after second thought that they will run for their life while crossing. Ugandans develop trust issues when crossing roads. They are just not used to motorists stopping at a zebra crossing. It’s how things are done here. Just drive.

Thou shall not give way
Female drivers, taxi drivers, government officials and army officers shall never give you way in traffic jam even if their life depended on it. Women have hearts of stone. Even if you beg for ‘faasi’, she just won’t want to know. For some reason, women feel so empowered on the road and wield a lot of authority. They are mean to the bone and if you are to survive on our roads, never have sympathy for anyone, including these bu hot chicks. Stand your ground and move on. Taxi drivers will remind you about the importance of basic formal education because they don’t use their brains too much. These ones will force their way in whether you like it or not. Taxis just need everyone’s prayers so be prepared to painfully give them way.


Your wallet is your driver’s license
For as long as your wallet is yawning, park that car at home. Driving without a permit will make you discover all the shortcuts of Kampala as you dodge traffic officials. It will also teach you how to lie effectively but most importantly, it will teach you how to spend. These traffic officers will have you spending money meant for your baby’s milk. No jokes. Afande Okello could be earning a salary equivalent to the amount of fuel you put in your car weekly so ideally he will demand some ‘soda’. If you don’t have what to give him, your butt will be in jail for a couple of hours. Better have something on you. Just in case things turn sour.


Crude language
It doesn’t matter whether you are a saint or you have God’s Whatsapp number, activity on Kampala roads will have you saying things defiant of your religious beliefs. If you don’t have any words to say, trust someone to say them to you. Things like “ojira ogubuto” meaning no wonder you have a big stomach should sound like music to your ears. “Obusiru obukujude” meaning you are full of stupidity should be something you will get used to when you accidentally forget to put an indicator.
Even if you are not creative in verbal arson, the boda boda guys will help you to. These boda bodas will irritate you to your last nerve I tell you. Obviously you won’t match taxi conductors whose life’s purpose is in using crude language but be creative. Don’t be bullied off the roads. Beliefs about your church ministry will vanish the day a taxi conductor calls you “mbaata gwe” meaning ‘You duck’. Trust me you will reply him.

Abuse road signs
On Kampala roads, its about the rule of opposites. Just do the opposite. Do not make a mistake and follow the ‘IN’ sign when visiting a petrol station. Pretend you haven’t seen it and use the ‘EXIT’. Kampala motorists are trained to see things the other way round. If your brain is telling you to be smart, ignore it and be like everyone else. Kampala drivers still don’t know what a one-way road is.
Follow this guide at your own risk (Laughs). Do not be a typical Kampala driver but a good and responsible driver at all times. Do not drink and drive.
This is a humour column and the views expressed henceforth may not neccesarily be an objective assessment of the individual.

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