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Monday, January 27, 2014

We are fleeing from the high maintenance girl


I was chatting with an OB I had not seen in a while. He asked when I was planning to get married, and I confessed that I am determined to put a ring on it this year. “I hope your woman is not a high-maintenance girl,” my friend said. “Those ones are not marriage-material; they should be avoided like a scandal!”
It struck me that I had heard the expression “high-maintenance girl” (hereafter called HMG) before but didn’t have a true picture. So, I run to my Facebook friends for elucidation, and gosh the things they said about HMGs!

My colleague Daudi even extracted a meaning for me from urban dictionary. It says a HMG is one who has expensive taste (on the man’s account, of course!), is constantly concerned about her appearance, feels she is hotter than most girls, and usually judges others based on outward appearance.

This was put in proper perspective by Herbert who said the HMG expected her man to have an exclusive weekend budget to the tune of millions because she has to shop at high-end places like Forest Mall, go for a Shs200,000-movie at The Hub, tell you to park at some posh salon and wait on her while the hairdresser works magic on her hair, does her manicure, pedicure, massage, and facial makeover. Meanwhile, you are still waiting for her!

Then, Lauryn said the quickest way to spot a HMG is to look at how high her heels are: “If they are past two inches, run for your life!” It’s with these filthy-expensive spike heels that she announces her presence as they clang on the tiles and make heads turn.

Even more, a HMG never holds one phone for long. Peter says when she asks if it is okay to give away her I-phone to her “Baby Sis” because she heard the Samsung S4 takes better pictures, she is the one!
When KFC, which sells chicken in bucket-fulls hit town, HMGs immediately dumped other chicken hangouts for KFC. “To them,” says Dan, “the chicken from other restaurants is usually diseased!”
In short, according to Kenneth, the HMG is one who “takes more money out of your wallet than you can put in!”

Interestingly, men love hanging out with these girls even when they pay through the nose for their company. Yet, they avoid them when looking for wives. Most girls that are labelled by the press as “beautiful but unlucky” are often HMGs.

“Many men would really love to hang around a HMG but when the marriage equation comes in, it becomes a different situation altogether,” Dan explains. “You probably want to hang around with this suave chic, but deep inside you are thinking that if you got married and you hadn’t built a house, she would want you to rent a posh flat or upscale house of Shs2m a month.”

Miriam also has an inkling why HMGs cannot make wives: “They usually look good all the time, the reason you can never eat supper at home since she can’t wash the dishes.”

Sound off : Does being high maintenance necessarily mean not marriage material?
“That is just something girls use to set a standard for who should approach them. We just play with the man’s ego and confidence. Even when they get married, they try to maintain that standard. We should remember though that when a girl loves a man, they usually are not materialistic. There is a possibility of marrying a relatively low standard man. If love is not the reason for marriage, though, money shall talk then.
Bridget Bamulinde, Data Entrant, MTN

“They need money to be happy, always hard to please. Basically annoying. I would say typical high maintenance women are not marriage material. However, there are women who are high maintenance at their own expense (the financially independent).
Agnes Akello, Statistician 

“They are definitely marriage material, if you can afford them. And all guys deserve one because she motivates you to earn. Usually, such girls are actually capable of taking care of themselves. Because if you want something, you will earn it. People that judge them are those that get comfortable living the low life. They only want to live the life she deserves.
Sheila Atukei, University student 

--Saturday Monitor, January 25, 2014

Monday, January 20, 2014

He dropped out of school for 18 years

He has fought for every drop of greatness in him. Without a transcendent desire to acquire university education and the resolve never to give up, he would not be who he is today, writes Dennis D. Muhumuza

It is said some people are born great and others have greatness thrust upon them. But Rwabatongore Rweishe has fought for every drop of greatness in him. Without a transcendent desire to acquire university education and the resolve never to give up, he would not be who he is today, seeking to represent the people of Rubabo County in parliament in 2016. 

Mr. Rweishe is eying the Rubabo County parliamentary seat in 2016
For 18 years, Rwabatongore deferred his dream because of circumstances beyond his control. The first obstacle struck in 1983 when he completed primary school. His father told him that was enough education since he could now write his name and speak some English. 

“As heir apparent you must stay home and learn to be a responsible man when I’m gone,” said Rweishe’s father, shattering his son’s dream. His parents Elnest and Joselyn Rwabatongore of Nyakabungo village, Buyanja, Rubabo County, Rukungiri District, did not want their only child out of their sight. They reasoned that there was no need for him to study more since they had enough wealth to give him a comfortable life.

