July 2013
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Day July 24, 2013


Dr.Besigye detained at Nagalama police in Bugerere

Dr.Besigye detained at Nagalama police in Bugerere

That is how the govt lost the debate. Just imagine if it had argued that rising prices are a global phenomenon. YKM said some sensible things at his press conference in April 2011. In the short run, there is not much the govt can credibly do. Core inflation which excludes food and energy prices is something the govt/BOU can do something about. I wish the opposition had zeroed in on excessive money supply induced inflation. Then BOU can act. That is something the bank can do even now.

How the govt lost the debate is mind boggling. It was wrong to accuse the organizers of 2011 walk to work of treason. And if I may ask what is happening to real Ugandans…… OK ordinary Ugandans who normally walk to work? For them it is the norm rather than the exception.

YKM was poorly advised. Minister Matsiko was outright arrogant and stupid in her response. He should have put his economic team to task to explain core inflation because food and energy prices are not entirely a local or mad made inflation. Nature may have contributed to food shortages as Ugandans spent 2 full years politicking. There is no evidence as YKM tried to argue that rains failed. What failed was the politicians who wasted people’s valuable time on politics. That is the opportunity cost of too much politicking.

Let BOU release the money supply numbers for the last 6 months or so. That is where the real problem lies. Surely it cannot be wage inflation given the high unemployment in that country where workers have no voice.

It was the political decision to print money before the 2011 elections to win at all cost that has pushed the country to the edge. Even the poor farmers have no voice since the crops -their collective voice-was destroyed.

I take the position that YKM ordered the IGP to use such excessive force because he ordered BOU to print money-money that was found in minister Janet Mukwaya’s car during the 2011 presidential elections. The issue is about core inflation. How I wish our friends in the opposition had been forceful in their articulation. Neither side mastered the facts which is a shame

Let our friends in the media ask more questions about core inflation. The Governor of BOU should account because BOU is the guilty party.


Why can’t MPs change the Assembly Law? It Is Always Besigye Vs The Police Act Sec 33….Unfortunately!

Dr.Besigye in a room after being tear gassed by Robert Arinaitwe in 2011

Dr.Besigye in a room after being tear gassed by Robert Arinaitwe in 2011

”Any assembly or procession of three or more persons which neglects or refuses to obey any order for immediate dispersal given under section 33 shall be deemed to be an unlawful assembly within the meaning of section 65 of the Penal Code Act.”

”…………Where an assembly is convened or procession formed in contravention of a prohibition under section 32, the inspector general or officer in charge of police may require the assembly to cease to be held or the procession to be stopped and may order the immediate dispersal of that assembly or procession.”

Besigye & co are making a shoddy shot at taking charge of dishing out patronage. They want power. We all need to be honest with ourselves and face that fact and forget about the nonsense of walking to work etc. Over 90% of Ugandans have always walked to work. Where was he? The pseudo-opposition’s attempt to take power is borne out of opportunism and they are only lucky that they will actually not succeed! If they succeeded, they would as soon learn the bitter lesson that opportunism never pays.

Besigye wants power but he needs to help himself by cooling down, and making a proper calculation of how he hopes to achieve that end. That business of telling us that he wants to die for the country is childish. He is not supposed to die for the country. He is supposed to live for the country.

Anyhow, the fact is that the whole all the minuscule political class of Uganda are losing the debate collectively. And Dr Besigye should make no mistake: if there is going to be a regime change in Uganda, he will be one of those to be uprooted. He is part and parcel of the regime. So is Mao…etc.

Let me be clear on this one: Dr Besigye is not an ordinary Ugandan. Let us call off that tired litany of so-called ordinary Ugandans having freedoms to walk to work. I will repeat this: more than 90% of Ugandans walk to work daily, and they have done so from time immemorial. Where has Dr Besigye been? Why now? Is he and others, changing his life style? Yes, he has the right, liberty, freedom etc. to locomote himself in anyway he wishes to the place where he works. Does he have to announce publicly that he is going to locomote himself on foot to work?

Do all those peasants in your Bulemezi, Kyaggwe and everywhere else announce that they are going to w2w? “Eeeeeeeh, Banaffe basebbo nabanyabo, abako na’bimikwano abe’Kifunfugu, Kikubanimba ne’Butuntumula; enkya kumakya ngenda kunoga fenne na’doodo, n’okuyunja kumayuuni ga bwayise. Eeeeh! Mulete kamela na vwidiyo. Obugalo.” Do they make such public announcements? Liberties, freedom? You people overdo those clichés into meaninglessness.twat

The point here is, that Dr Besigye is not your Mukasa, Kiwanuka or Musoke. If today, he announced that at 1400 Hrs tomorrow he will go to defaecate in the public toilets at the taxi park, oh yes, to defaecate; that will be a political event, especially if he invites the press and all that. Cameramen will be there, BBC will be there, NBC will be there etc. There will be a big crowd, and there will be concerns over crowd/looter control. Most likely the public authority will firmly and unwaveringly advise him to go and dump his night soil elsewhere, and preferably, in a more discrete manner. Like it or not. What more liberty is one entitled to than the liberty to heed nature’s call? But at the same time, don’t you see it being a political issue?

