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Perhaps Uganda needs to teach work ethic?

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Someone sent me a text. He wondering where I get all the “stuff” I write about.

When I told him it is from life experiences, he mused how adventurous and eventful my life must be.  I told him in refute of the picture he was trying to paint that there were reasons why I write.

He said this after reading my “Random Thoughts” last Saturday.  But honestly writing is one of those interesting arts or sciences that one can get used to doing with ease, swerve and sometimes jokingly…

Personally I always write about the comical side of life and the positive part of it.  It is why many people picture me living a serene, adventurous life not knowing that I also have my weak points, my disappointments, my heart breaks and yes my challenges.

Living and surviving in Africa is alone signing a ticket to struggle for the better part of your life.

However I would like to break with the tradition today and talk about my pain, my heartbreak and the low points of living and working in Africa with Ugandans; dishonest and laziness.  I know that this may be equated to insulting the young men and women who trek the city and towns looking for where they can offer their honest services in vain. But swallow it, your siblings are not doing any better.

It may explain why you can’t get a job; because a fellow Ugandan has slacked off, has lied and has broken so many promises that the employers are tired of hiring any from our part of the planet.

I always draw experience from my everyday activities because they involve working with people from many avenues.

Late last year I had paid UGX 1,500,000 to a timber supplier to offer me timber when I needed it for roofing my house. I told him to take his time since I needed the timber 3 months later.

When I needed it, he delivered and in time. But to my dismay, the quantity and quality was not what we had agreed on.

But this man had a reason, I had delayed to pick the timber. In his wisdom or lack of it, the fact that he had stayed with my 1,500,000 and used it did not mean much to him.

We ended our working relationship badly in a way I will not divulge.

The other week when we wanted to make changes to our office I sought out and hired one individual who seemed to know what I wanted.  He even had a good CV of that was too mouth watering to ignore.

I immediately dropped the other bidders despite his rates being relatively higher. We agreed on the 7 days for executing the work and during this time I had to work from the verandah to get all my customers before they could wander off.  It was to me the beginning of another hell of life.

Leave alone altering the structural and architectural plans, the good old man kept adjusting the prices.  As if that was not enough, some material started disappearing and the perpetual spoilage plus purchasing the wrong items. All these were getting to my head until I consoled myself that he will be accomplishing his task in time.

All along these mistakes were happening with “genuine reasons”.  However, one unique thing was that the excuses were either on his workers, hardware shop, God, me, my bosses or the devil.  Not once did he accept blame even when the transporter broke the glasses and he paid him for the services without replacement of our broken glasses.

Along the way I thought that I had hired a lunatic and I had to trace back to what he has been doing.

It is then that I realized that this old man has a trail of unaccomplished work and unhappy former clients.

It was entirely my mistake.  I should have done more ground checks before hiring him. This is another cost factor I had over looked for I trusted.

These two events stand out because I take full responsibility for my choices but these are not the first and won’t be the last.  In my dealings with people, I only find one man reliable despite his annoying habit of commanding me without considering the fact that I am his employer; that is Richard.

But in the wake of all this frustration and these disappointments, I have come to know and understand that it is not only masons, builders or engineers but the whole workforce; it is litered with people whose focus as soon as they get the job shifts to the money from the work.

A typical Ugandan will spend a good amount of time, instead of doing the work, looking for an excuse for having failing to do the work.

Many of my friends, relatives and acquaintances will make an appointment and fail to keep it.  Never bother to ask them why because they will have the smartest excuse.

This old man that I am talking about was never short of excuses and he always kept reminding me how he has been doing his work for 30 years.  I humbly asked him if he is that brave to refer to his 30 years’ experience and like NRM supporters he replied in the affirmative.

I then ordered him “the hell outta ma face” and went to look for my Kenyan friend, Richard to fix the mess.

By DENIS WABUYI

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