Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Katikiro, Bulange Owe Me

I have a bone to pick with Buganda Katikiro, Peter Mayiga. I am a notorious stickler for time that, if I am invited to a function for 7:00pm, at 6:55pm I will be walking into it. If the Cineplex movie starts at 8:00pm, by 7:50pm, I would have taken my seat along with my popcorn and Coke.

It was Thursday afternoon and there was no a hint of an impending traffic jam. Jinja road was clear as was Mukwano roundabout and 7th Street.

I had a function to attend in Munyonyo and while there was no traffic, it was prudent I leave town early just to be on the safe side. With a clear 7th Street, there was every indication that I would get to Munyonyo at least half-an-hour before the function was due to start.

But in Namuwongo, we hit traffic. Five minutes turned into ten and the ten minutes turned into half-an-hour. It was not looking good that there was a need to hastily hatch a Plan B.

Plan B was to abandon Driver with the car and see out the rest of the journey on a boda - a simple enough Plan B, that didn’t tax my brain into a sweat.

Boda Rider revved up his Bajaj and off we went. As we rounded the corner to IHK hospital, the jam was so intense, that even Boda Rider had difficulty weaving through the traffic.

The cause of the jam was easily identifiable. Mayiga, was on a tour of the region and the air was filled with anticipation. Anybody who owned a boda had taken leave of their senses and were insistently blaring their horns. They were also trying to ride at speed yet, it was obvious it was not a wise move with the heavy human and motorized traffic. They were also doing stunts – wheelies and riding while standing on the seat as directionless gomesi clad women waving banana leaves and clutching Kabaka posters scurried around like cows being heralded into the corral for a mating session with a prized bull.

With that, my Plan B unravelled. Boda Rider got all caught up in the euphoria that he forgot he had a job of taking me to Munyonyo that he too, began to blare his horn as well as race with the others at a terrifying speed.

Of course, I slapped him on his back to slow him down and remind him of his mission, but he was too far gone in the Mayiga hysteria. This was it for him. This was ‘his calling from Bulange’ and it was a story he could one day tell his grandkids of how he was part of a convoy escorting the Katikiro. No one was going to stop him, not even my slaps to his back. 

In the race, we ended up alongside the Land Cruiser ferrying Mayiga and when Boda Rider saw him (Mayiga), he went gaga and joined the rest in screaming out: “Kabaka awangale”. At one point, when Mayiga looked out of the window to wave to the crowd, I could have sworn I saw him raise his eyebrows in disbelief when he saw me as part of his convoy seeing I am not a Muganda. Eventually, we stopped in Kabalagala, because the convoy had nowhere to go because of the jam and with that, I jumped off the Bajaj and with scorn, relieved Boda Rider of his duties.

He wasn’t bothered and rode off before I could pay him. The Bulange calling it seems had a profound effect on him.

By the way, I got to the function an hour late and missed the champagne welcome drink. Hopefully Peter will be sending me a bottle as compensation.