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Month May 2011

United States Government Launches Rising Stars Mentoring Program


U.S. MISSION PRESS RELEASE
PR013/11
May 31, 2011
United States Government Launches Rising Stars Mentoring Program

KAMPALA – Today, the U.S. Government in partnership with Century Entrepreneurship Development Agency (CEDA) International launched the “Rising Stars Mentoring Program.” The $100,000 program seeks to empower young women to become economically independent and socially responsible leaders. This enables them to focus their thinking, take charge of their lives, and improve their communities.

There are seven schools in the program:
• Nabisunsa Girls Senior Secondary School
• Nabbingo Senior Secondary School
• Mbogo High Senior Secondary School
• Gayaza Senior Secondary School
• Bweranyangi Senior Secondary School
• Aboke Girls Senior Secondary School
• Tororo Girls Senior Secondary School

Speaking at the launching ceremony, the U.S. Ambassador to Uganda Jerry P. Lanier said, “The status of the world’s women is not only a matter of morality and justice. It is also a political, economic, and social imperative. The U.S. is committed to the empowerment of young women not just because it is the right thing to do, but also because is it the smart thing to do. When women make progress, countries make progress. When women have equal rights, nations are more stable, peaceful, and secure”.

CEDA International is a social entrepreneurship organization that provides leadership, mentoring, and entrepreneurship development. It provides people with relevant information to design their destiny. Their goal is to empower youth to become leaders and solve challenges.

For additional information, please contact:
Nanyonga Dorothy, Information Assistant, U.S. Mission Uganda
Tel: +256-414-250-314×6104 Cell: +077222-14-12, 0784846334
Email: NanyongaDx@state.gov

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My imminent conviction today


Vincent Nuwagaba

Faculty of Law Makerere

University, P.O Box 7062,

Kampala.

29th January 2010

Your Lordship, Hon Justice, Benjamin Odoki

The Chief Justice, Courts of Judicature

RE: MY IMMINENT CONVICTION AND POSSIBLE DEATH

My Lord, I write this report to express my disenchantment with the manner in which justice is dispensed in the Ugandan courts of Law. I hope you will be able to appreciate the mood in which I am given the tone of the language in this letter.

The purpose of the report

I have been prompted to write to you after learning that there is a calculated scheme to convict me on trumped up charges of Assault and Threatening Violence – charges whose genesis is my open criticism of unprecedented, sudden, phenomenal and heartless increment of fees in public universities in a week the freshers were report for their courses. My Lord, I know for a fact that university graduates in Uganda are a drop in the ocean – actually not more than 0.5% of the total population. I am part of that drop in the ocean and I am sure I am above average. Did I commit a crime when I wrote to the President complaining about fees increment? I delivered a petition to parliament on the same subject matter. Should that be the reason why I should be convicted?

The truth of the matter is that on 17th August 2009, I was arrested by five police officers with two guns who even deprived me of the money worth Shs 1,400,000 (one million, four hundred thousand shillings) which money I wanted to pay soon after picking my admission letter. Why I was denied my admission letter the university authorities should give an answer but I was told it was an order from above following my letter to the president complaining about heartless tuition increment which would spare none directly or indirectly. I was beaten and I regretted the day I was born. At least, the Head of Political Science Department Dr Yassin Olum can tell the manner in which he found me.

I am directly affected by the unfair and heartless increment of tuition fee up to 126 percent. Does any logical person think, I would keep quiet? To me that is akin to enjoying the rape. Even when a woman feels he cannot stop being raped, she has to complain about it.

I have never been a mediocre and that’s why despite the fact that there are people who fail to make it on government sponsorship from schools such as Buddo and Ntare; I went straight to Makerere University on government sponsorship from Bubangizi Secondary School in Ruhinda. I have also taught in a university and not every university graduate has the wherewithal to teach in a university. Accordingly, I am a better refined brain than majority of our politicians who have run this country down the drain.

How I learnt of the dirty scheme to convict me

I received a call from a police detective almost two months ago. The detective told me, if I don’t talk to the Magistrate, I will be convicted. He told me he had read through my file and found out that there were enough grounds to convict me. I wondered how, a police detective would have access to my file when the hearing had started. I wrote about it in my “The Mouthpiece” column in 256news.com under the title “Show me justice in Uganda courts”.

Now, what has prompted me to write is what I was told by a certain Lawyer who said he talked to the trial magistrate in my case and the magistrate said he will convict me. I know, if I am convicted it would be politically motivated. I am sure, if the justice system in Uganda was fair, the state witnesses in my case would be charged of perjury. Sadly, impunity is the order of the day.

I would also wish to let you know that it is illegal to convict anybody of a criminal offence if such person didn’t have an attorney to represent them. Uganda is a signatory to many international legal instruments. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties talks of the Principle of Pacta sunt servanda. Please, we are bound by the instruments that we have ratified.

I wouldn’t care being convicted if I was a criminal but I know, I am innocent and even if your dysfunctional courts said, I am guilty, I will not be guilty. At least, you must know that Edmary Mpagi spent quite a number of years on a death row in Luzira yet the man was innocent.

Honourable Chief Justice, is it not amazing that people in this government who have openly abused funds meant for the HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria patients are at large while innocent Nuwagaba who complains about abuse and misuse of power and advocates equitable distribution of the national cake through equitable access to education and access to jobs on meritocracy is to be convicted the Kangaroo courts?

I state without any fear of contradiction that the witness the state adduced was too weak to convict even a known criminal. I was given bail on account of the fact that I am a human rights defender of high repute and even the Magistrate accepted that. It would be eccentric that I can just be convicted anyhow. That surely, would mean that the people on whose toes I have always stepped during the course of my human rights research and activism have succeeded in prevailing on the courts to subvert justice. Dr Martin Luther King Jr said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. I would like to state that if Ugandans fail to get justice in the temples of justice, they will surely choose to take the law in their hands and most likely they will resort to mob injustice which many mistakenly call mob justice. I am convinced that even the Saints can be tempted to do that. See Matthew 26:51, mark 14:47, Luke 22:50 and John 18:10. Is it because Simon Peter was a criminal that he cut off the ear of one of Jesus’ captors? No, Peter was provoked and I would pray that if we are to be provoked, let that provocation stop at the Police for heaven’s sake (which is also wrong). If it extends to the Courts of Law, then surely the centre can no longer hold!

I have surely learnt that a moment I go to Luzira, I will not come out alive. I will either die in the cells or there will be a lethal injection administered to me which will kill me slowly. As a human rights defender, I know of such cases!