Rweishe kept home for nine years, but never gave up cajoling his parents to let him return to school. In 1992, his father relented and sent him to the nearby Nyabutete Secondary School. Rwabatongore,20, was the oldest student in Senior One with a moustache already forming . 

Soon Rweishe won over fellow students with his outgoing personality and eloquence. He was appointed the Chairman School Council and became a vibrant student leader who was not afraid of confronting irresponsible teachers.

“I once asked a drunken teacher what precedent he was setting by being drunk,” he says adding, “The teacher later became my friend and interested me more in politics by telling me that John F. Kennedy had eight brains and had not even used half of them by the time he was assassinated in 1963.” 

It stirred in Rweishe the belief that to be a great leader you must be very intelligent and knowledgeable. He started reading everything he could find about exemplary leaders. 

“I was profoundly stirred by Kennedy’s challenge to fellow Americans asking what they can do for their country instead of asking what their country could do for them.”

Since then, Rweishe vowed to serve his country as president one day. He began by sharing what he read with the wanainchi to empower them. When he completed O-Level in 1996 at the age of 24, he joined Universal High School in Kampala because it was easier to access books and vital information in the city.
But tragedy struck in 1998 just after Rweishe had completed high school. His father died. Being an only child, he shelved his university plans and stayed home for another nine years comforting his mother and taking care of their home. 

In 2007, at the age of 35, Rweishe applied and was admitted to Kampala International University for a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration on the long-distance scheme. This gave him the flexibility to take care of his three children while he studied. He had married and had a child those days he stayed at home at the urging of his parents. But as fate would have it, his wife had died after their third child, and Rweishe chose not to marry again until all his children are grown up and independent. 

At the time he was studying for his degree, Rwabatongore also pursued a diploma in Mass Communication at the Uganda Institute of Business and Media Studies, as well as a certificate in Administrative Law at the Law Development Centre (LDC). 

He is so concerned with using his discoveries to empower the larger community in Rubabo County where he moves from home to home teaching them how to increase their produce and earn income for self-substance and for investment. 

As a farmer and cattle keeper’s son who was raised on the farm, he understands agriculture and animal husbandry and argues that these sectors alone have the capacity to eradicate poverty, unemployment and boast the Ugandan economy. He showed me a 50-page manuscript titled ‘15-Point Program for National Development’ in which he articulates things that can transform this country from the grassroots and keep it on the economic growth curve.  

"Uganda’s arable land of 5200000 hectares’ produces 610000 metric tones of banana but most of these bananas are not being processed to benefit the economy on a grander scale,” says Rwabatongore. He proposes an Act of Parliament that will establish the Ministry of Food Processing to advance food processing and production. He also wants the government to open an agricultural bank where farmers may get loans to improve and increase their output.

Rwabatongore is passionate about his ideas on empowerment and transformation. He reels off statistics with the adroitness of a professor to back his arguments. He accuses the current Rubabo Country MP Paula Turyahikayo of being a politician rather than a servant of those who elected her, which is why he has chosen to take her on in 2016. 

“A politician is concerned about his lofty office and the allowances he gets while a servant always touches base with those he represents and collects their ideas for implementation,” Rwabatongore explains. “As Jesus said, a great leader must be a great servant.” 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

2014 promises to be a better literary year

It appears most writers’ major resolution this year is to release more books and continue to grow the industry to high standards, writes Dennis D. Muhumuza

The excitement that comes with the folding of the year (2013) and the unfolding of the new one (2014), has not spared Uganda’s literature fraternity either. The writers’ major resolution is to release more books in this year and continue to grow the industry to high standards.

The death of literary guru Chinua Achebe in March 2013 was seen as the coming down of the curtain on the old-school writers, whose works have dominated the industry for decades, and the beginning of the real shining of a new generation of African writers whose works are enjoying rave reviews worldwide.

Setting the pace is Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie, 35, whose newest book, Americanah, is a must-read in 2014. When Adichie released Half of a Yellow Sun after her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, she was described by Chinua Achebe as “A new writer endowed with the gift of ancient storytellers.” No doubt her star will continue to twinkle this year.

In my opinion, however, NoViolet Balawayo of Zimbabwe is better than Adichie, and if you haven’t read any of her works, you must do so this year. If you are looking for one African novel to read this year, I recommend We Need New Names, which made the 2013 Man Booker Prize shortlist, making Balawayo the first black African woman and Zimbabwean to make it there.

