There is an anger crisis in the country. Everyone is angry!
#Olemwa: In Uganda, you will always meet a category of employees who act like they own the world. They hold the key to the Garden of Eden. You may think without them, the world will cease to exist. Today we recognise those awesome employees for the ‘good’ work they do in controlling the world’s oxygen supply. If we had it any better, we would place sanctions on these categories.
- Bank tellers
In Uganda, banks do not value their customers. It is the only place in the world where you are disrespected for trying to deposit and withdraw your own money. Bank tellers are stingy with their words, the best you will hear from them are words such as; ‘sign here, sign here.’ And why is it that when it gets to withdrawing money, banks are extremely strict on the signature? Any slight mismatch and they will not hear a word about it. Bank tellers will size you up until you shock them with a large sum of money. Even then, they will disguise the shock and find fault. And then there is that chap that waits as you approach the counter only for them to redirect you to another teller. There is also that other one teller who is always moving around from point to point without necessarily doing anything. I guess their job description is to always leave their counter at random moments.
- Ugandan bouncers
Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, bouncers have returned as humble souls and we only hope this stays on. Ugandan bouncers assume more powers than the bar managers and the owners. Again, their job description reads; “feign an annoyed face, speak no word and simply point.” Ugandan bouncers have their egos on alert, they cannot wait to be pissed off over something. On judgement day, should God outsource heaven’s gate operations to Ugandan bouncers, there is a high chance many men are ending up in hell.
- Passport officers
A lot has changed at the Immigration office, yet, the personnel in the different office rooms are yet to transform their attitude. In Uganda, the chap trying to scan your biometric details always assumes an extra air of importance. They assume themselves to be doing you a favour. No, Madam Mercy, you are helping no one, everyone at the centre has paid for this service and you earn a salary for this work. You need not shout at anyone to straighten their head as you take their photo or scan their fingerprints.
- Supermarket attendants
I do not have many regrets in life. However, I regret visiting one of those supermarkets adjacent to the old taxi park. Here, you pay to be disrespected. This is the routine in Ugandan supermarkets; “the person at the checkout gets your products, scans them one after the other, and then turns that screen for you to see the price.” The chaps at the checkout counters are not interested in telling you about any new offer, or promotion. They simply want you to leave. God forbid you show up just before they close. It is only in Uganda where an employee will be annoyed because you have showed up at closing hours. They do not look at a customer as extra profit at the end of the day, they see you as a burden. In Uganda, you only survive with poor customer care by apologising at every turn. It is the customer who apologises to the supermarket attendant.
- Lounge waitresses
Life was good in Kampala until lounges happened. I knew trouble had come to the city when bars adopted new names. Suddenly they were not bars or nightclubs anymore, they were lounges. And not just lounges, some picked on funny Italian and Spanish names. And then all hell broke loose, it was the last time that a customer was king in a Ugandan bar. Now, in most lounges, Ugandans plead to be served expensive alcohol while flexing for seats and to be served by snobbish waiters and waitresses. To make matters worse, the pain is compounded by bars playing Amapiano. Perhaps Ugandans have a special affinity for pain. Why would someone wake up every week day, struggle through traffic jam, stress through the work ordeals and then crown the week with a moment of suffering in a Ugandan lounge? Perhaps most Ugandans are suffering from a confidence crisis, they need to be validated, and the only way to get validated is to act like they enjoy listening to Amapiano, while drinking diluted cocktails. Lately, cocktails taste like omunanansi! God forbid you buy a cocktail from anything with a Hub to its name.
- University employees
Back in the day, when universities were about intellectual stimulation, and an enjoyment of all the pleasures that come from the pursuit of knowledge, there was no gap between lecturers and students. Today, Ugandan lecturers suffer from an identity crisis. They doubt their professorship that they will find fault when a student forgets their title. Dear professor, there is no need in reminding us that you are a professor, let your work speak for itself. The idea that students should worship you simply because you exist and managed to defend a thesis is repulsive. Let your work earn you respect. Give us the next Covidex! And then you have university secretaries. For Ugandan students, God should exempt them from any further suffering in the after-life. If we are rehearsing for hell, then Ugandan students have already earned their degrees!
- Askaris and receptionists at company gates
You can tell a lot about a company by how the people at the front desk treat you. For most Ugandan companies, the front desk personnel assume more powers than the CEOs. If you are dropping an application, you literally have to sweet talk, coddle and even tip the chaps at the front office. If you are submitting your reply to a government tender, you will have to bow down and worship the gods at the front desk. Gone are the days when people built offices so that those who needed them could easily access them. Gone are the smiles that were a must have for receptionists. I suspect everyone is transferring their collective anger onto another person. There is an anger epidemic in the country. Everyone is angry and everyone is looking for someone to have a share of their anger.
- Mobile Money attendants
Is it a crime in Uganda to withdraw and deposit money? Are we still paying for the crimes of Onan in the Bible? Even after telling a mobile money attendant that you wish to withdraw money, they will take minutes before granting your application. It is only in Uganda where people running businesses think they are doing you a favour. But then again, you cannot blame ordinary Ugandans, our own politicians act like we owe them favours and respect for choosing to represent us. No wonder everyone driving a government car thinks they deserve the right of way. We buy their cars, pay their salaries, now we also must create space for them on the roads. As a responsible citizen, I have created an association; “Ugandans Against Government Officials”, aka UAGO!
- Ugandan slay queens
Now you may be wondering, is slaying a job? Yes, it is one of the most paying jobs in Uganda. However, the slay queens are always short-lived. There are always new slay queens coming on the scene. There is a high turn-over in the sector. It is not easy to change weaves for 12 months, it is not easy to live two lives, the party life and the real life. For most Ugandans, they run two personalities, they run the social personality, and the real life. And soon and very soon, the social life always goes bust. Yet, Ugandan slay queens will not stop setting standards that they themselves have failed to attain. They keep raising the minimum for transport fee, they keep flaunting Diors from China, and above all, they keep leaving their clients on ‘last seen’. Why would slay queens disrespect their potential employers and clients?
- Taxi drivers and conductors
In Uganda, the moment you enter a taxi, you lose all your powers to the driver and the conductor. You have a choice when you are being picked up, however, you have no choice as to where you are dropped off. Once inside, the taxi driver and conductor set the rules. You do not get to decide how fast or slow the taxi should go. Only in Uganda where the customer is a slave!
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