A bad hair day in Gulu? No problem, microsoft to the rescue.
Archive for June, 2010
I have noticed that my reading tastes have takenon a seriously African flavour of late. Which is great because this was one area I have done badly in till a few years ago. Browsing through Bookpoint at yaya Centre and Textbook Centre At the Sarit Centre are pleasures that I enjoy every few weekends or so. All that is lacking are some comfy chairs and some coffee. Oh and they could also unwrap the books from their those plastic seals so that we can actually read a few lines, honestly.
I have taken the moment to look at my tastes, the thoughts of my friends and completed a list brought out by fellow blogger, the Ugandan Insomniac, two years ago.
Books I am currently reading:
- The Lunatic Express (Charles Miller)
- I didn’t do it for you (Michela Wrong)
Books that have given me the greates joy!!!!!
- Tick bite fever
- No.1 ladies detective agency (series) ( Alexander McCall)
- Miguel Street (VS Naipaul)
- Purple Hibiscus (Chimamanda Adichie)
- Half of a yellow sun (Chimamanda Adichie)
- The Prince (Machiavelli
- Shogun (Jame Clavell)
Books that I have and have not read (Shame!)
- Great railway bazaar (Paul theroux)
- Isles of Oceana (Paul theroux)
- A bend in the river (VS Naipaul)
- Art of War
Books that I seriously need to buy ( and hopefully read)
- A long walk to freedom
- A house for Mr. Biswas
Books I have been told that if I haven’t read then I am semi literate
- War and Peace ( oh lord!)
- Heart of Darkness
- Midnight’s children (salman Rushdie)
- 100 years of solitude (Garcia Marquez)
- A suitable boy(Vikram Seth)
Books that I cant be bothered to look for
- Rich dad Poor dad
- The monk who sold his ferrari
Pope Paul VI visits Uganda in July 1969, the first ever papal visit to Africa.
I love the cars and the closeness the pope was then to the crowds. The current pope motors about in a bullet proof glass bubble in the back of an ‘open’ mercedes nicknamed the popemobile. I guess, simply signs of the times we live in today.
Its that time of the year again when my investment in the Stanbic Uganda IPO makes me feel pretty high. I bought a fair amount of shares back then at the price of Ugx60/= (about Kshs 2.50/=). The share price has never looked back and currently trades at Ugx 205/=.
The best bit about this bank (the biggest in the country, having taken over Uganda Commercial Bank) is that it is profitable and continues to be so. And they have a generous dividend policy, the best of all the shares that I do hold. But therein lies the problem: the dividend cheques are drawn on a Ugandan bank account and in Uganda shillings. I cannot cash or deposit them in my nairobi bank account and I dont have a ugandan bank account.
I did bring this up wiith Dyer and Blair stockbrokers who did give me a rather tedious process on how I could claim money on my expired dividend cheques, for the last two years. What I really want is how I can get the money on this new cheque without getting a hernia….any ideas.
Lake victoria’s islands still need to keep in touch with the rest of the world. How simple a concept is it just to stick a cellular based payphone on a canoe. Ingenuity and an entrepreneurial spirit meet the people’s need to just talk.
This week we have been treated to the horrifying reality that there are mass murderers amongst us, an alleged serial killer was unveiled to a shocked public. A calm and soft spoken watchman was shown on tv handcuffed and leading the police to scenes of his crimes. His name is Phillip Onyancha, 32 years of age.
He had killed 17 people, almost all of them women, and went on to drink their blood. He had been told to do so by only he knows who. And as a psychiatrist friend pointed out to me serial killers are often the nice neighbour, very clever and well liked and he disproved my theory that they are a product of economically advanced societies.
The media have had a field day broadcasting the spectacle and the public has lapped up every morbid detail. But then serious questions should come to mind as well. Such as how should a crime scene be managed, certainly not with journalists, family members and the public walking all over it baying for the suspect’s blood. Will it ever be possible to detect whether other people were involved in the crimes. A sharp lawyer would make quick work of trashing the evidence.
