If Africell, Shoprite exit, we will simply exist

Sunday September 12 2021

The companies announced plan to exit Uganda. PHOTO/ILLUSTRATION

By Jacobs Odongo Seaman

My Bazukulu,
I’ve seen a couple of you threatening to lift the hems of your skirt up to your chest and others threatening to swim in construction sand over the impending exit of Africell and Shoprite from the Ugandan market. 

I would understand if my Muzukulu Sheilah Gashumba was the one complaining over Africell because her daily $20,000 earning might drop significantly. But not Sagara or Waninda.

Now, I was recently playing cards with my Bazukulu when one of them asked why I can’t earn $20,000 per day like Ambassador Gashumba. These grandkids even did the quick Maths and added for effect that this Gashumba, whom they called Ambassador for emphasis, earns Shs70m per day.

Honestly, I was shocked to my wit’s end. I had to summon my PPS to explain when it was that I appointed an ambassador called Gashumba.

You see, I’m aware some of my people pass behind my back and do things here and there – I’ll sort them. But Gashumba, the one I’ve heard of, is always competing with rally cars on who can make the loudest noise. How could I have appointed such a person an ambassador?

After I won several rounds of the card game, the Bazukulu tricked me into going soft on them by revealing that the Gashumba here was just an Africell brand something.


Anyway, we might consider compensating Gashumba if need be or put her on some other billboard – like the NRM one – but we cannot fret over Africell’s exit. Not even Shoprite.

The NRA ideology that the NRM espouses has always been to allow more wananchi run aspects of the economy. But Africell and Shoprite, like Uchumi, Nakumatt and others before them, are all foreign.

I keep saying foreigners want to confuse people. Bazukulu should desist from the allure of showing off. I hear they say we shop from the ‘Sitowa’ but did we die from using duuka? Did the economy not exist when duuka was the only thing we knew?

Those who wanted to shop beyond the duuka used to go to Owino Market. There are also flea markets on the railway lines and these are all BUBU. But you clamour for ‘Sitowa’ that is owned by a Chinese or supported by this confusing guy Zuckerberg, then what?

The other day I checked to see whether bananas are still being produced. I thought bananas would stop if Facebook closed. I checked and I found cows are still milking and fish is still in the lake. We can exist without Facebook. Those biased people should not bother us.

The same will happen with Africell and Shoprite. I’m told there are other telecom companies that existed here and left but the economy continued to grow stronger. 

Even Uchumi, when it folded, not even those who were linked with shoplifting there have felt a pinch.
If Africell and Shoprite leave but the River Nile continues to flow north-wards, then all is well. We shall manage. I would only be worried if pigs started laying eggs and hens called for a meeting with humans but that won’t happen.

Grass will not grow on the clouds because Africell exited Ugandan market and if we must really have the kind of store that most of you call ‘sitowa’, then the UPDF can open them in every district of the country.
In 1986, Africell was not even here. Shoprite was not here. But we brought them. And now if they exit, we will simply exist – replace them with others that can serve the Bazukulu better. And the UPDF are very good at that.

I’ll write to you again after the result of an investigation into whether the jilted Facebook is behind Africell and Shoprite exits. Until then, stay safe as we sort the Bijambiya pigs.