Be in class: Many of us have tales to tell about our expereience being caught on the road past curfew. Have you learnt any lessons or will this article be your reference henceforth?
The President has made a grand promise to Ugandans. He is keeping the best for the last. That come January, good or evil, black or white, rain or shine, summer or winter, he will fully open the country. For the first time, January is the new December. Everywhere in Uganda, December has been postponed and will only happen in January AC, aka After Covid-19. That said, with a few months left, one can safely avail tips for surviving past curfew. These are tips for legends, if you know, you know. If you gerrit, you gerrit, if you don’t gerrit…
1. Curfew is a state of mind
Remember, everything is in your mind. The curfew, the lockdown, all these are social constructs. They exist only in your mind. Have this at the back of your mind and you will never experience a curfew at all. That means, if you are physically locked down, you can always jump into a metaverse and experience the world beyond the physical. You can always have a Twitter Spaces moment, you can throw a Zoom party. Lockdown is in your mind. It doesn’t exist.
2. Curfew is a state of your wallet
Rule Number One exists to prepare you for Rule Number Two. When it comes to Uganda, curfew is about the confidence of your wallet. If you are broke, curfew will always exist. If you have to use a boda boda or taxi, then curfew applies to you. If you drive a Vitz, a Passo, then expect to be stopped at the police checkpoint. If you drive a Subaru, why the heavens would you be roaming the streets past curfew time? If you drive a Range Rover, then you determine the curfew, you choose your checkpoints, you are in charge. You can forget Rule Number One, but never forget Rule Number Two. It will take you places. It will earn you salutes, Afandes will smile for you. If the wallet is happy, you can forget about curfew. If you gerrit, you gerrit, if you don’t gerrit, you don’t deserve to gerrit.
2. Curfew is a state of your profession
There has never been a better time to be part of the press. The Fourth Estate has had the best of the moment. Nobody wants to waste time holding a journalist at the roadblock. Journalists will never run out of excuses. “I am chasing a story. I am travelling to Kabale to interview the minister” name it all. If a journalist is arrested in a bar, he can always claim he was doing an investigative story about life past curfew.
Lawyers will always wish that they can achieve the same recognition, but unfortunately life is not about wishes and arguments. Ugandan lawyers can learn by rote all they want when it comes to Latin Maxims, but they will always suffer past curfew. Your profession matters during curfew hours. If you are a health professional (not a masseuse), a security personnel (not a bouncer), an engineer, you are good to go.
4. Curfew is a state of your network, aka gamba n’ogu
It is not about what you know during curfew hours, it is about who you know and how they know you. Most people in Kampala claim to know people, but the people they claim to know, don’t know them. Just because you had a photo moment with the King of Yoruba doesn’t mean the king remembers. Nonetheless, always have your gamba n’ogus on speed dial. But in case your calls are not returned, always remember Rule Number Two. You must also be certain that your gamba n’ogu matters. Just because they call him afande doesn’t mean he can give life-changing orders. He could be a struggling gamba n’ogu. For reference, always have a DPC, RPC, Major etc on speed dial.
5. Curfew is a state of being
In Uganda, there are two things you must always have; a potbelly, a beard and height. You do not need to have muscles. You do not need to have a great haircut, you simply need that classic beer belly. Why, because the beer belly will always remind people that you can execute Rule Number Two, the height will speak to the fact that you could be someone, and the beard confirms you have been around town for some time.
Curfew in Uganda is about perceptions. If your looks betray your rights to being out past curfew, you will be stopped. If your body size communicates that you are a broke man, you will be stopped. If you are stopped and you greet the afande first, you will be stopped. If you start smiling once stopped, you can expect to express the happiness of your wallet. You must fake it while at a checkpoint. You must say less, you must not panic.
Above all, you must have a good display. Buy some lab coats, get some eyeglasses, buy some helmets, spanners, stethoscopes, name it all. These are the things to place around your car, they are used to confuse the fellows who man roadblocks. Above all, never drive past curfew with a beautiful lady in the co-driver’s seat! But in case you forget every rule and remember but one rule, always remember rule two.
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