But then the suspect led the police and the media to the sites where he dumped the bodies and sure enough they found numerous remains. He calmly informed reporters of his deeds, showed no remorse and perhaps exhibited some pride in his handiwork. Did he want to get caught?
We need to ask is not a violation of legal procedure to display a suspect in such a dramatic ‘made for TV’ manner. They even allowed the media to interview the man. The law clearly states that the man is innocent until proven guilty and should be advised of his rights that include not incriminating ones self, creating grounds for the suspect to claim he may not get a fair trial. And that is how the police screw up many a prosecution case and murderers walk free.
The other question I would ask is how long would this man’s murder spree have lasted before he was caught if he had not deviated from his usual practice and instead killed a boy and demanded ransom. He apparently had a target of 100 victims. The crime scene management and investigations by police are woefully inadequate and noone had connected the dots and probably never would have. But just consider this: ever man and woman in Kenya over the age of 18 years has all their finger prints on file, that is the price they pay to get a national identity card. This would make police forces the world over deliriously happy if they could enjoy the same facility.
To get someone’s finger prints in the developed world would require their consent or the police who have to have arrested and charged the person. How ever in Kenya, despite all the finger prints on file, they are all on paper and the process is manual, therefore making the system work as an efficient database is out of the question. Criminals walk away scot free.
Infact all the police had to go on was the man’s confession, if he had not shown them where to look would they have found the bodies?
I often see police officers touching guns and other assorted weapons with their bare hands at a crime scene and if the system worked every single person over the age of eighteen who had ever touched that weapon or walked through a room could be identified very quickly.
Alas, this is not the case, yet. So we can only wonder how many other nice charming, softly spoken men of above average intelligence are stalking the innocent public. I hold my breath.
An East African Airways F27 at at Nairobi Airport,Embakasi. Notice the EAA DC9 and a British Caledonian VC10 in the background. (Photo Copyright Geoff Pollard)
Being a frequent flier particularly across east and southern africa, I always get astounded at the prices that are quouted to me as the don’t seem commensurate with the distance that is to be undertaken bythe airline to drop me off, and i am talking economy class here.
News reports keep alluding to the higher yields or mark ups that airlines are able to make on inter African flights that they would not be able to achieve with intercontinental flights. Hence many came off rather unscathed by the global aviation crisis and the overall near fianancial meltdown that we have had over the last 18 months. Simply put African do not really travel for pleasure, but more for trade(lagos to Dubai) and will pay anything to get to their source markets. Add to the fact that the airline industry is highly regulated and protectionist, monopolies and uncompetitive behaviour thrives .
Here is a sample from Kenya Airways:
- Nairobi to London…………………..Flight time 8 hours…………………………$930
- Nairobi to Muscat……………………Flight time 5 hours…………………………$561 (special offer $300)
- Nairobi to Johannesburg………….Flight time 4 hours…………………………$726
- Nairobi to Entebbe………………….Flight time 45 minutes…………………….$420
Think about it: if a 45 minute flight costs $420, then a 4 hour flight should cost $1,600 and an8 hour flight should cost $3,200, surely, its simple maths. But why does it not?
You can actually get a $320 ticket to Entebbe, but you would have to fly out at 9pm and return at 6am! Yes we do have our version of the red eye flight. The arrival of Air Uganda and Fly540 have greatly helped relieve the price pressure.
Fly 540 has 2 flights per day and gives a price of $268, of which $110 is taxes fees and charges (almost 30% of the ticket price!). Air Uganda has 2 flights a day and prices range from $140-199, excluding taxes. How kenya airways is able to charge more and get away with it seems to stem from the huge volume of flights, 4-5 per day, thus allowing passengers flight time options, they are also able to offer onward connections to more destinations and they have a frequent flier program too.
Is there light at the end of the tunnel for the travelling public? Do we need to have the East african governments to drop the riddiculously high airport taxes and prevent anti competitive behaviour. Or perhaps the new super rail link from Mombasa to kampala will finally do the trick.