If Dr Besigye thinks that he has exhausted all avenues and thinks that he will confront the system while at the same time keeping himself within its domain of oversight then he has to be ready to contend with what that means, and to do so with dignity. There are several choices here, and a certain man summed them up in a book title: Exit, Voice or Loyalty….was it Albert Hirshman? All those choices go not only with rights, but also with duties and responsibilities. It is amazing also how some of you only emphasize rights.

Recall that YK Museveni opted for exit in the 1980s (and Besigye followed him!) and he faced up to all the demands of the choice he made, and I think he acquitted himself with dignity, without ever placing himself in situations where he had to squirm, scream or screech, like has become Dr Besigye’s deplorable hobby. Y.K. Museveni did not straddle the world of exit and voice, which is what Dr Besigye is doing now. Besigye needs to make up his mind, either to exit, and exit properly, or opt for voice and do so according to the rules; or be loyal and do so in whatever mode he chooses, sycophancy inclusive. Short of that, he will tire himself out, bore the public and de-spirit his admirers, for all the excuses they have for admiring him.

What is amazing are the assertions by many here that it is not a crime to go to work. The fact is that, so-called w2w is a (blind) shot by Dr Besigye at the country’s presidency. No amount of obfuscation will remove that fact. Blind shot: why? I am sure by now he may have realised that he will not easily get the numbers to make him achieve his ambitions. Just a band of police personnel were able to extract him from Kasangati with so much ease. No mobs (WBK keeps referring to “opposition mobs”) came to his rescue. For reasons we have already belaboured on this UAH forum, those mobs shall not be forthcoming….that is why Mao scattered himself to many miles away in the hamlets of his ethnic base.

Dr Besigye vowed that on failing to get to the presidency through electoral means he was going to use the Egypt approach. We have already ploughed that field of the non-viability of Egypt/Tunisia in Uganda and the quasi-opposition will only wait to learn that lesson in the course of time. As we stated here, those Egyptians that he is trying to emulate are 84 Million. They all live in 5% of the territory of that country. They are all there, physically available for mass action. Those conditions cannot be replicated in your Kampala of 1.2 million individuals during the day and 957,436 drunken souls during the night!

Besides, anyway, the Egyptian/Tunisian process was acephalous. It had no monarch in charge of it like our opposition is trying to be in charge here in Uganda. When El Barasomething tried to impose himself on the Egyptian uprising, he was soon to be stalemated into irrelevance….do you hear about him any more? He was trying to do a Besigye/Mao or whoever else. So, so, so: wrong-headed, wrong tactics, wrong era, wrong mentality….wrong alpha to zulu, Dr Besigye et al

And by the way, what would have been so wrong with asking for permission from police for those demonstrations? Why not humour them with just a bluff? Why couldn’t Besigye make a formal appeal against the results of the elections? Is that not what they call fighting a just war?….first exhausting, and being seen to first exhaust all other avenues before you reach for extraordinary avenues?

A fisherman walks to work

A fisherman walks to work

And look here: when someone comes to arrest you, why not have it done in a manner that leaves you with dignity? Why scream and kick like a spoilt brat, and let yourself be bundled on to a wheel barrow like a rabid canine? They teach them as officers that, when push comes to shove and military police comes for you, do not cause them to touch you. Dignity! For goodness’ sake, when you are an officer, you never allow the Lance corporal Ottos who have been sent to arrest you to touch you, or to get even within an inch of you. You dignify yourself by simply following the little orders they give you, especially when you know that, lazima, they have to take you along. Why scream? Even the internationals who are meant to be the consumers of the Doctor’s antics must be having their own doubts by now.

Screaming, screeching and squirming Besigye style is the worst form of self-humiliation. A future president makes no scene of himself like that. An officer, one who wants to be a Commander-in-Chief, one who wants to be a deploying officer of Generals, does not scream and kick like a toddler being forced to go to sleep without supper! Hi nimarufuku! It is sacrilege; abomination of all abominations! The way Besigye screams and kicks is a sordid manifestation of the extent to which he lost it long ago! If he cannot be in charge of himself in those little circuses, how will he be in charge of himself when the country is threatened with being overrun?

Lance Corporal (Rtd) Patrick Otto

Tahrir Square innovated a new politics-Prof Mamdani on “Jasmine” Revolutions

‘Walk to Work’ in a historical light – Mamdani

On Thursday, Prof. Mahmood Mamdani, the director of the Makerere Institute of Social Research at the university, made a passionate presentation at the Rotary International District Conference in Munyonyo. We bring you a full text of the speech;

Those of you who come from outside may have heard of a novel form of political protest in Uganda, called ‘Walk to Work’. Both the opposition that has taken to walking and government that is determined to get them to stop walking are driven by the memory of a single event.

The memory of Tahrir Square feeds opposition hopes and fuels government fears. For many in the opposition, Egypt has come to signify the promised land around the proverbial corner. For many in government, Egypt spells a fundamental challenge to power, one that must be resisted, whatever the cost.