Background to my ordeals

My Lord, allow me first and foremost tell you that I have undergone the worst forms of torture which include physical, psychological, mental and pharmacological forms of torture if I am to be guided by the anti-torture bill that has been crafted by the Civil Society organisations under the coalition against torture. I have really undergone a very traumatic experience at the hands of state operatives since 11th April 2008 to date. I haven’t been convinced that my predicament is not as a result of my firm belief and advocacy for human dignity which I have been involved in since childhood.

My human rights activism became visible to the state operatives in 2001 when I became a student leader and activist at Makerere University. I believe those who used to read the papers would always see my letters to the editor wherein I always decried the deplorable, inhuman and degrading situation to which Makerere University government sponsored non-resident students were subjected to. As usual, I was ignored but this culminated into a very bad strike in November 2003 at a time when the Prime Minister Apollo Nsibambi was being installed as a Makerere University chancellor. The following day when the New Vision wrote in its editorial condemning students, I wrote back in the Daily Monitor defending students. Within a brink of an eye, students got their money. I was always told by my NRM friend while we were in Lumumba that I was being trailed and he always told me which people were trailing me. As the Banyankole say, a stone that is visible cannot destroy a hoe; the state operatives that were trailing me couldn’t harm me then couldn’t harm me because I knew them.

I also became a member of the popular Ekimezza radio talk show hosted by Radio One in 2001. I am sure, those who used to tune in know my stance on the developments in Uganda, a country which I like so much.

I also vigorously campaigned against expunging term limit proviso from our constitution but I was disregarded. Now, many of us are tasting the bitterness of expunging Article 105(2) from our constitution. While the Ugandan courts are determined to convict me as a criminal, the wretched of the earth whose children are blocked from accessing higher education and jobs look at me with admiration as a liberator. I wish all of us would read Martin Luther King Jr’s “A letter from Birmingham jail”. I strongly believe, with or without me, Ugandan rulers cannot continuously ride on the poor people’s backs unless they are permanently bent. As for me, this is the campaign that I have started and it will sweep out many of the predatory politicians come 2011. I am using a combination of the pen and the tongue and I am quite sure that as long as the message is as plain as a pikestaff, we shall get to the Promised Land.

On 11th, April2008, I was illegally arrested following the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation TV Talk show on Sunday 6th April 2008 on which I featured with workers’ MP Bakabulindi three articles that were consecutively run in the press all of which decried corruption, graduate unemployment and wanton abuse of human rights. I was to be told by my tormentors that I had four files against me with one file being from president Museveni, another one being from the IGP Gen Kayihura while the third and fourth being from the then Minister of Internal Affairs and my area Member of Parliament respectively.

I thought, the policemen were just overzealous but as time goes, I have begun to think that maybe, they were right. I have let the president and the Inspector General of Police know this but my plight continues unabated.

I spent five days in the cells incommunicado undergoing all the worst forms of torture. This was despite the fact that a celebrated professor of Law, John-Jean Barya came for me on 13th April but was blocked. When friends learnt of it I was taken to Butabika after the police had connived with the staff at Butabika Mental Hospital. Butabika was to be used to finally end my life. I was kept in the mental Hospital for nine days forcefully taking drugs that were to finally kill me. All this happened under the supervision of SP Bahimbise.

I have been illegally detained by the Police countless times since then but worth noting is that I almost died between 27th to 30th June 2008 because of the lethal drugs I was subjected to. I have quite often been deprived of my liberty and property in addition to torture.

In May 2009, I filed a suit against the Attorney General and Dr. Tom Onen. To the best of my knowledge, no defence was filed by the defendants and my lawyer and I were accordingly about to apply for ex parte judgement. Ironically, I learnt only last week that my case was dismissed by Mrs Kabanda on 28th August 2009 at a time when I was remanded in Luzira! No grounds for its dismissal have been given; my counsel hasn’t been aware and to date, I am being told that my file cannot be found. Where is justice?

After filing my suit, the policemen took it upon themselves to always arrest me, deprive me of my belongings, detain me and after two days release me on police bond. Surprisingly, whenever I tell them to take me to court, they tell me, never come back here. All they have always done to show me that they are in charge; that they are owners of the state. I have documented these cases and written to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) but he has chosen to ignore me. The IGP has a report about me from the so-called Professional Standards Unit of the Police which I have been denied. I have documented quite vividly what I have gone through and if you picked interest in my matter I will be available.

I know that there are politicians who are ready to sacrifice me because they fear my ideas. I would kindly beg them to sacrifice their domestic animals if they are obsessed with offering sacrifices. If they cannot even be allowed to sacrifice their own children, why should they sacrifice me who owes them nothing? They have deliberately denied me and many other sons and daughters of peasants of opportunities on the meritocracy basis; let them forthwith refrain from interfering with my God-given rights. The basis upon which we are marginalised is the basis upon which we shall organise. Since, we have been marginalised as the peasants’ children, I will continue appealing to the peasants and their children to shun the regime that has marginalised them.

You cannot deny the peasants’ children access to education; access to jobs; access to an adequate standard of living and you expect, Vincent Nuwagaba, a human rights defender to keep silent. I know, Ellie Weasel, a one time Nobel Prize winner said, neutrality helps the oppressor and not the oppressed; silence helps the tormentor and not the victim. I can never be silent; neither can I claim to be neutral. I am surely biased in favour of the marginalised.

Finally, if the courts cannot dispense justice but instead choose to propagate and orchestrate injustice, we shall have no option but to take the law into our hands for then we shall revert into the Hobbesian state of nature where every man was against every man and life was nasty, short and brutish. It is the duty of the courts to guard against such a scenario. I am sure, what I am going through would ably grant me asylum but I don’t want to be pushed out of my country. I therefore, advocate fight and not flight. I remind those who cannot tolerate my views of the famous words of the French enlightenment philosopher Voltaire who said, “I disagree with what you say. But, I will defend to the death your right to say it”. I still want to believe that judiciary brooks no wanton abuse of human rights; that the Directorate of public prosecutions is a human rights defence body and that the Police is a human rights defence institution. After all, Mr. Richard Buteera is a patron to the Uganda Prisoners’ Aid Foundation, a human rights organisation and I hear the IGP Major General Kale Kayihura is a human rights Lawyer who has a Masters degree in Law. I would therefore expect the police and the courts of law to defend human rights at all odds. Otherwise, the hottest compartment in hell will be reserved for those who know what they ought to have done but deliberately chose to do what they ought not to have done. For God and my country!

