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Day May 24, 2011

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:, Nadine Beckmann:, or Alessandro Gusman: 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


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