Reviews & Profiles
I have this feeling of ‘Deja-Mpala’
Posted Wednesday, February 27 2013 at 00:00
The term “Deja-Mpala” exists nowhere in the dictionary, it is an addition of DEJA (French for “already”) and Kampala. But how many times do you wake up on a Monday morning and you get this feeling that you have already seen this or that in Kampala?
In the past, one of my mentors showed me photos of buildings that had been left by Indians and how they had been mismanaged by the Ugandan owners. He first showed me those in Jinja before he showed me others in Mbale. Deep within my young brain, the feeling of “Deja Mpala” was reverberating.
In Kampala, we have many of those buildings, go to Jinja it’s the same story. So, if I see the same in Mbale, I won’t help but mention “Deja Mpala.”
In December while in Masaka, I stumbled upon a failed sewage system and I could not help but remember that back in Kampala where I come from, we have hundreds of such scenarios.
The beggars on the streets, the way we bribe our way out of everywhere is already something very common to a normal Kampala resident. A friend of mine had her bag snatched while in Nairobi, after floundering with her in pity, I had but one thing to say-Deja Mpala. The feeling that I have already seen it in Kampala. It is not news anymore.
It is not news that the only time the parliamentarians will wish to recall parliament is when they are branded as idiots and not when they are branded as thieves. It is no news that roads develop potholes just months after they are commissioned. It is not news that when you are imprisoned for mismanaging public funds you can play the selective justice tune.
A Ugandan can never get bewildered because a tear-gas canister gets thrown around after-all they sometimes land in the schools where children are taught. It is not news that an election no matter how free and fair shall never have the losing camp conceding defeat, after-all even FDC is divided.
So what is that new thing that can make me not have the Deja-Mpala feeling? When men stop urinating along the walls or anything bushy, then that’s not a Deja-Mpala of sorts. If a year goes by without a corruption scandal, then that’s news.
If a policeman flags you down and you refuse to speak his language, that’s news. In fact he will be shocked. The same people who complain about corruption are the same who are ready to part with thousands of shillings to see their children join that so-called first world school. I have a feeling this has already happened in Kampala. I have a feeling that the absence of medicine in hospitals has already happened before. I have a feeling that the talk of a Ugandan coup is not new, I have a feeling that there is already one man with a vision. I have this Deja-Mpala feeling.