Personal Decisions for Self-improvement

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By Seanice Lojede

I’m taking a leadership course.

At the school of personal decisions for self-improvement.

The fee? A huge amount of time and pain. Yes – PAIN.

You see this course is not one that you can pay a teacher or coach to take you on.

It’s a path you choose when you know in your heart; The time has come to go to the next plane of your journey.

There are many modules of this course that I can share with you, there is the relationship aspect. Relationships with money, family, friends, children, colleagues and spouse.

Then there is the accountability module which is the module I am now studying and going to share with you- this is where your lecturers are the people that have joined your journey at some point, former colleagues, teachers, best friends etc.

This is an important part of your life. This is where you confront yourself with your B.S and ironically empower yourself forever more.

The course requires you to honestly ask these people; WHAT ARE MY WEAKNESSES? HOW CAN I BE BETTER?

You see, to truly realize that YOU are the author of your story, the painter on your canvas – you have to let go of all EXCUSES, excuses, however good, are disempowering, they shift the balance of power away from you- to an external entity.

If you believed that it was your spouse’s job to give your life joy and meaning, that marriage was the solution to loneliness – give that belief up now. Marriage is where you go to serve and serve again until you have grown enough to be WORTHY of this beautiful institution, it’s where you realize that you have to be happy and fulfilled and find ways to make peace and truly meet and know yourself before two become one. I

f a jigsaw puzzle was undefined how would that piece fit in with another? It is wonderful to be complete and in union – but it only works when you are ready to be a compliment to someone else’s completeness and that responsibility lies with you.

Let’s talk about your accountability at work – why do you expect to reap where you have not sowed? Why do you complain and moan about your ‘peanut salary’ when you have taken NO steps to understand the value chain of your business, how you contribute and where you can contribute more because you want to earn more? Why do you expect to earn more if you are equally not investing enough in yourself and picking up new skills?

Everything in life grows and when it stops, it dies – trees, grass and dragonflies- so why do you stop growing and learning once you leave school? Why do you insist on a 9-5 to give you everything? sustenance, inspiration and motivation? sometimes a book is what inspires you, a hobby is what motivates you and a job is what sustains you – why do you stop seeking out different ways to express yourself?

I am not indicting you – we all must be patient with each other for to know better is to do better.

But; if after reading this, you do not take steps to take your own course and be accountable to your own story arch – then I will indict you because we must meet you before you die. Take time to figure out how to bring out the REAL YOU that education squashed, the REAL YOU that socialization conditioned, the REAL YOU that Capitalism tamed. Let us meet the REAL YOU because that is where your greatest potential lies.

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So About Bridal Showers… 

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Muzzukulu wa Nseribetya

I’m a 27 year old and what that means is for 3 years now, there has been an everlasting eruption of weddings in my circles. In times like these, what that further means is I unfortunately participate in bridal showers more often than I would like.

I don’t like bridal showers.

I hate having to sit for hours with gritted teeth, listening to married women giving brides ‘counsel’ such as “Mu Bubufumbo okumalako olina okweyisa ng’omusiru!” (For your marriage to be successful, you ought to feign stupidity), “Ebyomunju tebittottolwa” (You should never talk about what’s happening in your home), “Omwami bwasobya togamba bantu bo: gwe ojja kumusonyiwa kubanga omwagala naye bbo bajja kumukyaawa, ate era bambi oyisibwe bubi!” (When your husband does something bad, do not tell people close to you because they will hate him and it will hurt you deeply because the truth is that you love him…

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Kayihura Good For The Opposition + LeaseHold Tenure System in Uganda

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Kayihura

It is now public news that Kayihura has been given another three-year term as Inspector General of the Uganda Police by President Yoweri Museveni. What is now left is the Appointments Committee of Parliament to vet and rubber stamp his appointment.

If Kayihura completes his term, he will have held the forte for 15 years. That will be a remarkable achievement, seeing that very few security chiefs (ISO, ESO, CMI) have lasted that long in whatever positions they have held.

Predictably, the opposition politicians have vowed to block his vetting. They argue, and rightly so, that the police is an extension of the ruling NRM party. Kayihura is the chief political mobiliser for the incumbent. He (Kayihura) is always beating them up, tear gassing them and jailing them whenever they try to mobilize their supporters. I wonder if they expect him to roll out a red carpet for them.

It is ironic but the opposition needs Kaihura and Kayihura needs the opposition to thrive. This unholy marriage is necessary to ensure both of them survive and appear relevant to their respective supporters.

