Welcome to the legendary side of live updates from the Uganda Budget speech. Please take a seat. If you look just below your monitor, you’ll see a smile placed there specially for our invited guests. Pick it up, wear it and enjoy the ride.
1.35pm: Ministers have started arriving at the speech venue. Most of them seem to be pissed that they were not allowed to carry pillows.
2:01pm: The budget has arrived. Those who want to cry can do so in advance.
2.05pm: The finance minister is wearing a kitengi. Many Ugandans wear it to funerals.
2.10pm: The ministers all look eager to misuse the funds going to be allocated to them.
2.18pm: They are greeting each other & shaking hands as if to acknowledge that whoever gets the biggest chunk should buy cars for the rest.
2.21pm: The ministers are carrying pens & papers to draw stickmen & pretend that they care about their ministries.
2.22pm: Wait, I think I heard a minister say “…thomething”. Misusing funds starts with mispronouncing “something”.
2.26pm: To us, the venue is a place called Serena. To the ministers, the venue is an ATM called Serena. Explains why they are laughing.
2.29pm: When we said the speech starts at 2pm, we meant 2pm CGT, not local time. That’s Central Govt Time.
2.32pm: Why do the speakers put those things on their heads? To protect their thoughts from Harry Potter?
2.33pm: Fun Factory’s Museveni has arrived.
2.24pm: The national anthem is on. Everyone looks sad like the headmaster forced them to attend assembly & sing.
2.26pm: We’re at that part where a soldier shouts at people after the national anthem.
2.28pm: The national anthem is playing again. I think they are procrastinating so people walk away & all the money is given to State House.
2.33pm: Seriously, why is this soldier shouting? Can’t he walk to each of them & instruct them nicely?
2.44pm: Now the soldiers are marching. It’s a common African ritual performed as a sign of respect to time wasting.
2.47pm: The president, MPs, ministers & other honourable government thieves are marching into the building.
2.49pm: All the officials look excited to be on TV. You can almost feel them screaming, “Mummyyy! I’m on TV!”
2.52pm: Did you know that in Uganda, it’s almost impossible to find a govt official with a small stomach? It’s all to do with the budget.
2.58pm: The minister has arrived. I can hear Shakira & Beyonce’s “Beautiful Liar” playing in my head.
2.59pm: The national anthem again! These are the moments that make M7 wish he could retire & come back after the anthem.
3.01pm: AND THERE WE HAVE IT! M7 takes first prize for being the first official to doze even before the speech is read.
3.04pm: Speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga is on. She just called Serena a parliament. The budget does things to people.
3.08pm: Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka is now on. But her accent isn’t. We’ll use the one she has for now.
3.10pm: She says she’s performing the duty on behalf of the president yet he’s right there in the audience.
3.13pm: When M7 dozed, he dozed while standing. We have a ninja president. I digress coz Maria is cracking jokes. I hear development.
3.15pm: Oh. Her accent just walked in. She said “agriculcho” development.
3.16pm: That we must concentrate on export growth to reduce gap between…doze doze doze. Stop telling us & do it.
3.18pm: Her accent has impressively improved in 15 minutes. The power of money. “Annual inflaytion hez declined to 18.6%”.
3.21pm: She says domestic revenues performed lowest last year at 17%. Does domestic revenues mean the ministers?
3.23pm: That the budget will focus govt’s scarce resources to restore faster economic growth. Deja vu.
3.24pm: She’s using too many percentages to confuse us & make us lose concentration. I REFUSE TO DOZE!
3.26pm: She keeps saying “Madam Speaker” like we’re not around. HEY! OVER HERE! Address me too. Shya!
3.28pm: “The budget strategy will prioritize the removal of weaknesses that obstruct growth.” I sound sophisticated, right? Well, thank you.
3.34pm: Domestic resources will finance about 87% of the budget while 24.5% will be provided by partners. Financial way to say we’re still beggars.
3.35pm: She says transport priority will be on upgrading roads, especially in agricultural areas. It’s one of her inside jokes.
3.38pm: That they intend to concentrate on roads. This time for real. She swears in the name of the living God.
3.41pm: Every time she mentions “Govt will increase…” I see a minister smiling like, “Yes! I’ve got next term’s fees for Junior.”
3.43pm: That govt will complete feasibility study for Kampala-Kasese railway line. Why would you give money to studying a railway line? Google it.
3.46pm: That UG has emerged as a top tourist destination over the past year. “We have Emin Baro, text messages from Spain…”
3.50pm: She has mentioned lots of “Govt is going to do this & that” but I haven’t heard anything about “Govt is going to retire.
3.53pm: That salaries will increase for teachers & scientists. Artists should just find a way to sell their sculptures in Spain.
3.54pm: So far, Facebookers & Twitterers have not been allocated anything. Fingers crossed.
3.59pm: Why on the Lord’s earth does she keep saying “Madam Speaker”? The chick is right there. She heard you! And she’s still awake!
4.03pm: Public sector efficiency will be of paramount importance. Doesn’t make sense to me but sounds sophisticated enough for me to believe it’s good.
4.05pm: That there will be no PAYE charge for people who earn below 235k. Yes! Now all I have to do is annoy my boss to get a salary reduction.
4.08pm: Excise duty on alcohol is going up. The upside is Chameleone will become sober & make real songs.
4.12pm: VAT on water taken back up to 18%. Taxi conductors now have a bona fide excuse to avoid bathing.
4.13pm: Excise duty on cosmetics to be raised to 10%. Now you can blame every couple’s breakup on govt.
4.17pm: She’s done. M7 is now on to entertain the audience.
4.20pm: Brace yourselves for stories about the 1986 Bush wars. An angel told him they are somehow connected to the budget.
4.24pm: Sevo at it again. Abusing people. To tell if it’s a fake M7 speech, check if it misses the word “Ignorant”.
4.28pm: Wait a minute, isn’t this the same suit Sevo was wearing at the State Of The Nation Address?
4.30pm: Sevo may not be a perfect president but he’s very good at repeating what others have already said.
4.33pm: He promises that there will never be a power shortage again. Maybe power blackouts, but not shortages.
4.41pm: The best thing about a Museveni speech is it gives you enough time to count the number of bulbs on the ceiling.
4.42pm: He’s done. You can feel life slowly oozing back into the ministers’ bodies.
4.44pm: The main event is done. Now it’s clear that whichever official is still seated is waiting for food & soda.
…It’s been a pleasure hosting y’all, you can slowly exit to your mundane lives. Thank you.
- BOU Governor Mutebile scratched his head at some point. “Maaaan! How am I going to fund all this sh@t?!”
- During Museveni’s speech, I completed eight levels of Tetris.
- Whatever money you put in NSSF will be borrowed by the government by force.
- Many officials in attendance looked disappointed that no drinks were served. Many of them had told their families not to wait for them at the dinner table.
- Your salary wasn’t mentioned.