Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A change in The PGB and The MTN Kampala Marathon

It has been a while since I have had an altercation with the Presidential Guard Brigade (PGB). Then, some of them were aloof, downright rude and unable to think outside the box.
They would bark without thinking. And when they checked your car, it would be the glove box because that is where people who have guns supposedly keep them.
My relationship with them was so bad that they would give me a hard time and I in turn would try to make life for them a misery.
Recently I was at the COMESA summit meeting in Speke Resort Munyonyo – not because I was a delegate or that I had a contribution to make to the summit but to lend a hand to Greg Petzer and Akilesh Malik who run the resort.
Since a number of heads of state attended the meeting, PGB were deployed and the beef that we have for each other was bound to surface.
However, there were some changes. The rank and file soldiers that were deployed to man the road blocks and the outer perimeter of the resort had changed. They were no longer rude, arrogant and aloof. Rather, they employed words that were previously alien to them. Words like: ‘good morning, have a nice day, would you mind if we checked you car’ and so on.
I was in shock but happy that the powers that be realized what a negative image the PGB had and had decided to do something about it.
However change is not perfect. While the PGB boys who wear uniform have changed for the better, those who wear plain clothes have not. They use foul language, they don’t want you standing anywhere and given the chance, they would rather not have anybody who is not PGB in the resort when the president is around.
There were a few exceptions like Nathan Katana who had a practical approach to some of the problems that sprung up and went out of his way to solve them. The powers that be at PGB should take the president’s inner core security detail for a course in public relations for if that is done, the public perception about them would change for the better.
Last Sunday was the MTN Kampala Marathon and over the past nine years, the event gets bigger and bigger. Such is its success that this year New Vision jumped on the band wagon in sponsoring terms.
But there is something that has baffled me for the past nine years. When women dress up for the marathon what do they think they are going to do? Do they think they are going to a party? Yes they do! This year a good number of them turned up wearing high heels. If they didn’t wear high heels they were wearing ballet shoes!
There were also a good number who turned and did not bother running but stood around the airstrip as if trying to bring some glamour to the place.
And then there are people who have for the past week been telling everybody how they run the marathon and this is where I burst their bubble. The only people who ran the marathon are the people who took part in the 42km race!
While the race was on, I was making myself comfortable in the MTN hospitality tent. And trust me it wasn’t easy quaffing down all those Tuskers while the race was on. My arm now hurts from lifting all those bottles.