As long as Kayihura’s police are beating up and jailing regime opponents, they are doing a good job. And as long as the opposition is persecuted and denied political space within which to operate, they remain relevant to those fed up of the status quo.

Just imagine if every time Besigye went to Owino market to consult his supporters there was no incident to create breaking news on social media or mainstream media? Just imagine if the cameras didn’t follow Besigye around during walk-to-work or the police let him walk freely? For how long would he go on with it?

So beating Besigye and other opposition politicians is actually good for them. They appear persecuted and therefore remain relevant to the people they are trying to appeal to, at least in the short term. Besigye’s rise to main opposition leader is because of the beatings he has endured, not his alternative policies.

By unleashing all this terror upon the opposition, Kayihura is making sure his boss remains untouched in State House and therefore has time to strategize and win the next election. Kayihura, therefore, acts not just as Chief Political Mobilizer but also the overall commander of all intelligence services.

It is, therefore, not far-fetched to say that the opposition re-appointed Kayihura by constantly cursing and complaining about him. His boss, Museveni, just knows he is doing a good job as the Chief Architect of regime survival. Museveni is therefore able to kill many birds with one stone.

Kayihura collects intelligence, mobilizes supporters across the country but unfortunately neglects his primary responsibility of ensuring the safety of all Ugandans and their property. I guess that is a small price to pay, at least in the short term. How else would you explain it?

Museveni and Besigye need each other. As long as Besigye is still contesting, Museveni won’t retire and as long as Museveni still wants the life presidency, Besigye won’t rest.

The opposition needs a new strategy.

Buganda Land Board (BLB)

Interestingly, Buganda Kingdom land is less than 2% of the total land in the central region. Only that is it mainly prime land, which makes it very easy to target. Most of it is in fact occupied by the bigwigs in government and business.

BLB have been all over the news lately with their Kyapa mu Ngalo promotion, a fresh campaign following the previous registration of all settlers on land owned or held in trust by Buganda Kingdom and/or the Kabaka of Buganda.

As a result of the registration campaign, many people got Certificates of Occupancy that guarantee them certain legitimacy, protection, and rights as bonafide bibanja owners. There is now less fear of illegal eviction. Busuulu is also easier to collect.

BLB wanted to push this further and encourage interested bibanja owners to convert to the leasehold arrangement and acquire land titles.

The bibanja arrangement is mainly a gentleman’s agreement between a settler and a landlord. It may involve witnesses and/or a written agreement but no land title. Sometimes cash may not necessarily exchange hands especially when the settlement was without the landlord’s knowledge.

By law, a kibanja owner is supposed to pay an annual rental fee to the landlords – ranging from UGX 1,000 to UGX 50,000. The fee varies from place to place based on the decision of the District councils. The fee is regardless of the size and/or location of the land in as much as it can be revised from time to time.

Because it is a small amount, landlords normally don’t collect it. Who would drive 100 kilometers to collect UGX 1,000? Therefore, the leasehold arrangement is a better deal for the landowner. They get more income while retaining perpetual ownership of their land. This is not new and BLB shouldn’t be castigated as if they are the first to pull it off.

By encouraging bibanja owners to process land titles under the leasehold arrangement, BLB is thinking critically and economically.  The lease periods range from 49, 75 to 99 years and the fees are based on the location and value of the land. BLB therefore makes more money this way without losing permanent ownership of their land.

At the end of the lease period, in case of failure to renew, the land and all properties on it revert to the landlord, in this case, Buganda Kingdom. This is the biggest issue raised by critics of this arrangement. What if in 49 years, you or your kids are not able to afford the lease? What will happen? You would obviously lose the land and property since you can’t carry it away.

It is, however, good that a clause is inserted, giving first priority to the sitting tenant before anybody else. But how loyal will the landlords

With a kibanja agreement, you can’t borrow from lending institutions like banks and MDIs. You can not use the land as security in any serious transaction, which you can do under the leasehold arrangement.

Converting from perpetual and transferable/inheritable ownership under kibanja to “temporary” ownership under the leasehold arrangement is where the biggest issue is. Will the land automatically revert to a kibanja as it was before the lease? I doubt that is currently possible under the land laws.

Some people argue that kids will take care of themselves. They will cross that bridge when they get to it. But of course, many people will still be here after 49 years. Imagine a retired you, possibly living off your pension, will you still be able to afford that lease?

The choice is yours. Choose wisely.

Blood Donation: The Politics and The Media

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On February 4, 2017, my friends and I at iTiS Well of Worship Fellowship organized a blood donation drive at Mount Zion Hotel in response to the recent press reports about acute shortage of blood in the country. Mulago Hospital, the main referral hospital in the country, publicly announced that they would stop carrying out major surgical procedures that needed blood and will only focus on the critical cases such as delivery and accidents.