Yours truly,

Vincent Nuwagaba

Email: mpvessynuwagaba@gmail.com cell: +256702843552

CC: Attorney General

CC: Director of Public Prosecutions

CC: Uganda Human Rights Commission

CC: Inspector General of Police

CC: UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

CC: Amnesty International

CC: International Crisis Group

CC: Human Rights Watch

CC: East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders’ Project

CC: Foundation for Human Rights Initiative

CC: Chairperson, Legal and Parliamentary Committee

CC: Hon Kahinda Otafiire, MP representing Ruhinda County

CC: Michael Senyonjo, Ugandan Human Rights Defender based in the United Kingdom

Free Advice to Dr.Bukenya: ”No More Media Interviews and Sort out Your Bank Loans”


Listen folks, the toughest job in Africa or for that matter anywhere else is being Vice President, but especially in Africa where dictators are in charge. From the look of it, Minister Mbabazi was promoted to PM, but he actually lost more in the process. He is now out of the security loop and is about to relinquish his position as NRM Secretary General. With him out of security can he command the level of security he commanded before not just for himself but his family at public expense? The other truth of the matter is that he knows it is a loss of powers, but he cannot say, Mr. President let me stay where I was. No.

YKM set out to banish two ambitious people. The irony if you believe it one camp may have gone for Dr Bukenya, but paid the price in the process. So who made the call: was it Hon Janet K. Museveni’s camp-and who is in her camp-or was it YKM?

Folks, YKM feared to fire Dr Bukenya so he asked him to resign. That is another indicator. Was it some quid pro: resign and you could eat a big NRM post? Then YKM called the NRM caucus who were salivating for free food so they went to state house-yes food to endorse YKM’s decision. And listen to the minions that they were consulted.

Did one camp lose more by winning? That is by evicting Dr Bukenya from the VP, did YKM insist that if Dr Bukenya had to go the other-okay mafia camp-too had to give up something? I read somewhere Mr. Mike Mukula saying that if named to the cabinet he would not accept because he wants to serve the party. Why are some people not interested in joining YKM’s 76 plus cabinet? And YKM wonder why service delivery is terrible. Exhibit A: his 76 cabinet contingent that can’t seem to be on the same wavelength.

I suppose NRM is about to call another national delegates conferences to fill top slots. More free food and pocket money for the folks in yellow. I told you that politicking in Uganda is endless hence the hunger, which as far as I know is manmade.

Nonetheless, Hon Bukenya lacks discipline. He should have emulated then VP Mwai Kibaki who was relieved of his duties but never uttered a word. He showed up at Uhuru Park to witness the swearing in of Dr Josephat Karanja and reported at his new posting at the Ministry of Health. That is here VP Ssekandi is very different from Hon Bukenya. The former is mild mannered and not prone to any indiscipline.

It is also true that contrary to what we think; Hon Ssekandi comes to the VP job with a wealth of public service compared to what Dr Bukenya had. Yes both are humble, but Hon Bukenya lacked the discipline and started wearing hats like YKM. I doubt Hon Ssekandi can go that route. If Hon Bukenya is to thrive as per his interview in Newvision he needs to be more disciplined in public and private because the mafia will be going after him. They will tempt him and see how he responds. If I were Dr Bukenya or his handlers I would tell him to chill out and stay away from the media for now. The media is a double edged sword.

The Newvision interview was ill advised, so let it be the last for now to the media. He should refer all media inquiries to his lawyers and restrict his efforts towards Mpigi district for now. YKM can order banks to recall loans Hon Bukenya owes. I am sure YKM and the mafia would like to humiliate him more. I have said before that YKM and Mir have a lot in common. Vengeful yet they claim to be God’s men. Wupuzi. That is what Moi always did: any prominent politician who owed KCB loans, the banks would be forced to recall. He even tried it with Barclays Bank to recall loans held by Mr Matiba but he failed. Although I saw in the news the other that that his Hillcrest schools are being sold.

Here is another advice for Hon Bukenya: if has any loans, he should opt to retire them now before YKM and the mafia ambush him. That is life.

And oh, here is the evidence, Professor Sen Amartya-a Nobel winner- has documented that NO famine has ever occurred in a democracy. NEVER! If famine/hunger occurred in Uganda as acknowledged by YKM then it means-proves- that Uganda is a dictatorship. YKM provided the evidence that he is dictator because famines only occur in dictatorships because in a democracy they would pay the ultimate price of defeat at the polls. The famine in China under Moa killed over 40 million people and he paid no price. If anyone wanted proof that Uganda is dictatorship, the famine sealed it. The proof is the famine.

That said, former PM Nsibambi and Minister Makubuya deserve more scrutiny than Hon Ssekandi as speaker. Prof Nsibambi was the leader of Government Business while Prof Khiddu Makubuya was the Minister of Justice and AG. These two were responsible for ramming through parliament YKM’s agenda. Prof Nsibambi was the one who decided government business. Under the new arrangement PM Mbabazi is going to be in charge of ramming through whatever YKM/NRM wants. I said here that Hon Kadaga will be challenged beyond her expectations. She is going to sweat and regret it given YKM’s musing of what he wants to see amended so he can lord it on Ugandans more.

Show me Speaker Kadaga’s CV. What did she do before YKM? Or is she a product of YKM? If that is the case how can Ugandans-UAH-expect a stronger speaker? That is why we need the media to educate us about the new leaders.

WB Kyijomanyi
DP ELDER IN NEWYORK

The Real Reason Revealed Why Ssebagala was Appointed a Cabinet Minister


Ugandans have reacted surprised at the appointment of Ssebagala as a minister without portfolio and Otaffire becoming the justice minister. However, one UAH member,Solomon Kibinge, said that there was no need to be surprised at the elevation of seya.

‘’In the process of surveillance by Chieftainancy of Military Intelligence (CMI) on Mr. Ssempebwa (Founder of LDT Party), CMI found a pickup truck full of weapons designated for a rebel camp somewhere in Buganda. The Rapid Response Unit (RRU) moved first and apprehended this man with about 75 youth that night in 2005. It is believed that some moles within Ssempebwa circles were passing on information to Ssebagala who was reporting direct to senior officers within the intelligence community.

‘’This LDT man was sent in the coolers of our infamous safe houses where it is claimed that snakes are used in torturing suspects. It is understood that the LDT boss was brought from the Kololo safe house – (located next to the European Union Representative’s residence) to Jinja Road police Station to be processed to court but instead State house operatives took charge. This caused confusion among security organisations in the process. In spite of tight security, Ssempebwa escaped to Rwanda and ended up in Europe. Though the Kampala Red pepper claims that he is somewhere in West Africa planning to return with a big bang. ‘’

‘’Therefore, Sebagala’s eating big is not a surprise he did quite a risky hell of a job to smash an emerging young Baganda rebel group, that would have destabilised Museveni’s gripe on Uganda. Those who claim that he is going to “put his behind” at Museveni’s cabinet they are joking ,Seya is going to be everywhere in the bush and on the streets Kampala hunting for Ssempebwa’s boys who are more likely to give Museveni a run for his money.’’

