Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Besigye’s remarks about bahima were outrageous

SIR — I wish to comment on your story “Besigye slams Bahima” published on Monday. The outrageous comments of the FDC leader is a clear signal that his plea for power is not to unite ugandans but cluster them into tribal, religious and racial sects. I don’t know whether Besigye’s was correctly quoted. He does not only owe an apology to the bahima but all ugandans. How many bahima own land in kampala. Besigye owns a very big ranch in kasangati. if it is true that land is being grabbed in kampala what yardstick did he use to establish that so and so is a muhima or not? He justified his malicious comments with prof. Gilbert Bukenya’s on the presence of ‘mafia’in Government. Bukenya did not classify people in his comments. His attack was generally about corrupt leaders in the country where even Besigye could have been involved. Emmanuel Sunday Kampala

Turning Golf Balls into Planets

For a leader, Erias Lukwago, MP for Kampala Central, Uganda, is very good at blowing things unnecessarily out of proportion. He chooses the minutest things that any other mature leader would choose to ignore and he makes the world of them. The most recent instance was when I saw him before the TV cameras at parliament clowning in an attempt to ape the way Attorney General Khiddu Makubuya was behaving when he aapeared before a parliamentary committee that Lukwago sits on. To him, the 'airs' of the minister were much more important than what he had or had not said. Previously, Lukwago had laboured over one small typing mistake in the addendum to the Scotland Yard Kayira Report to trash it. To him, the inclusion of the name Tito Obote instead of Milton Obote was far more important than any other material in the report. To me this is immature and amateurish behaviour. This country needs serious people who deal with substance rather than superficial things.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

BUGANDA UNDER SIEGE! So Says Some Paranoid Guy.

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Thu, 18 Jan 2007 05:05:13 -0800 (PST)
"Ekissodde Ekissodde"
Fwd: Buganda Under Siege
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"Daudi Kiribedda"
Buganda Under Siege
Thu, 18 Jan 2007 02:05:30 +0000
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Buganda Under Siege