Read: Mulago suspends operations over blood shortage (The Daily Monitor, January 21, 2017)

That wasn’t our only motivation, however. You see, one of our own has a daughter who, just a couple of weeks ago, needed blood and she just couldn’t get any. The mom spent four hours running around and making desperate phone calls. And it is only after raising a certain amount of money that she was able to get the much-needed blood for her daughter. It could have been worse, four hours is a long time! What would have happened if she hadn’t raised the money?

We (iTiS Well of Worship Fellowship) decided to be part of the solution and not the problem. Instead of whining, complaining and saying “Tusaba gavumenti etuyambe“, we decided to donate blood to save another life out there. Donating blood can also save your own life. You never know when you will need a transfusion. So donating blood is like keeping money in the bank, at a certain point x, you will need to withdraw it.

So it is against that background that we contacted the Nakasero Blood Bank or Uganda Blood Transfusion Service (UBTS) as they are officially called. They initially gave us a date of Tuesday, February 7, 2017, which was later changed to Saturday, February 4, 2017, our preferred date. We were even given a contact person to help us coordinate our efforts on one condition, mobilize at least 100 people.

On Tuesday, a few days before the event, we called UBTS just to confirm if the program was still on and were assured we had been scheduled into the program for the week. The field team would be on site at midday. Not too bad considering that people usually have a few errands to run on Saturday mornings.

We proceeded with our mobilization drive which was clearly bearing fruits. We were on track to meet and beat the 100 people target. The donation was meant to run from midday to about 5:00pm. That would be enough time for all our donors to drop in at their convenience.

We officially wrote to KCCA Central Division, to request them to allow us to use their parking lot as a donation center. For those who are familiar with the geography of that place, it is a perfect spot because we could talk to some passers-by to come and join the cause. There was no way we were going to fail to raise at least 100 pints of blood.

Come Saturday morning, the contact person’s phones are off. Maybe she had a long night and will be up soon. It was just 9:00am after all. At 10:00am a mini panic sets in, the phones are still off. We are now just two hours away from the start. A few people have in fact arrived on site. What is happening?

At 11:00am, one of us drives to UBTS offices just to find out what is happening. We are now one hour away from the start. Surely we can’t afford to lose time. Being Saturday morning, there is barely anyone in the office. One lady has come in to specifically take blood from two donors who had booked earlier. She can’t help much except give us the phone numbers of the Principal Assigning Officer and the Director.

We call the Director who assures us that she will do something.Surely blood will be donated today. She hands us over to the Principle Assigning Officer who in turn hands us over to the Team Leader of a field team already in Kisugu, after all, they are doing a short donation there after which they will come to Mount Zion Hotel.

We go back to site and wait for the team to arrive. We assure our donors already on site that UBTS has been delayed but they are surely on their way. It is now 1:00pm and we are desperate. We call the Team Leader of the team in Kisugu and guess what, he has no idea where his team is. He confirms that he heads the team but he is not sure “where they worked today“. He was probably at his farm somewhere. What else could explain this incompetence?

3:00pm, no team on site. Contact person’s phones still off. The Team from Kisugu nowhere to be seen. A heavy downpour is now beating down on us. We still wait patiently but desperately. We have to donate blood, whatever it will take.

Another call placed to the Director and she says, “Why don’t you reschedule to Tuesday?“. You are kidding me, right? We couldn’t have gone through this pain for nothing. Besides, who will be available on Tuesday to make sure the exercise is conducted? Some of our donors are students, other live out of town. It is just not possible. We politely decline the Tuesday offer. We must do this today, even if it means finishing late.

4:00pm, the Kisugu team is now done and “they are on their way” to Mount Zion Hotel. OK. At least we’ll do some donation. This can’t be a total waste. We call the nurse who delivers the final blow. “I have been dropped at Kobil (Bombo road) by the driver and I don’t know where he has gone. All the equipment is in the ambulance. Maybe we reschedule. It’s too late now.

The Director later talked about “issuing an official apology on Monday blah blah blah” if we wanted.

What does all this mean?

I talked to Theologian, Philosopher and Critical Thinker, Pastor Isaiah White Tumwine, who helped me put this whole thing into context and perspective. You see, sometimes you need somebody to help you interpret failure.

Failure is one thing but it is easy to miss the lessons and the bigger picture. So have a mentor or somebody who has walked the path you are trying to walk before you to help you interpret failure. I digress.