UAH moderator, Abbey Semuwemba, was also not surprised that Ssebagala is included in Museveni’s cabinet because he is street smart. Unlike Solomon, Ssemuwemba said:‘’He is gonna sit in that cabinet and he will be under no illusion that he is there because of some ‘smart brains’. He is there to help Museveni make a political statement:’ you cross from opposition, you eat big or you will be rewarded’.

Ssemuwemba also said:’’Ssebagala is likely to contribute in the cabinet because he has got a lot of contacts in the opposition and he is a very calculative business man but I’m sure he will keep other cabinet members a bit ‘’entertained’’. I can see arrogant Mbabazi calling him an idiot at some stage, like he did with Ken Lukyamuzi yesterday, and telling him to shut up.

Ssemuwemba was, however, surprised with the elevation of Otaffire to becoming the Justice Minister but he believes that Museveni is very good tactically and that May be there is something about Otaffire that will help him weaken the judiciary as well.

One female NRM supporter called , Mary Ddungu, defended the appointment of Maria Kiwana kiwanuka as the finance minister to replace Saida Bumba:’ Maria is owner of of radio one, formerly worked at the World Bank in Washington. Well, she has the academic qualifications for sure — I think she attended Harvard Biz school too.’’ But she asked if Otaffire knows anything about the law

A Ugandan residing in Toronto, Mr. Mulindwa Edward, said:’’LOL !!!! Otafiire minister of justice? Geez man it is very sad I was born in Uganda man, this is hilarious. But before I blow up a gasket, let me remember that Kaddafi was almost appointed the leader of the Security Council in the UN. There you go people, Uganda laws have been put under a steward ship of Otafiire.’’

‘’This is the last tenure of Museveni why not? We have truly gone to the Dogs. You know even Iddi Amin respected some posts but Museveni does not. And here is the other danger, under those people you do not have many educated to run the show. How will Otafire run it? But remember as much as we tried to help Kampala city we failed for Ssebagala would not fly to any country to attend the conferences due to his criminal record. And there is nothing powerful today as municipal politics man these cities twin with cities like Kampala and you build them. But Kampala mayoral seat was empty in Vancouver for its mayor has a criminal record. And yes I was ashamed for I attended the God damn conference.’’

UGANDA POLICE:GUIDELINES ON COUNTERING TERRORISM


The purpose of this press release is to liaise with you in sharing information to counter terrorism so that all Ugandans and all the residents of this country can know. I would like to inform you that within this period, we are on a heightened alert because of the information that we have. Through our own intelligence activities and through sharing with our counterparts, we have been able to arrive at this information.

We have information to the effect that the Al-Shabab have hatched more plans to attack us and possibly, some of them are already within the country and others want to infiltrate into the country for purposes of carrying out a terrorist attack in this country.

This is not for purposes of making them live under fear, we shall never accept or allow the terrorist to change our way of life. We are promising that we will continue doing all it takes to make sure that our citizens and residents are safe.

The purpose is to share this information so that our people on their part can take the necessary measures as individuals to safe guard themselves as we also take the necessary measure to safe guard them in as far as cubing terrorism is concerned.

v And therefore we call upon our people to take interest in personal security.  To be conscious of what is happening around in our environment so that they are able to pick out the suspicious elements and articles in case they appear within their environment.

v We are also encouraging our people to get interested, not only in their own localized environment but to get involved in what we call neighborhood watch. This is because we are clearly aware that your own security is inter-linked with the security of those surrounding you and therefore we call upon all the people to pick interest in what happens around their general surrounding to be able to have total security to deny the wrong elements an area in which they want to operate from.

v People should also take seriously the issues of premises security and access control to areas which attract many people. There should be a way of making sure that people and articles are accounted for within such environments. Where possible, we would encourage people to use screening equipment like metal detectors, handheld x-ray machines, etc.

v On top of that, we encourage people to have serious observation capacity so that they are able to pick out those who may be suspicious.

v Ensure that all staff are properly identified in the environments. All people who are supposed to be in a certain place are properly identified so that it becomes easy to isolate those who are not part of that environment.

v We also encourage very seriously people who are involved in organizing events. You are aware that events are one area which can attract the terrorist because in many cases when they are not secured, they become soft targets, therefore an easy attraction for the terrorist to think of attacking. We have the European Football Cup, Martyrs Day, we have Hero’s Day and we also have the Cranes match against Guinea Bissau and Ekitobero event of Radio CBS.

There are also those events which are general in nature. For example, in areas like Kabalagala, Wandegeya were its continuous which is important that we take full care of these areas. These are activities which are bound to attract a good number of people and we need to take good security measure and we will defiantly do. The biggest point of interest is the cooperation and coordination of all those people who are organizing those events.

v We also encourage people to take good care of fuel stations within the city and also not to allow people to park within these fuel stations. It is only those vehicles which have a purpose like fueling, servicing, and related issues but not just parking there. But I would also like to add that we as security organs, are doing all it takes to ensure that terrorist activities do not take place within the confines of this country. We have put all measures in place and this is an assurance to our people adding that total success also depends on the participation of all the good intentioned Ugandans and residents.

It is very important that all of us participate in this aspect because that is when we are going to achieve maximum success.  However, this should not deter us from carrying out our day-to-day activities. The only caution is to have that consciousness about our own security and the security of our own environment.

About the opposition thinking that this alert is to scare them, am just coming from a meeting with the IGP and various Opposition leaders to share with them those particular threats on this country that Al-Shabab is having plans of attacking some of our political leaders so that they cause some effect in as far as terrorism is concerned.

Why they would specifically target Political leaders; part of the answer is with the terrorist but on our part, it doesn’t surprise us because terrorists do certain acts for other purpose.

What happened to us on 11th July, 2010, one would have wondered, why attack those innocent young people who are watching a football match? What about the politicians.

The media should help us to communicate to all the concerned not to get fatigued but to do what they are supposed to do to ensure security within all public places.

As police, we have put measures in place –we have heightened on our security in as far as border control systems are concerned, we are very watchful on a good number of our strategic assets and strategic locations.

We have put extra measures along our roads, please accept some of those inconveniences, but they are for a good cause.

We are working together as a team with all the national security agencies to make sure that we remain on top of this situation.

AIGP Byakagaba Abasi

Director Counter Terrorism Uganda Police Force

27th May 2011
Telephone 0414254033
Fax: 0414 343421
Email: ugandapoliceforce@gmail.com
P.O. Box 7055 Kampala, Uganda

FDC is not a one man’s party


I respond to some people’s communication in which they wondered if and when Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye ever takes off time to have a vacation.

I would like to assure them and indeed all others who have Uganda at heart that Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye often take time off to recharge his batteries, but since February 18, conditions prevailing in Uganda have not allowed him to take such a vacation.

