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A ride down to the new cities

Elevated: So the netizens have been going on and on about the newly-named cities and some of the celebrations we saw came with some sad excuses of cake…but that is not the point. What would best define the new cities for you?

For those who doubted the growth and development of Uganda, you could be in for a big surprise. Last week, Uganda officially welcomed seven new cities; Gulu, Mbale, Jinja, Mbarara, Fort Portal and Masaka. The announcement took the drunkards of Najjera by surprise. By the time they woke up from their power blackouts, it was all done and sealed. For the first time in history, Najjera and Nansana agreed on one thing —that they deserved to be cities more than the new cities. But then, you cannot blame Subaru and Probox drivers for wild thoughts. If you fight with mad men, you risk being called one.

So, what’s the way forward for the cities?
On behalf of the branding experts of Uganda, we have come up with a branding strategy for each of the cities. The proposal will be delivered to the General of the NRA, the only man with a hat. It is no surprise that seven cities were operationalised to match his ‘Mu-seven’ name, or perhaps to rhyme with his age, aka the 70s. Here is the strategy in a nutshell.

We are going to make Mbale the Kadoodi city, it is the city of wild screams in every sense of the word. The city symbol will be the circumcision knife, an indicator that only men worthy of standing pain should be allowed to walk on these streets. The official food will be maleewa and it would be great to have a statue of Sakwa on the streets. So that when the time comes, Erias Lukwago will have something to bring down as he shouts; ‘wuwi lives matter.’

But what else shall be said of Mbale? Mt Elgon? Perhaps. But we would rather we stick to the noises, the whistles, the screams. That is the strength of Mbale. If you cannot whistle with your mouth, you have no business hanging around here.
For the men, it will make sense to stump their feet as hard as possible. This gets us thinking, stumping feet, jumping up in the air, could be something that Mbale shares with Kabale. Whatever the mountains and hills do to people, only the stumps can explain.

Picture a giant grasshopper welcoming you to Masaka. When we were young, people often talked about the ‘welcome’ sign in Masaka. It is at this point that an LED light with a grasshopper should be positioned to announce one’s entry into Masaka. The thing about Masaka is that people claim to know everything.

You can’t believe a word from a mechanic in Masaka. He will claim to know the problem of the car before doing a test drive or opening anything. Masaka, business, hustle, street smartness… that is them. If you got a person from Masaka and sent them to Kikuubo, you will be shocked by the results after a week. This Masaka person will know everyone by name, and vice versa. They will know where the best deal is happening, above all, they will claim to be the supplier of everything in Kikuubo.

In Bad Black’s speak, the people of Masaka are ‘ambitionous’. It is impossible for them to fail in life. They have the grit to make it on the streets. They are cunning, and are great company to have. They also know how to play victim to further their path in life. Some will claim to be ducklings and remind you of their struggles. You cannot beat them at the sympathy game.

The stone city has evolved over the years. We are divided between Nyege Nyege and a giant chappati. If there is one thing that Jinja gave to Uganda, it is the chappati. One of these days, we should gazette a public holiday in remembrance of this great innovation. After the chappati, they decided to rouse our hearts, minds and bodies with the greatest celebration, aka Nyege Nyege.

Jinja will also need a wall of fame. This wall of fame should only feature names of the women that have disturbed Uganda over the years. We cannot ignore them. They only must sneeze for us to get talking. Talk of Zari, talk of Zuena. If there is one city that needs no argument, it is Jinja. From being the source of the Nile, to the source of some of the most beautiful women that have graced Kampala but above all, showing the world that endless power of wheat flour.

There is not much to be said about Mbarara. You could talk about the milk, but that is an over-used statement. You could talk about the people, but what is there to celebrate about everyone speaking like they own a piece of Uganda? Everyone in Mbarara behaves as though they are a call away from the President. In all aspects, Mbarara has evolved into a poor man’s version of Najjera, or the rich man’s version of Nansana.
The latter seems to hold much truer. We could also talk about Mbarara people’s obsessions with sticks, and fuel guzzlers. Guzzlers and sticks. That is not a combination of a progressive city.

Fort Portal
When God had created everything in Uganda, he decided to retire in Fort Portal. There is not a single city that will calm you down within minutes of entry like Fort Portal. Andrew Mwenda could have been worse had it not been for Fort Portal. It is rumoured that he would be thrice as vocal, only for the crater gods to calm him down.

Gulu as they say, the eating is in the pudding. You cannot read about Gulu in a column. The Gulu experience is a lived one. No words can capture. But just a warning, Gulu is double-edged. The same hand that feeds you, could as well bite you. You only have to make the journey to this city and make up your own experience.

Huh! Arua Arua! How about we save this one for another day.

Twitter: ortegatalks

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