You do not fix the system, you fix individuals – Pastor Isaiah White Tumwine

By donating blood, you are trying to fix the broken system. And historically, this has never worked anywhere. Systems, by default, are meant to function that way. It is not how they fail but how they work! Broken systems after all benefit middlemen like UBTS. Oppositions politicians could borrow a leaf from this, instead of wasting time demonstrating on the streets.

There is no shortage of blood in Uganda. UBTS is simply holding on to the blood reserves and, with the help of the media, creating an impression that there is no blood in the country. The same way every December there is a shortage of sugar and fuel in Uganda because of hoarding by dealers and businessmen. Somehow, we have all somehow bought into this narrative.

In a broken system, you don’t give blood, you buy blood – – Pastor Isaiah White Tumwine

No wonder Donald Trump won the US election, despite a deliberate and sustained media campaign against him. The media is never neutral, it wants to shape your opinion and ultimately change how you think. No wonder politicians always do whatever they do in front of media cameras. Media does not portray the reality, far from it.

UBTS and Mulago Hospital are clearly using the media to brainwash the gullible Ugandans into believing that is no blood in the country. And yet all they want is to sell the blood to the highest bidder. Cry my beloved country.

Otherwise, how would you explain a shortage of blood when willing donors like us are treated like trash by the custodians of the blood bank. I thought they would move quickest to collect blood from every corner of this country.

Why would they even insist on 100 donors before they come to your venue? I thought every pint (and drop) counts in a crisis? Bottomline, there is no crisis!

Over to you Uganda Blood Transfusion Service – UBTS.

Girls, Women and Marriage

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I asked why girls who are not looking for marriage are stumbling on it while those who are desperate for it can’t find it. Here in so many words is why I think that is the case. Every analogy presented here is from my own observation and every phrase employed is coined by me.

Generally speaking, ladies in our society divide their adult lives into four distinct phases. This is just Joseph Kabuleta theory.

PHASE ONE: Play time (Age 19-22)

This is a period where, as Cyndi Lauper’s famous song says, “girls just wanna have fun”.
When a guy asks her out, she comes along with three of her roomies and wonders why he was frowning throughout the evening and drinking only water. She shares almost all her mischief with her friends and they have a good laugh over it. At this stage of their lives, girls see guys as playthings; as a lamentable, pitiable species of people that must continually prove their worth. During this phase, any suggestion of a serious relationship is dismissed with the contempt reserved for fun-spoilers.

PHASE TWO: Open time (Age 23-28)

In this period, girls still wanna have fun, but not just fun. They want to have fun with a purpose. They are looking to fall in love and get married (in that order). At this stage, her ideal man is no longer a set of qualities written on a piece of paper or a guy on a magazine cover, but a workmate, a churchmate, a gym mate. In other words, someone within her realistic grasp. She knows him, she sees him, she frequents the places he usually goes to and she hopes he makes a move.

As she gets dangerously close to 28 and the guy of her fantasies is not any closer to making a move, she widens her net. The bidding process is now open. She imagines that just because she flung herself open, bidders are going to come flocking in by their tens.
If only life was that straightforward.

Her open bidding process lasts a year without a single bid, then reality hits. She looks back at all the bidders she threw out without as much as a consideration and none of them looks particularly jilted. In fact, most of them are probably happily married or inviting her to their wedding meetings.
Tick, tack, tick, tack….

PHASE THREE: Desperation time (Age 29-33)

She is now 29, which means 30 is just 365 days away. So many things have to happen before the fourth decade of her life begins. As the days go by, she forgets that marriage involves two people. She tries to take the bull by the horns, so to speak. Now she can only date ‘serious’ people. Anyone deemed to be unserious is not granted half an audience.
That creates three discernible dangers for her.

  1. Her definition of a serious man is one who is willing to have the second date at her parent’s home, and the third date at their wedding reception. Any man who can be rushed like that is either a very old man or a conman. So her definition of a serious man inadvertently excludes all serious men.
  2. At this stage, a girl has lost the ability to fall in love, all she wants is to fall in marriage. Men notice this attitude from a distance and take off. Men want to be the star in their own movie, not to be enrolled as support cast in a woman’s movie.
  3. The third problem is; desperation doesn’t sell. And it doesn’t hide either. The harder you try to suppress it the more it sticks out, like a cockroach on a wedding cake. Like a wet stain on the fry of a trouser, desperation can never be hidden.

PHASE FOUR: Single motherhood (Ages 33 –)

When the prospect of marriage seems to be vanishing with the horizon, it’s time to look for a prospective baby papa. He must be responsible (not the kind who will switch off the phone when school fees time arrives). Good looks are an added advantage.

