If you love Bi-Nigeria, then Go Watch the CHOGM Play

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There is a play showcasing in a theatre called Parliament. It is a comedy to be precise. The protagonist is a gentleman called Nandala Mafabi, whose theatrical group is named the Public Accounts Committee. Their latest production that elicits laughter to the point of tears is called Investigation into the abuse of funds during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

The plot is the familiar linear type, with usual twists of suspense and asides. But like its distant cousin-the Bi-Nigeria, the ending is predictable—no catharsis. The play is derived from the recent happenings in a house of a man named Uganda. Three weeks ago, Uganda assumed the enviable role of hosting a great meeting of other men who had once slept with the Queen of England.

Like all good hosts, Uganda chose to give the guests a great treat. He weeded the paths and planted banana stems to ensure great scenery as the guests toured his homestead. Not sure of his children’s culinary abilities, he procured services of a neighbour’s maid. Knowing that the Queen and some of the guests would want to tour neighbouring villages, Uganda decided to hire some bicycles to facilitate this process. And indeed when the party was held, it was memorable.

There was one hitch though. Uganda’s budget, that he presented to clan mates, was Shs200 billion. A week after the party, the clan, under the leadership of one Nandala Mafabi—the protagonist—wants to know if there was value-for-money. They are asking really silly questions. For example, they wonder how Uganda’s first born, Kutesa, who was charged with hiring the bicycles could have spent more than five times the normal market price. One of the clan leaders, a hoarse-voiced man called Kazibwe is surprised that the maid brought to help in the cooking was actually no maid, she was a herdsgirl.

There is this talkative clan elder called Sekikubo. He amused the clan gathering when he asked Uganda’s senior wife, Hope, why the flowers planted for the fete withered immediately the Queen left. There was derisive laughter, with some drunken guys wondering what good flowers would be to a village known for littered buveera and dung.

The protagonist, Nandala, keeps making reference to the need for the clan to know how their money, earned largely from sale of coffee and vanilla, was spent. But some of Uganda’s more sensible children have snubbed the clan summons. One of them Mbabazi, in fact told off the elders. He is busy tending to his father’s cattle. He has no time to explain how the askaris guarding the guests were carrying rungus instead of the arrows as indicated on the budget. The other son, Bukenya, has received some form of relief after members of his age group, that he heads, said he can’t be quizzed at a village playground.

Nandala also keeps scratching his head, trying to figure out how the village treasurer, Mutebile, instead of the Shs200 billion budgeted and requested for, had given the Uganda family over Shs600 billion.

That is the comedy showing at Parliament. It would have been a great show and I would have recommended that you go watch this play. But the problem is that there have been such other shows before. The same theatre hosted a play Investigations Into Corruption in the Police Force and another production titled Probe into Junk Choppers.

But beyond bringing into prominence an actress called Julia, there have been no tangible lessons for the village. The last such show, The Trials and Tribulations of Temangalo, was such a put-off. In fact, some of the cast broke off from the main act and formed a breakaway group, which put up the now famous Minority Report show. If you are interested in stale plays with no emotional impact, I would recommend you go to Parliament and watch this new play. But if that plot and resolution, like the Bi-Nigeria movies, have gotten to your nerves, I suggest you go to the bar, pick a beer and brainstorm on who will win the Premiership this season.

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