Joachim Buwembo From the Sideline
Last week the maids were watching a video of school kids posing for photos as they touched the body of the light aircraft that made an emergency landing on Mityana Road after it ran out of fuel. The next segment showed some white men putting fuel in the plane.
My maid sighed and said, “Finally they are going to fly the plane away soon so that life returns to normal in the village.”
“That would be quite unfortunate if they take it away,” commented the minister’s maid.
“Why?” asked my maid in amazement. “Don’t you see the plane has distracted people from their daily life activities and now others are even traveling from as far as Kampala to go and see the plane?”
“And do you want that to stop?” asked the minister’s maid. “You must be crazy.”
“You are the crazy one then,” said my maid. “You want people to continue flocking to the place because of the plane?”
“Exactly,” responded the minister’s maid. “Who had ever heard about that little village before the plane landed there? Now people are flocking there and that is a rare opportunity they must not let go. If the LC chairman of that village allows that plane to be taken away without putting up a fight then he would be the most foolish leader this country has had the misfortunate to allow to lead a village.”
“You girl you are simply crazy,” my maid accused her.
“And you are very slow,” answered the minister’s maid. “The local people should start immediately benefitting by roasting gonja and muchomo for the visitors who come to see the plane. The local leaders should start telling a story of the powerful spirits that brought down the plane and should attract more Ugandans to want to go there and ask for blessings. If Mityana doesn’t have big animals to attract foreign tourists, the plane should be used to take local tourists there.”
There was only silence as the minister’s village advanced her domestic tourism strategy so I interjected by asking. “But that is not sustainable because they cannot stop the owners of the plane when they come for it,” I noted.
“That is where I said the chairman would be quite hopeless if he lets the plane be taken away without putting up a fight,” she said. “He should claim that the landing of the plane has disturbs life in his village and they demand compensation. But above all he should say the plane parked at a holy site where the village spirits reside and they fear great calamities are going to befall the place unless a major cleansing ceremony is conducted, and such a ceremony would cost no less than a few billion shillings.”
“And you thing they would be paid?”
“The timing is in their favour and if they don’t use it they will die poor,” she said. “Isn’t it the Americans who have been accusing our government of meddling in South Sudan, demanding that UPDF withdraws from there. Now the gods have brought down their plane carrying American soldiers to the very place they say no foreigner should go. The locals should make a hell of noise and with the media ready to amplify it, the culprits should pay quickly.”
I just shook my head and walked away.