There are three Ugandas. You will be lucky to experience the three Ugandas in your lifetime. Most only get to experience one Uganda. Perhaps there are even more Ugandas, I could be wrong! But I have been lucky to have a glimpse of the three.
There is a Uganda that is like hell. Everything sucks. You apply endlessly to jobs and all you get are constant rejections. You try out a business, and nothing just works. You are relegated to the trenches. You suffer all injustices. You feel the brunt of the curfew and lockdown policies. You know no one. You have zero connections. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. You believe in witchcraft, you believe in curses. It sucks! It is a Uganda that sees many convinced that is better off to sell all they have here and try to hustle out a life in the Middle East. In this Uganda, despite all the comments about Mulago, there is no option, you have to go there.
Then there is the Purgatory of Uganda. Things are pretty balanced. You manage to work at a well-paying job. You can foot your bills. You pray from the contemporary churches, the one where the pastor shows up in T.shirts and jeans. You can buy a car, live in an apartment. Although you still struggle for some days of the month, you have access to the good bits of life. You can afford a bottle at one of the hangouts.
You can rant about the potholes, about UMEME. You know someone or two. You have a certain illusion of power, and money. You can afford to throw some sensible wedding. Save up, buy a plot, construct something. You probably have some health insurance. So you are insulated from some of the medical system disasters. Once in a while, you participate in book challenges, you can attend a Nyege Nyege, travel to some locations in this country. Pose with the chaps that matter and post a photo to show you are somewhere close.
Then there is the Special Uganda. It is the Uganda of “if you know, you know.” They call the shots. If you ever wondered who sleeps in all these big hotels, these people have these hotels in their homes. They don’t just have power, they are power!
It takes one phone call for them to change your destiny. As you dream about the hottest babes in this town, the people in this Uganda keep blocking the calls from these babes. They have missed calls from different Generals in this country, they can summon Ministers.
They don’t make the rules, they are the rules. If you want anything, they will it into reality. When you are in this Uganda, you forget about all your worries and problems. You keep wondering why the people in the other two Ugandas can’t keep quiet for a moment, why they keep whining and ranting over small small problems. Everything that looks like a big deal in the other two Ugandas is a ka simple issue in this other Uganda. Stuck in jam? No worries, you can always summon a lead car.
In this Uganda, you don’t need connections. You don’t have to make a million calls to solve a problem. Everything requires one direct phone call. Stuck at immigration, worry not, the boss at immigration will rush to sort you out. In this Uganda, there are no bribes, just commands and orders.
Often times people who live in Purgatory Uganda tend to assume that there is no other Uganda beyond theirs. As you complain about the fuel prices, someone in another Uganda will be following up on their consignment of fuel to ensure their petrol station is well stocked. The day you experience the Special Uganda even for just a day, your eyes will open.
You will realize that there’s more than one formula to things, there is what the world says, and there is the other formula that works too smoothly. You can win a court case by hiring the best lawyers, you can as well win a court case by having some shots of whiskey with the judge, a night before the court hearing.
It is important to recognize which Uganda you belong to! More important however, to recognize that there is more than one Uganda. And that all these Ugandas are happening at the same time, in the same place!
So before you pick battles with people, be certain you inhabit the same Uganda. You could be in purgatory Uganda trying to compete for the same girl with someone in Special Uganda. As he charters a plane to Kidepo, you will be asking for discounts. Know your Uganda.
The author wishes to remain anonymous