Thursday, 20 September 2007

Deputy PM and Makerere's Electricity Bill

On Wednesday we visited the office of the Prime Minister, supposedly to arrange a meeting with an ex-Minister who had served under Amin and subsequently published a book on the period surrounding the coup. As often happens here things take you by surprise and within ten minutes we were sitting opposite the Deputy PM, a man called Kirunda-Kivejinja, who has been at the forefront of Ugandan politics for over forty years. Considerably more articulate than Prezza (damning with faint praise?) and with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Uganda's history, he was a very interesting man to talk to and clearly pinned much of the blame for Amin's rise on the British and Israelis. He finished with a schoolmasterly "now I hope you have learnt the mistakes of your ancestors so they will not be repeated in the future".

Makerere University's electricity bill has been on the front pages of the newspapers this week with senior figures apparently launching a crackdown on 'illegal appliances' like computers, fridges, kettles and other such sinister gadgets. The report goes that only small radios are allowed in student rooms and anyone who wishes to live in 'more comfortable surroundings' should pay up the difference. The postgraduate students are particularly unhappy about this development but short of an electrical appliance witch hunt I can't see any practical way this can be enforced.

Water shortages in the city continue due to CHOGM works disrupting the pipe network. There has been no running water for nearly a week in my hall and residents are becoming irate, not to mention the body odour side effects that have come with the loss of showers. Let's hope they mend the system in time for us all to smell of roses for Her Majesty...

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