Remember those distinct phases; Play time, Open time, Desperation time and Single motherhood.

Anyone who has been through campus knows all about the nightmare of registration. You get to the faculty and there is a queue of students waiting to enlist. Exams are around the corner and you must complete the process in time or you miss out. But the lady in charge of the registration process looks tired, bored, demotivated and desperate to milk that moment for self-importance.

Hanging above her desk is a notice that reads: “A delay on your part does not constitute an emergency on ours.” And so she remains oblivious to the haste around her. Yet, in spite of her apparent callousness, she has a point. The office was open throughout the semester but no one showed up to register until the final few days. And now we expected her to jump up and down at our whims.

Back to the subject of marriage.

From my observation, girls who end up in stable marriages are those who use their Open Time wisely. But so many girls tend to abuse their Open Time in one of the following ways.

1. The dream man

In every grouping or confluence of bachelors and spinsters (church, club, workplace etc) there is often one suave, smooth, seemingly accomplished guy who is seen as the ideal husband for most girls. He is the man of their fantasies. The trouble is; that prize man is being eyed by twenty girls; all of whom are hoping to win the race. If only the dude would make his choice early enough and free the girls from the prison of their fantasies, but such guys are never in a hurry. He plays ‘good friend’ to all the girls and keeps them hanging on the cross of hope. When he eventually proposes to one, he leaves nineteen others flat on their faces. By the time they get over the disappointment, and try to look elsewhere, their Open Time is coming to an end and Desperation Time is knocking on the door.

2. Ideal vs Available

Then they wake up to the realisation that they wasted their Open Time eyeing that prize man. While they were at it, other guys came and expressed interest but they were roundly rejected because the belle was determined to land the trophy guy. So when she wakes up from her disappointment, all the guys who were interested in her, the guys whose proposals she threw out, have moved on and they seem happy. Many of them are dating or married. If only one of them would come back she would gladly take him in, but none of them returns.

3. Extended Play Time

Many belles choose to prolong their Play Time and eat up all their Open Time. So they move straight from Play Time to Desperation Time. One day they are singing “girls just wanna have fun”, the next day they are desperate for a proposal. A few of them might get away with it, but most don’t.

4. A delay on your part…

Like those women at campus would say, a delay on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency elsewhere. Just because you are running late doesn’t mean menfolk are going to change their behaviour. Guys don’t want to talk about marriage or the ideal family size on the first or fourth date. They don’t want to meet your parents before they are well acquainted with you. Don’t expect the world to align itself to your desperation. There are certain things you cannot push; the only pushing you will do is pushing prospective husbands away from you.

Now for some advice:

  • Even if you have entered desperation age, never act desperate. It can only work against you.
  • Don’t waste your open time pursuing a so-called dream guy. He is probably not worth it. A dream guy today might turn out to be a loser tomorrow. That’s usually the case. Remember those guys whom we celebrated in Secondary School? Where are they now? Don’t be surprised to find them riding boda bodas. The guy you turn down today because he doesn’t meet your lofty aspirations might turn out as the dream guy tomorrow. If you cannot catch a buffalo, settle for an antelope.
  • Don’t put the necessity for marriage ahead of the person you are marrying; that is a classic case of putting the cart before the horse.
  • Remember, the people who are desperate did not end up that way because they didn’t have opportunities; they ended up that way because they spurned their opportunities.
  • God doesn’t see us for what we are, He sees us for what we can be. How I wish girls held the same attitude when considering prospective husbands.

If you have read this to the end it means you have enjoyed it. Now share it with your friends (especially young ladies). It might just make a big difference in their lives.

Shamelessly copied and pasted from Joseph Kabuleta’s Facebook wall.

‘There is no difference between you and Dr. Besigye’, Henry Mutebe tells Andrew Mwenda

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One of the best responses to Andrew Mwenda’s shenanigans

Friday's Thoughts

Dear Andrew Mwenda

My letter to you is in Dr. Martin Luther king’s spirit who once said that ‘a time comes when silence is betrayal.’ You have spoken; I have read, listened and heard. In your submissions, you raised very important issues which in all fairness deserve a response.
I will try my best, not to attack your character or person, because that is not the ethic of a civilized debate although, I will not shy away from pointing at examples of your own pieces, submissions and words well recorded in history that may be a good mirror for you to do your own self-appraisal on the way you put your ideas forward.

You are no doubt a man of great potential but like all elements of great potential, they can all in the same manner be elements of great danger. The beauty and burden of your gifts is that…

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