I guess you are by now aware that EU Election Observer Mission to Uganda recently released its final report in which it pointed out that “…the electoral process was marred by avoidable administrative and logistical failures which led to an unacceptable number of Ugandan citizens being disenfranchised. Furthermore, the power of incumbency was exercised to such an extent as to compromise severely the level playing field between the competing candidates and political parties…”

Such a scenario quantitatively and qualitatively affected the outcome of the election, but I will therefore not dwell on it. I however must say that this affected the party in several ways.

First of all, the presumed decline in support from 37% in 2006 to 26% in 2011 has many supporters in disarray. Many of them are obviously disenchanted. Only 8,128,098 (58.25%) out of 13,954,129 registered voters cast their votes. Many of the party’s supporters did not bring the vote out.

FDC gained lots of ground in the local council elections, but it has to do more in order to build on the momentum gained there. While he was brutalized and is yet to recover from the injuries suffered at the hands of the goons that call themselves security operatives, he has to put in extra time and effort in order to keep the party going.

Besides, in the absence of an alternative force to mount pressure on the government to become more sensitive to the plight of its people it becomes incumbent upon certain people to arrogate themselves the task of championing certain causes.

There is also need to galvanize all forces working for regime change. Leadership has to be provided. Dr. Besigye has arrogated himself the task of championing pro-people causes and providing leadership to all forces working for change.

Government has refused to intervene in the economy, especially in checking the spiraling fuel and food prices. It has at the same time come up with this amazing idea of increasing the size of cabinet. Someone has to stand up and speak out against this indifference. The scenario calls for sacrifices. In the circumstances, opting not to take leave would be a necessary sacrifice.

FDC is certainly structured well enough to run without Dr. Besigye. It has 4 Vice Presidents, a National Chairman, a Secretary General and lots of technocrats. Indeed unless there is something pressing, Dr. Besigye prefers “a hands off, eyes on” approach. This ensures that those he assigns duties perform them without feeling any interference whatsoever.

Chairing the Wednesday meetings was inevitable. The NEC at its 34th meeting assigned the Party President the responsibility of “naming, in consultation with the NEC, the leader of the Opposition in Parliament and the Opposition Chief Whip”. NEC never allowed the Party President to delegate that responsibility or duty which had to be performed urgently in order not to paralyze business in parliament.

I hope that this answers you.

ISAAC MICHAEL MUFUMBA

INFORMATION OFFICER,

FORUM FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (FDC)

Letter to President Museveni from NGOs on the importance of conducting an independent investigation into killings during the recent protestss


May 26, 2011
Your Excellency,
We, Ugandans At Heart Forum members and international non-governmental organizations, write to urge the Ugandan government to promptly set up an impartial, independent, and transparent process to investigate human rights abuses during the recent“Walk to Work” protests and hold accountable anyone found responsible for criminal acts particularly incidents in, which people were killed or wounded. As Uganda actively participates in various international mechanisms and is committed to rule of law, we also encourage the government to draw on international expertise and invite relevant United Nations special rapportuers to visit Uganda.

We welcome that in your statement to the nation on May 17, 2011, you referred to the death of two year old Julian Nalwanga in Masaka as a result of shooting by police as a “criminal killing.” There is ample evidence that at least 8 other killings in April warrant timely and transparent criminal investigations.

Police have put significant resources into investigations of alleged acts of looting, arson and destruction of property by protestors and arrested hundreds of people for unlawful assembly. We ask that government work to ensure that equal efforts are extended to investigations and appropriate criminal prosecutions of security forces who used live ammunition and killed Ugandan citizens without legal justification.

Little effort has gone into an examination of the decision by the security forces to resort to live ammunition in Masaka, Gulu and various areas of Kampala in April. We applaud the arrest of the policeman in Masaka and hope he will be given a fair trial before civilian courts, but we remain concerned that no meaningful actions are being taken in several other incidents.

Alleged misuses of lethal force are incompatible with Uganda’s duty to respect the right to life, the responsibility to protect and violate international standards. The Ugandan government has international obligations, including those under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to investigate all police and military actions that allegedly violate basic rights and hold perpetrators of violations to account. International law to which Uganda is a party provides that exceptional circumstances such as internal political instability or any other public emergency may not be invoked to justify any derogation from the right to life and security of the person.

In September 2009, at least 40 people were killed when government forces responded with live ammunition to protests and demonstrations regarding the movements of the Kabaka. Hundreds of people were arrested and charged with a range of crimes for participation in those demonstrations. Despite multiple commitments from parliament and police to investigate the killings, no action has taken place. This uneven implementation of the rule of law undermines Uganda’s commitment to justice and perpetuates a sense that criminal accountability is political rather than based on equal respect for all.

Uganda is a current member of the United Nations Human Rights Council. In this connection, we urge the Ugandan government to engage with the council’s reporting systems, particularly to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, and the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression.

The Ugandan government should immediately extend an invitation to these experts so that they may investigate any abuses that may have occurred that are covered by their mandate. This would not be unprecedented.Shortly after you took power in 1986, your government extended an invitation and hosted the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions. Beyond inviting these experts now, Uganda should issue a standing invitation to all the special rapportuers and the UN working groups to visit Uganda. Some 80 countries have now extended such a standing invitation including Ghana, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Zambia and Guinea Bissau.

In summary, we urge you to act quickly to:
• establish an impartial, independent, and transparent process to investigate human rights abuses, particularly incidents in which people were killed, during the recent unrest in April and May and hold accountable those found responsible for criminal acts.
• invite the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, and the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression to come to Uganda and issue standing invitations to all rapportuers.
The Ugandan government should show its commitment to justice by using all legal mechanisms at its disposal to investigate these killings by security forces and ensure accountability.

We look forward to your attention and prompt response to these matters of concern.
NGO Sign Ons:
FHRI, Kampala Uganda
HURINET, Kampala Uganda
Human Rights Watch
National NGO Forum, Uganda

Posted to UAH  asking for our cooperation in this matter by:

Livingstone Sewanyana

Executive Director

*********************************

Foundation For Human Rights Initiative (FHRI)

P.O. Box 11027 Kampala

Plot 1853 Block 15 Lulume Road, Nsambya

Tel: 256-414-510263,510498, 510276

Fax: 256-414-510498

Email: fhri@dmail.ug

Website: www.fhri.or.ug

M7 should Never Have Stood in 2011 Elections.He Again Insulted Ugandans


When Democracy Insults

By

Rehema Kampala

Dear Ugandans at heart,

If there was any hope of free, fair, and credible elections in Uganda this year, that hope was dashed the moment President Yoweri Museveni decided to run for president. I shall return to this.

After the 2006 electoral heist, it looked like we couldn’t sink any lower in electoral malfeasance. We thought we had seen it all and nobody could take 31 million people for a ride ever again in the name of democracy. It looked increasingly likely that election 2011 would bring the political change the country so desperately needed. The opposition under Interparty Cooperation had the support of almost all Ugandans before Museveni spoilt everything.

