At the start, Nakumatt was the rage! It even had stores in Mbale, Mbarara, and the people of Jinja started petitioning Kadaga to force them to open there.
Crane Bank! If a town of some size and activity had a corner street, the gleaming gold facade of Crane Bank, complete with an Indian manager that barely spoke English, would be there. They even went ahead to advertise using a famous cartoon character from one of the nations that make Uganda. Katooto.
Everyone you spoke to, derisively talked about the imminent demise of Shoprite. Shoprite now has 5 branches.
The only Uganda Airlines plane was the one owned by Mr. Kodet near or at Lido Beach, in Entebbe. A sad testament to a once glorious past when Uganda was respected in the community of nations.
Jesus! Kwanjula was in Bukoto, Kampala, and the wedding would be in Kacyiru, Kigali. Road adventures started in Nairobi, and ended in Kigali. Nyange juice and Akabanga were on all supermarket shelves. There’s even a standard gauge rail and sleepers at Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort, the only one in Uganda, placed there by 4 smiling Presidents; Kagame, Kenyatta, Kiir, and Kaguta.
Museveni was given a medal of the highest distinction and the crowd went wild at Amahoro at Kwibuka 20. Kagame was feted. Newspaper headlines were not complete without new stories about some new miracle in Rwanda.
Now, M7 is a Mutwa, born of rape and a genocidaire! Kagame, is a skinny, buttless, satanic dictator drunk on blood!
Jennifer Musisi, reigned and made Lukwago sulk and cry. She also worked on the road through Kikoni from Kasubi joining Sir Apollo Kaggwa road. If you are of short memory, you cannot imagine the agony of being stuck in mud on Kikoni’s roads, or the traffic snarl at Nakulabye junction(s) every evening. Jennifer worked. But, every Knight must have an opponent. People hated the woman. Now, grumbling, they acknowledge her genius at resource mobilisation from a village-minded leadership that builds roads to nowhere and ignores the city where 65% of GDP is generated. She is warm and happy at Harvard. Taking good coffee in the city of Boston, that works like clockwork.
Nansana, was still an insult at the start of this decade. Kira was where people kept their loot in failing poultry projects which their poorly paid relatives made bankrupt by conniving with local builders and other survival-mode charlatans. The loot was still sweet, till the donors withdrew support, and Kazinda, Obey, Lwamafa, Kunsa-Kiwanuka, and others, responsible for the obscene overheating of the property market, found their way to the rich man’s dock at the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court.
Talking of real estate, Buwate was still a sleepy cemetery for old Baganda families. So was Bulindo, Kitukutwe, Manyangwa, Nakwero, Sonde, Jjanda, Jjogo, Bajjo, Bukerere, Buloba, Maya, Kasanje, and any other place where you drive your 15-year-old Subarus and generally look down upon the village drunks and their mistresses from your “estates”.
There was Pre-Entry exams to everything. LDC, that famous sweatshop, was first. To end the decade without it is so anti-climatic.
Radio and Weasel. One is gone. All are getting forgotten. Their music lives on.
The Kampala Northern Bypass enters the 3rd decade of the 21st century still under construction. To have a 21km dual-carriage road of minimal complexity get constructed through 3 decades is a mystery that is at once annoying, as it is numbing! Started 2004, the road is still under construction with no end to the construction in sight.
Obama and his liberals were going to change the world and we would live happily ever after. They even got Bin Laden. Right? No one counted on Trump, Boris Johnson, the other Austrian dude, and the master of all, Putin. Vladamir Putin. Ruler of the world under the skies.
China is still China. The blank cheques to stupid African rulers have stopped. The populace grows restless in Africa. They may eat the progeny of these rulers.
Robert Gabriel Mugabe, survived almost everything thrown against him, including his wife, Gucci Grace. He died in the last year of the decade. All of 94 years! What a fellow! His rule decimated his country. It will take about 50 years to recover.
Moi is still alive. Ethiopia is East Africa’s greatest story, but the bet shall always be Kenya, Black Africa’s only hope.
No newspaper writes about Africa Rising anymore. Which is good. We don’t want that kind of pressure when we know we are good only to move around in circles.
Uganda, so clever, it hurts itself at every opportunity.
Here’s to the 3rd decade of the 21st Century. May we finally get to Final Investment Decision and exploit our oil for our present and future. Of course, after a whopping 14 years!