A CALL FOR HELP

Insect Professor Maurice Ogeng Ladit has just from a foreign trip where he was hired for some consultancy work on parasitic insects like leeches and lice.

During his short stint away, lawyer Rebecca Kagada kept the club astir with her legalese, while Joel Kamadhi provided his usual banter that kept members ‘alive’ during the sittings where he has booked a permanent seat next to club belle Gaudensia Mbaroraburora.

“Have you people heard that millions of Ugandans are facing starvation? Isn’t that a huge portion of the population of Uganda? Kamadhi asked, kicking off the discussion.

‘Insect Professor’ Ladit answered in the affirmative before telling members that drought had hit almost the whole of the East African region including Uganda, but mostly the Horn countries of Somalia and Ethiopia, necessitating food and monetary interventions.

“But in Uganda what happened to the silos where grain was kept to enhance food security?” Yorokamu Bwambale, the usually-reserved guy from the Rwenzori region, asked.

“Ah, we used to have Produce Marketing Board (PMB), but I don’t know what happened to it; I even never heard about it being privatized,” Kamadhi said.

“You have said so much about drought and hunger, but are you members aware that teenage and adolescent school going girls are not going to get the pads they were promised in the campaigns?” Chairman Bonnabagaga Akalyamaggwa said, diverting the hunger and drought topic temporarily.

“I think it is about time we hear about other handshakes; one from the person who made the campaign promise and another, a ‘benevolent handshake’ from all the women who were the beneficiaries of the ‘original six billion handshake’,” he added.

But lawyer Rebecca K interrupted the Chairman, asking him what type of handshake he meant. “As far as I am concerned, there is only one handshake, and that is the one where some 36 or 42 Ugandans were paid Shillings six billions as reward for their diligent work,” lawyer Rebecca K challenged the chairman.

But Chairman was not done.

“You see”, he started off, “on the original list of beneficiaries there are three ladies who head big parastatals and their combined financial perks in a month amount to about 500 million shillings; if they can also offer the unfortunate school girls a ‘handshake’, then the ‘handshake country’ will somehow realize why it is important to shake hands,” Akalyamaggwa said.

“And again, didn’t I hear one of them write to the President about ‘leaving a legacy’ while soliciting for the handshake; in which better way can the beneficiaries of the original handshake leave a legacy other than contribute to the less privileged?” Akalyamaggwa asked. Indeed, the contribution of the benevolent women, should it ever materialise, should be called ‘padshake’.

Then Insect Professor Ogeng Ladit interjected: “I have also heard that those ladies attend a church of a very powerful pastor in Bunga on the outskirts of Kampala, where they contribute generously on Sundays, so they can also rub off part of that generosity onto the young girls who are now about to drop out of school for lack of pads.”

“The trio also has the unofficial duty of appearing together and sharing the same table at almost all public functions, flashing plastic smiles while at the same time leaving a trail of opulent laissez-faire that is even the envy of more educated women,” lawyer Rebecca K weighed in chidingly on Insect Professor Ladit’s comment, leaving almost all members in uncontrolled laughter!

“Who are those women you are denigrating like that?” Gaudensio Mbaroraburora aka Club Belle asked absentmindedly, before the Chairman, Akalyamaggwa, ruled her out of order. “Our policy here is ‘no naming names please’”, he clarified.

The Hitler Eregu, the Teso turncoat seized the moment. “Someone talked about the church and the opulent behavior of our so-called Pastors,” Eregu started off, asking: “have you heard about a city ‘prophet’ who is selling ‘Holy Rice’ at  Shs50.000  a kilo?”

According to Eregu, it is the same prophet who has been selling ‘Holy Water’ at about 100,000 shillings.

“Tusaba gavumenti etuyambe! How can Ugandans get fleeced while the police just looks on? Can the prophet prove that his rice is holy? And anyway, don’t our law statutes provide for the possibility of charging him with ‘obtaining money by false pretense’?” Eregu wondered, and looked lawyer Rebecca K direct in the face, waiting for her opinion.

“Well, if police pick interest in the matter, there might be interesting developments; but for now we all can just speculate as to whether they will call him in,” lawyer Rebecca K answered guardedly.

At this point the Chairman called the sitting to order, and announced that two members, Joel Kamadhi and Gaudensia Mbaroraburora, would soon make a ‘statement of intent’.

“Please, accord our two members the best,” Chairman Akalyamaggwa said before calling upon Kamadhi to say the closing prayer, after which the members dispersed.