Based on this assumption, Ugandans were willing to make the necessary sacrifice.And so we approached the 2011 elections with a lot of hope and plenty of promises from the president and the electoral commission. The elections have come and gone. Unfortunately, they were neither free and fair nor credible. Electoral malpractices were widespread. The fraud was manifest in the inflation of votes, multiple thumb printing (evidence abound on Youtube), buying of voter’s card, inducement and buying of voters on election day, the seizure of polling stations and sharing of ballot papers, underage voting, violence, and intimidation of voters. The list is endless.

The point is that the election fell below expectation. Some would argue that it was a marked improvement from 2006. That may be the case. But that argument is meaningless if one considers the unprecedented post-election violence that has been meted out to the likes of Besigye and Mao, and the fact that other parties rejected the results.

It seems our greatest undoing as a nation is our predilection for mediocrity and perversion of transformational values. Old men in Uganda are nolonger afraid of telling lies in public. Kivenjinja Kirunda, the minister of internal affairs, has been the greates liar of all, followed by president Museveni himself.

The ‘’Independent’’ Electoral Commission (EC) may not have been in a position to deal with a lot of the anomalies witnessed during the election, but that is not to say the commission is completely blameless. Clearly, EC was not prepared for the election and it showed a lack of authority and determination at every turn.

For example, in some regions, there were marked differences in the provisional and final figures after the voter registration exercise which EC could not explain. The number of invalid votes during the elections shows that EC did not take seriously the issue of voter education. In a country with one of the highest level of illiteracy, why did EC make the sample ballot paper a mystery?

When president Museveni said that EC was the only body with the authority to fix the order of election, after Besigye had announced that he would announce his own results, we all knew that elections were not going to be free and fair. Some of the lame excuses the EC offered included the statement that ballot papers had been printed, as if that had any bearing on the date the election would take place. So much for commitment to free and fair election! With over 20 million US dollars and a lot of goodwill from Ugandans, EC ought to have done better but they didnt. Dr.Kiggundu, chairman of EC, is a known NRM cadre and he is likely to remain chairman for as long as Museveni is still president of Uganda.

But if we focus on EC we miss the point. President Museveni’s entry into the presidential race changed the dynamics of the election. Was he going to run to lose, in a country where money is everything and incumbency rules, no matter the level of incompetence?

Regrettably, most in NRM have refused to see that Uganda is bigger than President Museveni or his ambitions. Of course, there was the moral burden he faced in his party. But beyond that was the inability to appreciate that one of the greatest problems confronting us as a nation is bad leadership. Museveni is simply the most selfish leader Uganda has had since independence.

Since independence, we have had the misfortune of being saddled with morally bankrupt, inept and visionless leaders. And this has persisted because we haven’t been able to conduct credible elections. It is either competent people are rigged out or they do not trust the system enough to run for office. President Museveni had the golden opportunity to change that in 1996 but he has proved to be worse than past presidents. He has killed more people than both Obote and Amin Combined but the western media started to talk about it just this year during the ‘WALK TO WORK’ protests when Arinaitwe Gilbert treated Besigye like a sack of potatoes in a pick up.

Once he decided to run, President Museveni had to do all he needed to do to win, whether it meant running what perhaps was the most expensive presidential campaign in history, in total disregard of the country’s electoral laws, bending the rules to favour him or coercing governors to get their support.We need a courageous leader; one who is willing to make sacrifices on our behalf. President Museveni failed Uganda in this regard.

As always, there are those who would want us to be amnesiac. We need to move Uganda forward is their ever ready answer to our political and social problems. But the next five years will not be dedicated to governance in any form. From May 12, 2011, the race will begin in the ruling party on who will succeed President Museveni in 2016, that is if he keeps his promise to serve his final term. In the months ahead there will be political jobbers who will resurrect the debate of 7-year tenure for the president.

I’m also surprised with the media that keeps giving space to the children of big people in NRM to either cement the dictatorship ideas in the country or continue to confuse Ugandans. For example, the Daily Monitor has been publishing articles from Mbabazi’s daughter and they are slowly turning her into some form of a serious intellectual person yet she is clearly confusing Ugandans. Before we know it, Muhoozi will also start appearing more in the Newvision on a regular basis as if we have not had enough of this rotten batch.

Ssekandi Appointment as VP is similar to Moi’s appointment of late Dr Josephat Injuguan Karanja in 1988


What YKM has done is similar to what Mr Moi did in 1988 when he demoted then Vice Preident, Mr Kibaki, and replaced him with another Kikuyu from Kimabu, the late Dr Josephat Injuguan Karanja who had been the first High Commissioner to the UK  and VC on Nairobi University. He was married to a mutoro lady.  Mr Moi wanted to divide the kikuyu  by pitting Nyeri against Kiambu. The same thing YKM has done. He is trying to divide Busiro against Masaka/Buddu. But he will not succeed.

Mr Sekandi and Dr Karanja have a lot of similarities. Certainly the late Kranja was filthy rich but he was politically weak. He had been trounced by the late Authur Kinyanjui Magugu in  Githunguri constiuency so he ran to mathare where he finally won.  Dr Karanja was fronted by anti Kibaki’s force at the time revolving aroun the late Elijah Mwangale.  Anyways, Mr Kibaki went to the ministry of health and served the country and waited for his moment.  The rest is history. Dr Karanja did not stay very long as VP and was eventually sacked and replaced with Professor George Saitoti. It is rumoured that Dr Karanja died from slim. Elijah  Masinde Mwangale  who tormented both Mr Charles Mugane Njonjo and Mr Kibaki died miserably  shortly after Mr Kibaki became presidnet.

I think Mr Bukenya can still rise from the ashes but that will depend on how he behaves or reacts. Sure the mafia are salivating and could harm him if he gives them the opportunity.  But I am willing to bet that the sacking could have the opposite effect: boost Dr Bukenya’s support among the poor.  At least he cared about the poor unlike some elite opposition leaders who never talk about peasant issues.  Let us wait and see how he reacts. But I will also say this. YKm and his Arinaitwes and Kayihuras cannot treat Dr Bukenya the way they treated Dr Besigye and get away with it. Now if only the opposition leaders can give way, YKM would be gone before his 5 year term. 

To Hon Bukenya, sure he is disappointed but he should look across in Kenya and see that being demoted can actually be good for your political future. At this time we do not know whether he is out of cabinet entirely or he is deployed elsewhere.  Irrespective he should not over react because the mafia are waiting. 

Mr Sekandi is the most compromised puppet, who ‘eats’ big without having any support in Masaka. He was defeated by Mr Mbaabali and his appointment as VP will not change that.  I read that YKM wants to increase cabinet ministers for “better service delivery”. That is crap.

