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The East African : Sep 19th 2015
22 The EastAfrican OPINION SEPTEMBER 19-25,2015 LAST WORD Com≥ade Bob ≥epeats a speech, is ≥idiculed? Don’t all leade≥s do that? Oops! Zimbabwe’s Presi- dent Robert Mugabe read an old speech at the official opening of parliament, a gaffe that will embolden those calling for the retirement of the 92-year-old leader. Mugabe repeated the same speech he delivered in a State of the Nation address in parliament on August 25 and his spokesperson, George Charamba, admitted there was a “mix up.” Mugabe’s speech lasted about 25 minutes to the cheering of his Zanu-PF MPs who also did not find the speech familiar! Getting baby drunk is bad enough... Double tot please? But I Illustration: Patrick Gathara Joachim Buwembo Save a celeb, hi≥e a Ugandan music sta≥ fo≥ you≥ house pa≥ty U gandans can be mean people. It is hard to understand why they have dumped their music stars so abruptly this year. Only a year ago, they were handing over money by the shovelful to attend concerts that were locally simply called launches. Now things are changing, and changing dangerously fast. But how did we get here? In the past, the distant past, musi- cians made their money through the sales of records. Then, in the early 1980s, came the technology that made it easy for anybody to duplicate music. The compact cassette tapes became popular at a time when Uganda was virtually lawless and the biggest music pirates of Kampala were among the most respected members of society. When general security returned to the city in 1986, musicians started earning some money through weekend performances at different entertainment venues. Then over the past decade or so, we started seeing unprecedented wealth going to the musicians, young musicians in particular. Their time had come. Stardom had arrived in this land and young musicians started living large. Life on islands, parties on boats and generally fabulous lifestyles came to be expected of your average musician. Society pages in the press and mini-documentaries on TV bombarded us with Illustration: John Nyagah the inside of the palatial mansions of the musicians. They gave themselves titles like “president”, “emperor” and “general.” Over time, they changed the concerts to “launches.” During a music launch, it became normal for a musician to make more money than they would in 52 weekends of normal performance. Politicians who attended the launches would buy a launch CD for millions of shillings. The musical tycoons seemed unstoppable. Then, just over a year ago, the pub- lic suddenly seemed to get tired of the launches. An odd high-end launch or old stars’ concert can still make millions, but this comes after massive promotion and advertising. The names we have called “big” in the past decade can barely raise a thousand dollars if they stage a show in Kampala today. And the upcountry towns seem to have led the way in losing interest in the stardom business. It is hard to believe but the big names are now available for private performances in your house. If you have four hundred dollars, you can get yourself a whole star coming to sing at your kid’s birthday —and sing for several hours! Our fading stars seem to have been left with only one lucrative option — going to perform for Ugandan audiences abroad. One unlucky “star” recently lost such a chance after obtaining a normal visitor/tourist visa and then carelessly telling immigration officers at the destination airport that the objective was to perform. The visa was dishonoured and deportation followed. Times are hard. It has been a great decade for our musicians, both talented and untalented, but good times have to end, usually. There is a brief opportunity I see coming — singing for politicians in the coming campaign season. After that ends in February, the singers have to think on their feet, for the public has simply stopped trooping to “launches.” It could also have something to do with the leaking of nude photos and videos of these “celebrities.” If someone has seen your details between the navel and the knees countless times on their smartphone, why should they pay money to see you dressed up on a stage? am only six weeks old! A sixweek-old girl in Wisconsin who was mistakenly given baby formula mixed with two shots of vodka was admitted to hospital in a drunk condition. The baby had a blood alcohol level of 0.294, more than three times the legal limit for an adult driver. Police spokesman Bradley Hetlet said the girl’s mother told police she filled a container with water to be used for the baby’s bottle, set it on a kitchen counter and left the room. The girl’s father entered the kitchen, emptied the container and filled it with vodka, intending to take the water bottle to a friend’s home. When the mother returned to the kitchen, she mixed about two ounces of the liquid with baby formula and fed her baby. Getting drunk on potatoes is worse – or is it? A man who gets drunk af- ter eating potatoes has told how his loved ones were convinced he was a secret alcoholic. Nick Hess, from Columbus, Ohio, has the rare auto- brewery syndrome, meaning carbohydrates ferment into alcohol inside him. But before his diagnosis, worried wife Karen filmed his slurring and stumbling, which he did not recall. Nick, 35, said: “When she first accused me of being drunk, without drinking, I thought she was crazy. But friends and family thought, ‘Maybe he is over there, drinking by himself, a secret alcoholic’.”. When he saw Karen’s footage, Nick said: “I looked into my eyes and could see I wasn’t there. It was terrifying, I couldn’t remember it.” He has yeast levels 400 per cent higher than normal. Presenter Chris Packham, who featured Nick on his programme, says on the show: “Having your own little distillery in your belly isn’t as much fun as you might think.” MP built like tank gets stuck in Stuck or not? A Russian Member of Parliament was reportedly stuck in a tank for five hours — and threatened to shoot those standing around if he couldn’t get out. The portly Igor Zotov got into the tank at the Russian Arms Expo in Nizhny Tagil and eyewitnesses said that he was trapped in the armoured personnel carrier for five hours. But Zotov has dismissed the report as rumours. “This is complete nonsense. Yes, I climbed into the BMP-3, sat on the driver’s seat, and got out of it again. Yes, I am tall and portly, but I have never got stuck in a tank anywhere,” he told the Russian News Service. But co-ordinator of the exhibition Alexander Pisarevsky said: “Deputy Zotov, because of his large body, just hesitated when getting out of the tank and he sat there for five hours.” Kibaki’s wate≥ bill: Home golf cou≥se needs wate≥ing, does it? Former Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki, who enjoys huge perks in retirement, owes a Nyeri water company Khs500,000 ($5,000) and supply to his home may be disconnected. Othaya Mukurweini Water Company bosses told the Nyeri Health and Sanitation Committee that the bill has accrued since 2013 and efforts to recover the money have been unsuccessful. “We approached Mr Kibaki a few years ago before he left office and he ordered State House to settle the amount. They only paid Ksh200,000 ($2,000)” said Peter Ndirangu, the water firm’s internal auditor.
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