(this article first run in the New Vision of Nov 1st, 2019)
All he wanted was to share his frustration at a service provider that almost ruined his niece’s birthday, instead he got a bashing. He was called names, abused, branded a ‘hater that wants to bring someone’s business down’, and even called a racist monkey. Sound familiar? It should, if you live in this our Uganda.
It is almost inevitable that if you complain, publicly, about some poor service you have encountered, someone will first tell you that you used the ‘wrong forum’. What’s Ugandans’ fascination with the ‘right forum’? I just don’t get it. They claim that if someone does you bad, you take him to a quiet corner and explain what they did wrong. But as this story will show, when a service provider refused to apologise publicly for not being above board, what will they do to you in that dark corner?
By the time a client goes public about poor service, they are probably fed up to their gills with it; and Andrew literary was sick to the bones with this particular service provider.
So, here’s the story. Andrew’s niece’s birthday was coming up, and they had not ordered a cake. But he had seen these great pictures of cakes on Facebook, so he contacted one baker, Anitah, if she could make a cake and deliver the very next day. And she said she could, but he had to pay a deposit, which he did.
The day of the birthday party came, but after confirming delivery was on the way, Anitah did a disappearing act. Anyone that has done business in Kampala knows this is much too familiar, and probably is the reason why, in spite of being ranked the world’s most entrepreneurial country, most Ugandan businesses never last beyond one or two years.
These business owners think they are doing you a favour by even talking to you, so they limit that ‘talking’. Which drove Andrew mad, and to try and get a response, and not disappoint his very anxious niece, he took to social media. He posted screenshots of his WhatsApp conversation with Anitah on a popular food page, and hoped she would be shamed into making good on her promise. And it apparently worked, because eventually the cake was delivered, it was judged to be indeed delicious, and the little girl was happy. End of story, you would think? No way!
Because his screenshots post had gone viral, and within an hour had garnered hundreds of comments. Some called upon Anitah to apologise, and life would go on. But there were many that insisted that Andrew had done wrong in airing his frustrations to the public.
Some particularly bitter ones had it that while Ugandans were hustling to improve their lives, ‘haters’ like Andrew were busy trying to bring them down. One particularly nasty one wrote that Ugandans indeed were ‘monkeys’, and don’t appreciate other people’s hustles.
The next day there were calls for Anitah to at least apologise to Andrew, but again the mediocre brigade went into attack mode. Who’s Andrew to ask for an apology, they asked? Hundreds of clients are disappointed every day, one wrote; they don’t ask for apologies, what makes Andrew feel he is entitled to one?
In a bizarre twist, some called upon Andrew to apologise for ‘tarnishing’ Anitah’s reputation. This would be very funny, if it wasn’t very sad. Ugandans are so determined and proud to defend mediocrity, they will attack anyone that tries to insist on excellence, or even just asking for people to do what they promise to do.
To these misguided miscreants (someone who behaves badly or does not obey rules), to do good is a crime, but to be a mediocre is something to be celebrated. These degenerates act like Uganda is one big ghetto, and everyone is trying to make a score, who cares about the rest?
These depraved, flagitious, nefarious, perverse, reprehensible villains are the types that gave former Kampala Mayor Nasser Sebaggala a heroes’ welcome after he served a jail sentence in the USA for fraud.
These wicked, unprincipled, corrupt and unprincipled reprobates are also the ones that recently lined up to welcome the convict Mbuga at the airport after he was imprisoned for stealing someone else’s money and money laundering, among other crimes. His estranged ‘wife’, Leilah Kayondo, even addressed a press conference where she declared that she was happy to see him back, and he knows where to find her. This in spite of the fact she took him to police for battering her, after which he went and married another woman.
These wanton and immoral Ugandans are the ones who love to call people tycoons, and think the conmen who pretend to be witchdoctors in South Africa, then come to blow their ill-gotten gains at so-called ‘money-parties’ are great role models. They think Zari Hassan is really a boss lady, even if her main claim to fame are the number of ceilings she has looked up at. They think Bad Black is the real thing, after all she had the biggest score a Ugandan has ever done.
Back to Anitah and her hustle of baking cakes, which is the new ‘traders from China’. There was a time everyone who had any little money went to China to buy cheap goods to sell to undiscerning customers. But the customers eventually got tired of buying stuff that doesn’t even a last a week, so those traders had to look for something new, and many have turned to baking cakes.
In every suburb in Kampala, there’s a baker on almost every street. Some are really good, others mediocre but full of self-importance, and others like Anitah won’t answer your calls.
There are tens of thousands of people on the different Kampala-based food pages, but I doubt if any of them will be giving orders to Anitah. They saw what happened to Andrew, and they don’t want it to happen to them.