Most rational Ugandans gave up long ago on YKM’s cabinet. It is a cabinet of ebifures. It is where sane individuals lose their good deeds.In short, what YKM does or does not do is irrelevant to the suffering Ugandans. It is a puppet cabinet.

Meanwhile, I have been wondering about this issue for some time. Can Uganda and other similar minded countries make the necessary progress in health and education if they keep taking some of the worst performers in national exams?  I do not have to elaborate because you or most of you know what I am talking about.  Can the GIGO model continue to produce progress in Uganda?

Now the real issue: there is urgency to change the way nurses-I apologize to all the nurses in UAH-are trained in Uganda.  Nursing has deviated from Nightingale’s ideals. Most nurses in Uganda are rude to the point of being abusive. Actually many abuse patients especially women in the labour ward. They taunt women in labour, mock them and show indifference to their agony.  That is immoral and of course unethical.

Which brings me to the way nurses are trained and regulated in Uganda, How can professionals who are subject to regulation behave like that and get away with it?  How effective is the body-which is it-that regulates nursing? Which nurses are regulated?  I ask because the training in North America is that nursing students complete their undergraduate studies, then prepare to take the licensing exams during the summer before the graduate in the fall.   I believe they are allowed to fail the licensing exam once and take it again.  What is the situation in Uganda?  Do nurses have to take a qualifying exam?  What about the various uniforms? Are they still necessary?  How many nursing schools are there in Uganda?   Do nurses in Uganda also work 12 hour shifts as is the norm in North America? How much are they paid-listen to this folks, in North America, African men want to marry nurses because of their good pay, to be a nurse is  to court serious attention from men-in Uganda?.

Where does one send complaints if they have been wronged by nurses in Ugandan hospitals? The ministry or the regulatory body-I assume there is something like Nursing Council of Uganda-should have a toll free number?  How many nurses are disciplined each year? Folks, if disciplinary was enforced more than 50% of nurses in Uganda would be subject to discipline.

So let us hear from nurses in UAH or the spokesperson for the ministry of Health. Why do nurses treat patients so badly in Uganda?  Would things change if entry into nursing was elevated to university training? Is education the problem? What is it?

WB Kyijomanyi

Conference on ‘Sexuality, AIDS and Religion: Transnational Dynamics in Africa’


Sexuality, AIDS and religion: transnational dynamics in Africa’, School of Anthropology, University of Oxford, 28-30 September 2011.

Organised by: Nadine Beckmann (Oxford), Catrine Christiansen (Copenhagen), Alessandro Gusman (Riga) and hosted by the Fertility and Reproduction Studies Group (FRSG) and the International Research Network on Religion and AIDS in Africa.

Speakers include :Brooke Grundfest Schoepf (Harvard), Suzette Heald (LSE), Robert Thornton (Wits), Reverend Ijeoma Ajibade (Mayor’s Office, GLA). Discussants: Rijk van Dijk (Leiden), Hansjörg Dilger (Berlin).

This conference aims to bring together scholars and practitioners to analyse the ways in which transnational relations influence the interrelations between religion, sexuality and AIDS in Africa. During the last twenty-five years, AIDS has profoundly impacted the African continent, not only at the epidemiological level, but also in the social, political and economic realm. Not least, it has changed the way people look at sexuality. In this process, HIV prevention campaigns located sex at the centre of the AIDS pandemic, and early risk group categorisations, combined with the voices of religious leaders and local networks of rumour and gossip, lent the pandemic strong moral connotations at global as well as at local levels. Hence, popular understandings of the disease and risk of infection frequently refer to an interpretative grid that draws on a religious moral framework, and in many parts of Africa (and the world at large) AIDS is represented as “God’s punishment” for social corruption and moral decay.

Religious institutions, such as churches and mosques, and faith-based development organisations, have been active in promoting sexual education and HIV prevention programs and are at the forefront of providing care for the sick. However, these organisations have been criticised for increasing the stigmatisation of people living with the disease and for promoting ineffective ways of prevention, for example through over-emphasising abstinence and faithfulness while condemning condom use.

While scholars have pointed to the important roles religion plays in the moralisation of sexuality throughout the African continent, the roles of transnational relations in shaping local discourses on HIV/AIDS seem less clear. Most religious institutions and faith-based organisations work together with partners in, as well as outside the continent, but although these relations are known to be crucial for the flows of ideas and resources in relation to HIV/AIDS, there is very limited knowledge on the transnational dynamics of views on sexuality in relation to HIV/AIDS and religion in Africa.

Potential themes to explore include:
•    The politics of HIV prevention – social decay and the moralisation of sex: how and to what extent are new questions around the role of religion in directing sexual choices and behaviour put into practice by people in their everyday lives, and how do flows of ideas and money from the global to the local level influence moralising attitudes and the creation of ‘good religious individuals’?
•    The control of sexuality: religion, power, intergenerational conflict: how are local and global forces driving and influencing intergenerational and gender relations, and how are religious organizations actively directing young people away from ‘traditional’ modes of teaching and regulating sexual orders? To what extent are young people consciously utilising AIDS and sexuality as a means to question established hierarchies and traditions?
•    Negotiating policies on sexuality within faith-based organisations: how do organisations formulate policies on sexuality; who is involved in the process, and who has the power to make the decisions? What feedback loops are there for reconciling organisational policies with local realities and under what circumstances can spaces for debate and transformation open up within different organisations?
•    Sexual networks: which factors influence the shape of the sexual network in a specific location? What role do political, economic and religious considerations at the local, national and global levels play in the shaping of sexual networks? How can we apply systems-theoretical approaches and what methodologies can we use to study the larger structures of sexual networks, taking into account the social nature of sexual relationships?
•    Views from PLHA: negotiating sexual life with the virus: how do HIV-positive people negotiate sexual and reproductive life with the virus? Who is responsible for curbing the spread of HIV? And how do transnational advocacy networks play a role in the local shaping of the disease?

Please email abstracts (max. 500 words) to Catrine Christiansen: cac@teol.ku.dk, Nadine Beckmann:  nadine.beckmann@anthro.ox.ac.uk, or Alessandro Gusman: gusman@lu.lv by 1st July. The organisers will inform about the abstracts selected for the conference by 15th July.

The deadline for conference papers (5,000-7,000 words) is 1st September 2011. Participants who will not present papers are invited to register by 1st September. Conference registration is £25 (£15 for students), payable in cash or cheque upon arrival. This fee includes lunches and coffee/tea.