For the non-fiction lovers, you must not miss The Hero Within, the autobiography of Dr Jane Kengeya Kayondo. Released in November last year, this is a brutally honest odyssey of her life from poverty to becoming the first Ugandan woman epidemiologist, and the first to study Aviation Medicine. The autobiography also inadvertently serves as a commentary on Uganda’s politics, especially in the 1970s. A must-read, I tell you.

Last year saw the launch of Writivism, an initiative aimed at spotting and nurturing new writing talent. The participants were taken through mentoring process and wrote short stories, which were published in the local press. The finest of those have been anthologised as Picture Frames and Other Stories. The initiative is continuing from where it stopped, and this time is involving the rest of Africa.

Last year's Writivism participants
According to Brian Bwesigye, the brain behind the programme, they have already received 120 applications from emerging writers across the continent. Ten training workshops will be held; two in each of the countries of Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and South Africa. It is in these workshops that the emerging writers will be paired with writing mentors and a short-story prize will be introduced. Such initiatives are timely in positioning the emerging African writer to relay the African story with experimentalism never before imagined.

The Uganda Female Writers Association (Femrite) also continues in pushing the woman writer into the arena of excellence. Just last year, Femrite launched African Violet and Other Stories, an anthology of 15 stories, including the five short-listed for the 2012 Caine Prize at an event in Kampala attended by the 2012 Caine Prize winner, Rotimi Babatunde. This is an anthBombay’s Republic, and Beatrice Lamwaka’s Pillar of Love.
ology worth reading for its exceptional variety, including Babatunde’s hilarious hit,

Uganda’s literary industry, though still held back by low participation in local prizes, and blinded by the search for western/outside approval by the writers themselves, will perform way better this year than it did in 2013.

--Saturday Monitor, January 4, 2014

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Dancing, rejoicing and worshipping

As the world waits for the midnight hour that will usher in 2014, millions of believers will be reaching out to God, writes Dennis D. Muhumuza

On the night of December 31, Makerere Full Gospel Church, the first Pentecostal church in Uganda and its sister churches in the city, will gather at Makerere University main sports ground for an overnight service and celebration of the end of the year. The story will be the same in many other venues around the country as churches have made it a custom to end the year with an all-night spiritual jamboree characterised with hyperactive performances from the best gospel musicians, dancers, actors and comedians, complete with plangent fireworks.

Pr. Fred Wantaate at the pulpit with a mic leads church members in prayer
Long gone are the days when such events were left to the secular world with multitudes cramming sports venues like Namboole and Nakivubo stadiums to be entertained by musicians. Others would gather in strategic spots with a panoramic view of the city, to watch the fireworks. According to Ivan Wobusobozi of Redemption City Church, evangelical and Pentecostal leaders of more than 1,500 churches in Uganda, have adopted popular ways of ushering in the New Year, but retained the spiritual and transformational angles without taking away the fun and excitement.

But how important are such overnights? According to Pastor Fred Wantaate, the senior pastor of Makerere Full Gospel Church, the last day of the last month in a year is special in the lives of many people for it signals an end to a season and announces the beginning of a new season.

“For many Ugandans it is time to congratulate themselves for having “survived” another year. It is therefore in order for them to celebrate and thank God for enabling them to go through another year,” says Pr. Wantaate. “It is also time to rededicate oneself for next season in prayer, set goals and make resolutions. It is a time to be spiritually recharged and rebooted for the next journey of 12 months. Ugandans repent and pray for their leaders and families.”

Unlike last year’s overnight which focused on prayer, this year’s event has been dubbed a family affair where parents and children will feast on food, tea and cake, with fireworks display to last at least five minutes. There will be no long brimstone sermons admonishing congregants to live pure lives in the next year lest they perish. Rather ordinary Christians will testify of the goodness of the Lord, according to the cleric.

And in line with the night’s theme, “Praise Precedes Victory”, emphasis will be on celebration and thanksgiving with lots of music and dance. The theme is drawn from 2 Chronicles 20 in which King Jehoshaphat is led by God to respond to the fear of imminent destruction with praise and worship. He received a revelation that spiritual worship is the ultimate ambush against Satan and all his designs. And when the king and his men marched to war singing and praising God, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, and they were so defeated that it took three days for Jehoshaphat and his people to carry away the spoil from the battlefield which they baptised the Valley of Blessings.

“Many Ugandans are facing the unknown; the future is littered with serious physical, financial, marital, economic and career challenges. But just like Israel, we must turn our fears and doubts into spiritual praise and overcome our challenges even before we enter the New Year,” Pr. Wantaate says.

May God bless you in the New Year.

--Sunday Monitor, December 29, 2013