By Mpuga Rukidi, Uganda:
Sometime back, I upset, really upset with Africa's most populous country. I went on and on about how they should leave Ugandans, alone. I gave them credit were it is due, about how their music is so ubiquitous you would be mad not to know P Square, Two Face Idibia, Debanj and likes. But it appears I gave them due, like we usually do here. I'll give a small example. A Nigerian friend who lives here, and is a very affable man, tells me this is the best country he has seen. He is recognized everywhere and knows more offices than yours truly, who was born, bread, and yes, taught here. If you contract him and you default, he doesn't take you to police. What for? Who does not know the power of Juju from Nigeria in Uganda?
He simply requests you to pay his money, and he gives you a timeline. If you are still insolent, he reminds you that he is actually Nigerian, and adds this: 'Do u knw what tha' means? The 'tha', actually sounds like 'dah'. If you still don't get it he gets his phone and calls Nigeria, speaks a few words in his native tongue very fast and adds: 'After how long will this man be dedo?'. Then he tells his Nigerian colleague on the other side of the phone, to first put 'dis man on a satellite, make sho he first loses his manhood and becomes a woman, den kill him with no hair on his body.' Then he asks his colleague, in English of course: 'Oga you say dis man be dead in how many minute? Thirty? That be too long, Oga. I want dis man dead right now. Twenty? Ok Twenty'.
Then he walks a way. He is very quickly followed by Mr. Defaulter, tears rolling down his eyes, pleading his life should not taken. Very quickly Defaulter agrees to pay the sum, plus interest. In reality, my friend has no Oga with such powers. But that's what a good reputation does. The juju in Nigerian movies has made all Nigerians consultant juju givers. Am like the defaulter in this story.
To take you back a little, the reason I was angry about Nigeria was because I had seen a picture of Oga Goodluck Jonathan at an event deeply asleep. I had taken offence because that was a practice with 'Made in Uganda written all over it. But my heart is at peace now. Just the other day our budget was read, and our image as a country was redeemed. Not even Nigeria could dare us. The Minister and other government officials must have taken…or some other such serious tranquiliser. Goodness me! You should have seen them. They were not napping. They were dreaming – perhaps dreaming that a budget was being read. Others attempted to chew gum, but the spirit of Uganda is so strong. So why had I even been scared the Nigerians had been stealing our image, our very proud national image? And in the Nigerian case it was just the president who did it. Here it is collective action, team work that we are talking about.
I had been wrong after all. We gave our Naija brothers and sisters more credit than they deserve, nowhere more so than when it comes to the true image of Uganda. I must salute our politicians – they are keeping our flag really high! So dear Naija brothers and sisters, worry not. I've got no beef with you, and never will, and the strength of what I saw with my own two the other day.
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