By Asumani Balwaana Kaama

Recent Events In Uganda have brought us to the conclusion that Buganda today is in the worst position it has ever been in within the last 100 years. The spirit and resilience of our people has been seriously challenged and in many cases suppressed, indeed many have given up hope of a better future.
The level of deliberate employment discrimination; calculated and deliberate economic dis-empowerment; systematic political oppression; non-stop judicial injustice; relentless cultural degradation and increasing land grabbing has finally convinced us that we have to change our value systems if we are to survive as a nation.
The constant bullying, patronising by the million Runyakitara’s who are solely in charge of every aspect of our lives are a clear indication that Buganda is under siege and that we have to change all our core beliefs in order to survive. Today we live under the Runyakitara vision of "no more greater good for all – every man for himself". We have always survived as society and we shall strive the more to do so whatever the cost.
The fact that hardly any Muganda is ever employed in any government department even at the lowest level and the few that have found favour with the Runyakitara overlord have had to sell their souls means that:
Every government official we interact with even at the village level will never employ a Muganda on competence;
Every URA officer who forcefully collects taxes only applicable in Buganda and nowhere else in the country works against our interests;
Every traffic police officer who constantly takes bribes and arrests us as a display of power is not interested in our welfare;
Every magistrate, judge or court official we meet on the numerous occasions we are arrested is not motivated by justice;
Every agricultural officer who deliberately took the matooke and coffee weevil to our farms works for the starvation of our people;
Every NGO boss who gives us deliberately useless information on AIDS and how to get rich is indifferent to our suffering;
Every bank officer we approach for loans/grants we are never allowed to get works for our impoverishment;
-Every newspaper reporter who degrades our culture daily by showing dead, naked, indecent Baganda bodies is motivated by our humiliation;
-Every permanent/under secretary who ensures that we never get to know of ANY of the grants and soft loans borrowed in our name is tickled by self-interest;
-Every land office official who steals our land titles from the public land office is a victim of greed;
-Every judge who allows foreign land grabbers to kick us off our land has lost sight of the purpose of his/her office;
-Every official who patronizes us by telling us how we are stupid does not care about our future;
-Every election returning officer who steals our vote whenever we vote perpetuates a lie that only one man has all the answers;
-Every police officer and army soldier who tear gases us, or shoots at us whenever we complain ignores our simple wish to live in peace;
-Every passport officer who refuses us a passport so we can run away from this tyranny laughs at our misery;
-Every ESO/ISO agent who spies on us when we manage to run away from the tyranny is contemptuous of our sufferings.
The common trait among all these people and their agents is that they are arrogant oppressors and bullies who do not even bother to speak the only language we know. There is an overwhelming feeling of foreign occupation far worse than the colonial type because the current one gives nothing back in return but merely works to undermine our culture and history and further seeks our total destruction as a people.
There is no doubt that Buganda has arrived at this junction due to the very poor leadership we have at Mmengo. The level of political and commercial discrimination and marginalization against the Baganda has increased, as it became obvious that there is NO one in Uganda who wants to or can stand up and advocate for Buganda’s rights.
The Katikkiro we had for the last 10 years proved to be useless in championing our causes and turncoat to our suffering. The current Katikkiro has made some noises on our behalf. This has turned him into a foe of Buganda’s enemies and it is now on the cards that he will soon be replaced by a toothless stooge who will oversee the acceleration of Buganda’s destruction.
IF the current Katikkiro is removed, we will take this to mean a dereliction of duty on the Kabaka’s part and that Mmengo has abdicated the role of representing the Baganda and their interests within Uganda. It stands to reason that there will no longer be a purpose for the Mmengo establishment i.e. the Kabaka, Katikkiro and Lukiiko to continue to exist.
We are therefore issuing warning that we will work for the total removal of the Mmengo establishment if Mmengo continues to serve the Banyakitara rather than their rightful masters, the Baganda who are the sole reason Mmengo exists at all.
We will mobilize and withdraw our allegiance from the current Kabaka Mutebi, the Katikkiro and the Lukiiko and we will ensure that they no longer purport to represent us the oppressed Baganda. We will manage to do this without use of any weapon by withdrawing consent, which is all that binds today.
We have come to this conclusion because we believe that with the current situation prevailing, we are better off without a Kabaka since the current one has proved not to have any recognised interest in our welfare. In his New Year message he passed the buck when he said: "We hope that now that the elections have been concluded, leaders will solve issues dear to us and that worry our people - like land. It is then that we shall build a nation we all aspire to live in."
Kabaka Mutebi is asking the Banyakitara who have made our lives intolerable to do what they wish with us. A more acceptable cowardly statement would have been: "I will work with the elected leaders to ensure that my people are protected in the enjoyment of their constitutional rights."
Since the Kabaka’s power over us is a moral one, it is within our rights to withdraw it and we will do this as soon as it is necessary. No doubt it will be a long journey but an achievable one none the less.
May the almighty help us all!

Thursday, January 18, 2007


At first, I thought it was the result of a technical problem but when I noticed that it was repeated over and over again, I was shocked to conclude that it is deliberate. The pay television service, Multichoice’s DSTV, actually erases the word “God” in the phrase “Oh my God” in many of the programmes in its channels! When characters in these programmes use the phrase, it comes out as “oh my ---!”. While I commend Multichoice for being sensitive enough to extend such treatment to most forms of bad language, in Uganda, for their information, “God” is not an offensive or inappropriate word. I certainly cannot see how a phrase like “let’s have sex” can be deemed to be less offensive than “oh my God”.

God is so prominent and mainstream in Uganda that no official national function is without a call to Him in prayer. He is in our national motto, ‘For God and My Country’ and the first stanza of Uganda’s national anthem is a prayer to Him as seen in the opening lines, ‘Oh Uganda, may God uphold thee …’. “God” in Uganda is a politically correct word and I find it more of an offence and outrightly disrespectful for Multichoice to keep erasing it as if it is some kind of scary infectious disease. The Media Council ought to look into this.

Another issue for the Media Council is the airing of two programmes on the same DSTV service with heavy homosexual content. They include A Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and The L Word. These programmes might be okay in Multichoice’s mother country, South Africa, but I think they have no place in Uganda. They glorify homosexuality which is a practice that is not only a crime here, but also socially unacceptable. In fact, with the recognition of homosexual relations in law and homosexuality becoming more fashionable in their country, DSTV and other South African companies are a possible platform for the launch of that abominable practice into Uganda and Africa in general.

