One Network (started by Zain) is a borderless mobile phone network across the Airtel Group which will enable customers to move freely between the countries in which Airtel operates, and be treated as “virtual” local customers of the visited network in terms of pricing, while retaining their home network service functionality.

One Network allows customers travelling to One Network countries to make outgoing calls/SMS at the same rates as local customers and recharge with local top-up cards or with home network top up cards while using the same number and SIM. Incoming calls however are charged at between $0.03 – 0.15 depending on the country the call is received from.

Well all this is not so….

Mid May while in the streets of Nairobi, I decided to buy an AIRTEL sim card. Why because of the above promised ‘ONE NETWORK’. But to my chagrin this was not the much touted service or platform.

First after crossing the border to Museveni’s territory, me phone went off thinking that it was a phone setting. For some reason my phone a Nokia E5 has very good specs and for all my world I wouldn’t have thought that AIRTEL would have any network coverage problem. For the record I did use the sim card while in Nairobi so I know the sim card works…but not in Uganda which is part of the so called one network.

So if cannot get any network signal on my phone from airtel then it’s unlikely for me to get zapped with money from my friends…. Wait damn it in Uganda the services is called airtel money not zap. Now if the names do not get in sync then be sure that zap is not airtel money even though airtel owns zap and airtel money.

I may be jumping to conclusions here since I heard that airtel Uganda is restructuring or something like that….but until then I am stuck with a new sim card that is registered but cannot work part of the network and I do suspect that if were to go to Tanzania the damn thingy won’t work there as well.

Now I have forgotten the telephone number I bought in Nairobi. I must be losing network or something


What a weekend it was…. First it was rather peaceful as the adversaries were all kept 5 minutes apart in Nairobi as their lieutenants back home in Uganda were re- recuperating.

Recuperating is a good well rounded name that is commonly being used in good old Uganda. So what happens when you have to recuperate in Uganda?

It involves a lot of insects, beer, plantains and lots of noise.

NSENENE is a nice tasty dish whose main dish is the grasshopper. Every night in the darkness of Africa, entrepreneurs in Uganda light up their roofs (it helps when the roof is flat) with spot lights turning their home into stadium-like structures.
The first time I say them I thought,, hmm here is a nice place to have a drink only to realise that the lights are used to attract and trap the grasshoppers.
As the insects follow the light, smoke is released and knocks down them crawlers into barrels. Tis in the morning that the entrepreneurs will come for their harvest.

The nsenene is either sautéed or deep fried to be like crackers. When sautéed the hoppers have some onions on them that give that tingly taste. The deep friend crackers type goes down with beer and is a good party thingy.
A handful of this nsenene will cost you about 1500 to 2000 Uganda shillings which is about 300 bob Kenya shillings. So you will be finding most guys seated somewhere chewing on them while listening to music, soccer commentaries and other things.

It is after chew this nsenene at around 10pm that the beer starts flowing down faster than Usain Bolt. Our Uganda relatives do drink faster and a lot and when it gets out of their control some just sleep where they find the most comfort.
On this weekend at my local kafunda(local pub) the beer was rudely interrupted by the noise of a neighbour kafunda….

Curious as always my Uganda relatives ran to check on the noise.
A group of guys had been arguing over who will take the bar maid. The argument was abruptly ended when one of the men decided to end the fight. He took a long stick and smacked the barmaid sending her crushing to the ground. She was out for 30 minutes as I came to know later.

The guy who hit the lady ran away from the scene, the other guys chased after him, the witnesses ran away in the other direction and I was left alone in the kafunda. When I about to leave 45 minutes later, the barmaid came for her bill, she said ‘the nsenene was on the house’

By the way nsenene is a big business here. very big. ask the car dealers in kampala they can atest to that.