The conference will focus especially on the following issues:

Politics of HIV prevention: social decay and the moralisation of sex

Religious discourses and faith-based programs have framed HIV infection as a moral issue, aiming to direct people’s actions into socially acceptable forms of behaviour. At the same time, the HIV/AIDS field has become a public arena for imposing religious discourses which strongly condemn sexual relations before or outside marriage on a broader public debate. A reference to “moral decline” is often used to stigmatise “immoral behaviours”, as for example in the recent campaign against homosexuality in Uganda. But how exactly do such discourses flow between the global North and South, and within the African continent, and who are the actors involved?

The AIDS pandemic has opened up new questions around the role of religion in directing sexual choices and behaviour in countries with high HIV prevalence. How and to what extent are these discourses and teachings put into practice by people in their everyday lives? The use of condoms is often discouraged, if not condemned, by religious leaders and groups; what are the effects of such condemnation? Is the moralisation of AIDS creating a new image of who is “a good religious individual”? How and to what extent do flows of ideas and money from the global to the local level influence such moralising attitudes and the politics of HIV prevention in Africa? Finally, how does the emergence of independent churches that actively promote and incorporate views of sexuality which are opposed to dominant religious paradigms influence the dynamics of the moralisation of sex in Africa?

The control of sexuality: religion, power, intergenerational conflict

Young people and women are often considered responsible for moral and social decay. This opens reflections on the field of moral and sexual control: when the control of sexuality is shifted from local communities and traditional authorities to religious congregations, power relations are re-structured and authority may be questioned. These challenges go beyond choices regarding sex partners; they raise questions about gender and generational relations and about the location and formation of authority.

International organisations and programs are giving more and more attention to young people, who are seen both as a resource in terms of activism and as a risk to society. This opens the field to more reflection on the role of national and international AIDS politics to define a new image of youth in Africa. Finally, it is necessary to stress the gendered nature of this process, with men and women often exposed to different kinds of messages and actions.

How are these local and global forces driving and influencing intergenerational and gender relations? How do intergenerational tensions regarding “modernity” and the lifestyle enter the discourse about sexuality? How are sexual choices, and the control of sexuality, related to power issues? How are religious organizations actively directing young people away from ‘traditional’ modes of teaching and regulating sexual orders (e.g. initiation rituals)? And to what extent are young people consciously utilising AIDS and sexuality as a means to question established hierarchies and traditions? 

Negotiating policies on sexuality within faith-based organisations

Research has highlighted a distinction between the faith-based organisations that promote ‘abstinence only’ programmes and those that include the use of condoms. The former are often seen as making HIV prevention part of general religious education, whereas the latter combine rationales of sex education with religious morals. This conference will challenge such depictions of faith-based organisations as static, homogenous wholes by inviting papers that examine internal negotiations over policies on sexuality. How do organisations formulate policies on sexuality; who is involved in the process, and who has the power to make the decisions? Considering the transnational flows of ideas and resources, predominantly from the West, but increasingly also from other parts of the world, such as the Arab countries, to Africa, what are the rooms of manoeuvre for staff in African contexts to reconcile the organisational policy on sexuality with their own views or local circumstances? How do changing practices on the ground – for example Baptist pastors who decide to encourage the use of condoms because they observe that abstinence does not work – feed into policy revision? In other words, what characterises the flows of ideas from the local to the global in terms of altering organisational policy? Do the kinds of negotiations differ between religious organisations, such as churches, and religious development organisations, such as Muslim Aid or Christian Aid?

We encourage discussions about the ways in which policies on sexuality (or possibly reproductive health) are influenced by how organisations work, as well as the ways in which negotiations over policies on sexuality influence the workings of faith-based organisations. Of particular interest are the ways in which HIV/AIDS has changed the reproductive health programs and priorities of faith-based organisations.

Sexual networks

For three decades individual sexual behaviour has been portrayed as the main driver of the pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa, the world’s most severely affected region. Recent studies (e.g. Thornton 2008), however, have started to challenge this narrow focus and highlight the importance of analysing the shape of sexual networks to understand the way HIV (and other STDs) spreads throughout a population. An ecological approach to HIV/AIDS, which attempts to straddle the gap between the social and natural sciences, can bring to light the complex interactions and interdependencies between social and biological worlds and broaden our understanding of sex in which the role of ‘risk’, of individuals, and individual choice has been given too much attention. There are larger social structures—including those of sexual networks, kinship, family and household structure, formal and informal institutions and social networks—that determine overall trends of infection and that respond (or not) to its consequences.

This has far reaching implications for our study of AIDS, and of sexual health more broadly; sexual networks are the primary ‘object’ that must be understood in the investigations of the spread of STDs in any context. What are the factors that influence the shape of the sexual network in a specific location? How does religious discourse and practice affect attitudes towards and patterns of intimacy, sexual relationships, ideas of love, and reproductive goals and practices? What influence do transnational flows of ideas, values and people have on the ways these concepts and practices may change? Sexual networks are intimately linked to mobility; one may only think of the main ‘risk groups’ – long-distance truck drivers and prostitutes catering to their needs – identified as vectors of infection in the early days of the African AIDS crisis. Transnational connections add another dimension to the role of mobility and create new links between existing sexual networks. At the same time, HIV intervention programmes designed by global stakeholders and transnational advocacy networks influence and – perhaps to a lesser extent – are influenced by the local shaping of the disease. These processes are accompanied by flows of money to a heretofore unprecedented extent. What role do political, economic and religious considerations at the local, national and global levels play in the shaping of sexual networks?

 Finally, how can we apply systems-theoretical approaches to the study of sexual networks and reach at an ecological approach to AIDS and sex that takes into account the social nature of sexual relationships? While sexual ideology and individuals’ views on sexuality are usually stated in relatively obvious terms, it is much more difficult to obtain reliable information on sexual practice. If we understand sex as social action involving a small amount of people (most often a couple), which methodologies can help us to gain insights into the ways intimate relationships come about and are lived out? And how do we study the larger structures of sexual networks that arise from the invisible sexual connections between a large number of people?

 Views from PLHA: negotiating sexual life with the virus

25 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are living with the disease. How do they negotiate sexual and reproductive life with the virus? Having children is a central part of men’s and women’s lives, and often the only route to full adult status. How do HIV positive people cope with societal pressures and their own personal desire for offspring? Moreover, in the context of moral panic and condemnation of ‘promiscuity’ and ‘careless’ sex, how is sex for pleasure being re-negotiated, and how do attitudes towards sex more broadly change? Religious leaders dither between calls for restrictiveness and control, and more pragmatic, harm-reductionist approaches, while economic decline and crumbling public services force many to engage in transactional forms of sex. At the same time, the notion of ‘positive prevention’ is being promoted at the global level, despite criticisms of placing an unduly burden onto the shoulders of HIV positive people. Ultimately, who is responsible for curbing the spread of HIV? And how do transnational advocacy networks play a role in the local shaping of the disease?

 Nadine Beckmann

nadine_beckmann@gmx.de

 

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