The unmaking of a political animal   

Saturday December 05 2020
reviews03pix
By Philip Matogo

I’ve always been good at losing jobs.
Once, I applied for a job which required a physicist. So my CV stated that I studied physics. But as soon as I got to work, my boss told me to lift all the boxes in the office. 
“I told you I studied physics,” I complained. “Not physicals.” 
I was instantly sacked. 
When it came to longing for a stable job, I became that kid who fogs up the toy-shop window by pressing his face up against it. And dreaming he could have what other kids take for granted.
Finally, I got a job. 
It was a nine-to-five at an insurance company where the see-through smiles and recycled conversations of my colleagues reminded me constantly that the starvation wages I earned weren’t worth the grief.
It was hell, until it was Pay Day. 
After getting paid, I waltzed to a pork joint in the heart of the city. More precisely, Wandegeya. 
“Please! Give me three sticks of pork and a cold beer. Help me, and bring those sticks on a plate. Thanks bruh,” I told the waiter.
My beer arrived before the pork, so I crushed it. And ordered another and another…it was on the sixth beer that my plate of pork finally arrived.
I noticed immediately that the pork didn’t arrive on skewers, as I had requested. 
Plus, the pork seemed two sticks-less than the three sticks I had ordered.
Also, as I nibbled…I quickly spat it out onto the lusania!
“Yuk!” I shouted.
The pork tasted raw!
So raw that it might well have oinked!
As a look of disgust contorted my face, I heard a voice.
“Any problem, sir?” the waiter asked, with a knowing leer.
“Yes! This pork is raw…could I have another plate?” I asked.

In trouble with the chef
The waiter paused momentarily and then ran to fetch the ‘chef’.
The chef showed up looking standoffish, while shooing away a housefly-convention circling his blood-spattered apron. Instead of letting me talk, he went crazy.
“What do you mean ‘raw’? You don’t want to pay? Okay, you will see!!” the chef yelled. Then he beckoned two extra-large guys standing near the entrance.
“You men! Come and handle this fellow. He doesn’t want to pay for what he has just eaten,” the chef “true-lied”.
Without waiting for my side of the story, the two bulky guys lifted me off my seat and took me to the back of the joint, near the urinals.
They then held me upside down and emptied my salaried pockets, taking all my money.
My rent money was in my pockets too, but that was now the pocket money for the thugs who had just robbed me.
Suddenly, I found myself crashing to the terracotta dusty road as I was thrown out of the joint like a common drunk. Passersby looked upon my prone body like it was a heap of trash.
I was humiliated. But slowly lifted myself up, and stumbled back home to my shoe-box apartment. 

Rent dilemma
No sooner had I sat down on my bed to lament, than I heard a loud rap on my door.
When I opened the door, there was the landlord.
With a cold stare, he gave me the once-over and asked: “What happened to you again? I hope you weren’t boozing as usual.”
I opened my mouth to defend myself, but my words were knocked off-balance when the landlord spoke again.
“Did you get my rent money, you man?”
“That’s what I was trying to tell you….” I started.
But the landlord interrupted me.
“You drank my money! I want my cash in three days maximum! Okay?”
He then spun on his heels, leaving in a huff.
The very next day, I looked for the rent money.
As I looked under every bed in town, I heard cheering as someone seemed to be delivering a speech over a microphone on Jinja Road
I quickly learnt this was Radio One’s popular political talk show Ekimeeza, being broadcast live at Club Obligato.
After the speaker sat down, I saw an empty seat at the rim of the crowd and decided to take it and listen.
“This government is full of seeves!” shouted the next speaker, in a career-ending accent.
“Zey are swimming in corruption…it’s like a swimming pool!”
As he spoke, I realised I could raise my rent money by condemning the government live and thereby being paid off to keep quiet. 
Many politicians earned money this way. 

My turn to speak
So when the speaker was done, I decided that I also had something to say. 
The moderator gave me the microphone and I unloaded all my frustrations. 
“The government must go!” I shouted. 
The crowd erupted in joy. 
Someone even emerged from the crowd to bear-hug me.
Then another guy took me outside the club, showed me a Ministry of Defense ID and suddenly revealed a baton. 
“Now, repeat what you said inside there,” he said angrily. 
Shaking, I replied: “I said the ‘the government must go on!’, but I was interrupted before I completed my sentence”.
Needless to say that I didn’t get any rent money. 
 

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