Saturday, October 18, 2014

They Limited

There is an organization out there who I call - They Limited (Bangambye Limited). I have never met the people who are in They Limited, where and when they meet or if they have chapters all over the world or it’s just a Ugandan organisation.

I also don’t know that they stand for – their goals, aim and mission. Are they out to destabilize the country or do good for the country?

The first time I came across They Limited was late 1999 when I was still working at WBS television. I was sitting at my desk and two men came up to me and stood before me. The conversation went along these lines.

TB: “Can I help you?”

MEN: “They have sent us to you.”

TB: “Who?”

MEN: “They.”

TB: “Who is ‘they’?”

There was silence. Perhaps they would be more comfortable if we had the conversation in Luganda and when I did, one of the men said: “Bangambye.” We were at a stalemate and I couldn’t help them. I needed to know who ‘they’ were before we could carry on. The men ‘refused’ to reveal who ‘they’ were and that concluded our business.

The next time I ran into They Limited, I was having lunch with Greg Petzer, who is the general manager at Speke Resort Munyonyo. Three waiters presented themselves to him. This is how it unfolded.

WAITERS: “Mr. Greg, they have sent us.”

Greg: “Who sent you and to where?”

Waiters: “They sent us to you.”

Greg: “Who?”   

A silence prevailed. Seeing Greg is South African, I jumped in to help and asked Waiter in Luganda. Is there any need to guess what the response was? “Bangambye.” Obviously Greg was frustrated and told them to go away and come back when they had worked out who had sent them. They never came back.

They Limited are particular about the people they recruit. They don’t recruit white collar workers but blue collar – House Girl, Waiter, Waitress, Shop Attendant, Plumber, and so forth. I think they pick them because they are easily manipulated, don’t ask questions and most importantly, they will never reveal the people behind They Limited.

A few months ago, I was in Nakivubo Stadium for Radio Simba’s Kiggunda. A kiggunda in Nakivubo is a blue collar affair. I was talking to one of the sponsors when Young Girl turns up with a plate of food for Sponsor. This was the conversation in Luganda.

Young Girl: “Bangambye ye gwe.”

Sponsor: “Ani?”

At this point Young Girl hesitantly looks back at where she came from. When she realises that she is not too sure of why she is looking in that direction, she starts looking round the entire stadium, a process takes about four minutes. Then she breaks the silence. “Bangambye ye gwe.” And with that, she nervously looks at us, then skulks off with her food into the crowd.

During Kabaka Mutebi’s wedding, when a group of young men appeared before Elvis Wava saying they had been sent, Elvis didn’t bother asking who had sent them. He simply assigned them tasks. After they toiled in the sun for a good four hours lifting heaving equipment and pulling cables, he asked them who had sent them and of course the answer from the team leader was “they”.

Then Young Men had a discussion between themselves when it dawned on them that they didn’t know who had sent them and that they didn’t know if They Limited had sent them to Elvis or they were supposed to have reported to somebody else.

Disillusioned, they stopped pulling cables and walked away while arguing amongst themselves. Such is the power of They Limited. To confuse.