I suggest that the Media Council build capacity to help it censor programmes with homosexual content from Uganda’s airwaves. It should install hotlines through which the public can report the airing of any programmes with offensive content, which should be investigated before action is taken against the responsible station. The mass media is a very important tool that has become very influential in all aspects of society. We must ensure that it is insulated as much as possible from all the negative forces that are trying to use it to pollute our society.

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Friday, January 12, 2007


Should the word 'God' be erased from from secular films?
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Thursday, January 11, 2007


(This blog was first posted on 07 November 2006.)

I feel that some of the loudest opinions on Iraq , its occupation and Saddam Hussein’s conviction are choosing to take a very myopic view of the issues involved. Those opinions seem to insinuate that the violence – sectarian and all – is simply and primarily a reaction to the US-led invasion of the country. That is wrong. It is more of a reaction to a post-Saddam situation. The violence and instability we see today was only waiting for one particular event – the removal of Saddam from the leadership of Iraq .

There are so many ways in which Saddam could have been removed from power. He could have resigned (unlikely); he could have been voted out (very unlikely); he could have been assassinated; he could have died (painfully of some disease, some accident or peacefully in his sleep), or he could have been toppled. Whatever the scenario, there was going to be violence and instability in Iraq that would have had the world struggling to get in to stop it. With Afghanistan and Somalia , we all know how hard that is.

It would also help for us to always be reminded of the geopolitics at play in that region of Asia . Saddam was a dictator who was responsible for the death of thousands and suffering of millions of Iraqis. His leadership extended the death and suffering beyond his country’s borders to Iran and Kuwait . Iran also became home to many Shiite Iraqi exiles and rebels who, with its support, not only worked to remove Saddam but also lay prepared, waiting for news that he was no more for them to pounce. Another neighbour, Syria , was also home to many Iraqi exiles and anti-Saddam forces ready to pounce. Turkey was already worried that Iraq ’s northern region of Kurdistan was enjoying more autonomy and was aware that the only thing that was stopping its push for more self-control was Saddam. A power vacuum in Baghdad would complicate Turkey ’s fight to contain its own rebel Kurds who would certainly base their operations in Kurdistan . On top of all of this would be Al Qaeda. We must remember that Al Qaeda took advantage of the initial instability in Afghanistan to establish itself and spread its evil around the world. Just imagine what opportunity they would see in an unstable Iraq . It would be Al Qaeda’s new home after the loss of Afghanistan and a good launch-pad into Saudi Arabia , Kuwait , Jordan and Israel . And let us not forget the fact that the terror organisation would have a big hand over billions of barrels of oil.

We must also keep in mind the Shiite-Sunni divide in the Islamic world and nowhere is this more apparent than in Iraq, a fact Al Qaeda is very aware of and has already tried to take advantage of. The two sects try to put up a diplomatic face to the rest of the world but what simmers beneath is contempt for each other. Saddam, a Sunni, used high-handed methods to keep any potential sectarian conflict at bay, but this was often at a high cost to the Shiites. The seeming peace that some people try to remind us of today was only artificial. The exit of the dictator by whatever means was always going to bring all these factors to the top and into play.

So, what am I saying? Vultures are not created at the appearance of a corpse. They are always there somewhere waiting for a corpse for them to make an appearance. The violence we see today was always going to happen with or without the US-led occupation. Everyday that passed with Saddam in power was a day closer to the end of his reign. No one was sure about how and when this end would come or can claim to know with absolute certainty what would happen when it did. But the factors at play around Iraq and the region, added to his and his possible successors’ brutality, were just fuel waiting for a spark. I believe that it was important how that spark came and who would be in charge of Iraq when the explosion happened.

The US-led invasion therefore took care of the uncertainties of how Saddam would go and who would be in charge of Iraq when the violence and instability that were sure to follow set in. The US-led invasion was and still is a shock-absorber for the landing of a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq . I am grateful to the US and its allies for that and for their being a lot far-sighted than many people give them credit for.

