Saturday, February 8, 2014

Negative People

When most of us celebrate our birthdays, we really have nothing much to celebrate about. Okay, so we are a year older and so what? Most people tend to celebrate birthdays because they have reached the legal age of sexual consent; they are able to drive, and to finally drink beer.
But, some people – very few of us I might add, throw birthday parties for different reasons and they tend to be the affluent.
When Sudhir Ruparelia turned 50, he threw a lavish bash at his resort in Munyonyo and nobody begrudged him. He is after all Sudhir, one of the richest men in East Africa so why not push the boat out, throw a party and revel in his achievements?
Gordon Wavamunno, who also has a hefty bank account, recently threw himself a birthday bash and like Sudhir, no one begrudged him because he has the money and the all too important surname.
But what I don’t understand is why Ugandan society has two sets of rules – one for Sudhir and Wavamunno, and one for the rest of us.
In Uganda, society seemingly does not like young ambitious people. We can’t stand the fact that others have made it and we have not. And because others have made it, we make it our mission to go out of our way to drag them down.
We talk ill of them behind their backs. If a young man who is on his way up the ladder drove up in a Mercedes, the knives would be out for him. “He must have embezzled money” so the whispers would go. And it’s worse if it’s a woman. They would say: “She must be sleeping with some rich married man to afford that Mercedes.”
Enter PK. PK threw a birthday bash a few weeks ago to celebrate his 40th birthday. He didn’t ask his friends to chip in to meet the bill, but out of his own pockets, he paid for the party and invited his friends.
PK was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. His parents like most parents, toiled hard to ensure he had a good education. And when he was studying in England, there was no cheque being sent to him at the end of every month by his parents so he did various jobs like we all did – stacking supermarket shelves and so forth.
And when he came back to Uganda he worked his way up the ladder in a number of multi-national companies until he quit and set up his company – Events Warehouse. Since its inception, it has risen to become one of the biggest and successful event firms in Uganda.
So why wouldn’t we be happy for him? Why wouldn’t we be inspired that at 40-years old, he was able to throw for us a lavish bash as he celebrated his achievements?
Most of us like Bob Kabonero, Patrick Bitature, Simon Kaheru, Sandor Walusimbi, Oscar Mulira, Peter Kassedde and many more did.
But there were three rotten apples in the crowd who I suspect were not his friends and had merely crashed the party because they spent most of their time in negative talk. And to be fair to PK and those of us who were genuinely happy for him, there is no need of repeating what they said except to say this:
“If you three rotten apples are reading this column, we and certainly PK do not need your negativity. Everybody at the party was ambitious and full of positive thought except you three. We don’t need your ill talk in our circle because our circle is strictly for progressive people and those with a vision.”