Martin Makara,

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I understand Andrew Magunda’s concern in his letter in ‘Vision’s Saturday Soccer magazine of December 16th in which he decries the popularity of the world’s big football leagues over local African ones and Uganda’s in particular. Also, while I agree with him that it is quite embarrassing for us to appear to pay allegiance to football leagues that are not our own, I personally see football leagues as purely a source of entertainment rather than national duty. Where one chooses to find one’s entertainment is that individual’s prerogative.

Football fans, like any other Ugandans and consumers, work very hard for their money and, as a result, they want it to work for them too. They want to get the most out of each shilling they get. Football leagues therefore have nothing to do with patriotism or the lack of it. They are just one of many sources of entertainment (commodities) on a liberal and global stage (market). If you are a poor performer (poor product), you will always find a thin audience before you. It is as simple as that.

The popularity of the big European football leagues in Uganda is more of a blessing than the curse many people see. They have opened our eyes to the better quality in all aspects of the game that our leagues can have but curiously do not. They have raised our expectations and the evidence is in the actions of Save Our Soccer, which I believe would not have had the will they showed but for the big European leagues. Their popularity among Ugandan fans is a silent cry to the all the leaders of football in their various capacities for something much better than what we have been subjected to.

Furthermore, the huge following for foreign leagues that cuts across demography in Uganda is a suggestion that there is a big market for football here. Those leagues have actually done a lot marketing the game of football in Uganda. There are certainly more football fans as a percentage of the country’s population than there were in the much glorified days of the past. Football has been added to the subjects talked about in female students’ hostels, something that never happened in the past. Local football has its work cut out for it to position itself to attract everyone’s attention. There is everything to win and nothing to lose since most of the fans have left it anyway. The days when fans were fed on anything limited by the mediocre abilities of the personalities in the game are long gone. Ugandan fans will not be taken for granted anymore. Loyalty is not an obligation on the part of the fans and a right on the part of a club or league. It must be earned.

Maybe what we should be debating now is; which is the horse and which is the cart. Should we first the fans’ attention on the local game and then wait for the quality to come later or quality first and then the fans? What are they; fans or philanthropists?

Monday, January 08, 2007


In justifying why opposition parties prefer the Constitutional Square to host their political events, Ms. Beti Kamya, MP, explained in the media recently that it is because the other venues cost money or are controlled by the State. She claimed that since politics is competitive, the Kololo ceremonial grounds are not favourable to them because they are under state control. If the opposition ever requested to use them and were denied, they (the opposition), in keeping quiet about it, missed a great opportunity to score massive political sympathy points.

That the other venues cost money, I believe there is nothing wrong with that. It costs money to maintain these places – naturally, they must charge money. Maybe each political party should acquire their own rally venues for which they would not have to pay fees. However, rallies cost money and there is no way around that. When I saw on television Kamya arguing as mentioned and then DP president-general John Ssebaana-Kizito riding comfortably in a fuel-guzzling luxury sports utility vehicle (SUV), I lost even the slightest shred of sympathy for her position - if he rides in an SUV, he can afford the fees charged by Nakivubo stadium. Besides, political leaders, at least those worth their salt, are in the business of planning for the distribution of wealth, and DP or FDC spending money is a contribution to that end.

However, I believe that rallies for everything are so yesterday. They are just opportunities for political acrobatics, sloganeering and the Mbiddes to stroke their overgrown egos. In the 1960’s to the 1980’s, they may have been fashionable because most Ugandans had very few sources of entertainment but today they are spoilt for choice. The release of Kayiira’s murder report did not require a political rally. However, if the rally was meant to achieve the ends further above, then it was very much justified.

One does not have to look very far to see that rallies are always not critical to achieving what parties want. Every Ugandan knows that Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging without them being invited to a rally to witness the event partly because none of them was eligible to attend but most of all because it was happening more than a thousand miles away. The news and the pictures, however, reached the biggest part of Uganda’s population less than six hours after the execution. If DP was honest, creative and had actually the will they would have released whatever version of reasons for Kayiira’s death. The Ugandan public would have had it by now. In fact, a rally would have been more appropriate after the release of their report.