Matters have reached a point where even the hint of protest evokes maximum reaction from government. So much so that a government, which only a few weeks ago came to power with an overwhelming majority, today appears to lack not only flexibility but also an exit strategy.

For civilians, supporters and skeptics alike, the sight of military resources deployed to maintain civil order in the streets, has come to blur the line between civil police and military forces as those in power insist on treating even the simplest of civil protest as if it were an armed rebellion.

If government is losing coherence and unity that it displayed during the elections, the opposition is beginning to find at least a semblance of unity and vision that had evaded it during election season.

If you keep in mind that many in this opposition, many of those who had been in the last Parliament, were complicit in every major turn for the worse when it comes to governance, then you marvel at the nature of this shift.

How can it be that some of the same opposition that only yesterday saw Parliament as passport to patronage and licence to pillage, are discovering resolve and moral courage even though there is no election in sight and the times are, if anything, hard? This single thought is the source of contradictory popular notions, both skepticism and optimism, when it comes to politics.

My purpose today is neither to celebrate the opposition nor to demonise the government. I want to talk about the memory that seems to be driving many in the opposition and haunting many in government. That is the memory of Tahrir Square. It is not too much of an exaggeration to say that the great Egyptian revolution began in Tunis. Where will it end? A decade from now, will we think of it as a local, a continental or a global event? How should we understand its significance today?

Historians admit that there is no single objective account of any event. The account depends, in part, on the location of the observer. For many in Europe, the events in Tunis and Cairo were evidence that the colour revolutions that began in East Europe with the fall of the Soviet Union are finally spreading beyond the region.

In East Africa, there was a flurry of discussion after Tahrir Square, mainly in the press. Many asked whether the Egyptian revolution will spread South of the Sahara. And they responded, without a second thought: No! Why not? Because, media pundits said, sub-Saharan societies are so divided by ethnicity, so torn apart by tribalism, that none can achieve the degree of unity necessary to confront political power successfully.

This response makes little sense to me. For this answer resembles a caricature. Nowhere in the history of successful struggles will you find a people united in advance of the movement. For the simple reason that one of the achievements of a successful movement is unity. Unity is forged through struggle.

To make this point, and a few others, I want to look at the democratic revolution in Egypt in the context of a longer history, a history of democratic struggle on this continent. I want to begin with an event that occurred more than three decades ago in South Africa.

I am thinking of the Soweto uprising of 1976, which followed the formation of independent trade unions in Durban in 1973. Together these two developments inaugurated a new era in the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa.

Soweto was a youthful uprising. In an era when adults had come to believe that meaningful change could only come through armed struggle, Soweto pioneered an alternative mode of struggle.

This new mode of struggle substituted the notion of armed struggle with that of popular struggle. It stopped thinking of struggle as something waged by professional fighters, guerrillas, with the people cheering from the stands, but as a movement with ordinary people as its key participants. The potential of popular struggle lay in sheer numbers, guided by a new imagination and new methods of struggle.

The significance of Soweto was two-fold. First, as I have already said, it replaced belief in power of arms with the discovery of a greater power, that of a people organised in the face of oppression.
Second, Soweto forged a new unity – a wider unity. Apartheid rule had split South African society into so many races (whites, Indians, Coloureds) and so many tribes (Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Venda and so on) by putting each under a separate set of laws, so that even when they organised to reform or remove the law in question, they did so separately. In this context came a new person, Steve Biko, a visionary leader at the helm of a new movement, Black Consciousness Movement.

Biko’s message undermined apartheid statecraft. Black is not a colour, said Biko. Black is an experience. If you are oppressed, you are Black. This was a revolutionary message – why?

ANC had spoken of non-racialism as early as the Freedom Charter in the mid-50s. But ANC’s non-racialism only touched the political elite. Individual White and Indian and Coloured leaders had joined the ANC as individuals. But ordinary people remained confined and trapped by a political perspective hemmed in narrow racial or tribal boundaries. Biko forged a vision with the potential to cut through these boundaries.

Around that same time, another event occurred. It too signaled a fresh opening. This was the Palestinian Intifada. What is known as the First Intifada had a Soweto-like potential. Like the children of Soweto, Palestinian children too dared to face bullets with no more than stones. Faced with feuding liberation movements, each claiming to be a sole representative of the oppressed, the youth of the Intifada called for a wider unity.

Even though the Egyptian Revolution has come more than three decades after Soweto, it evokes the memory of Soweto in a powerful way. This is for at least two reasons.

Embracing violence?

First, like 1976 Soweto, Tahrir Square in 2011 too shed a generation’s romance with violence. The generation of Nasser and after had embraced violence as key to fundamental change in politics and society. This tendency was secular at the outset.

The more Nasser turned to suppressing the opposition and justifying it in the language of secular nationalism, the more the opposition began to speak in a religious idiom. The most important political tendency calling for a surgical break with the past now spoke the language of radical Islam. Its main representative in Egypt was Said Qutb. I became interested in radical Islam after 9/11, which is when I read Sayyid Qutb’s most important book, Signposts. It reminded me of the grammer of radical politics at the University of Dar es Salaam where I was a lecturer in the 1970s.

Sayyid Qutb says in the introduction to Signposts that he wrote the book for an Islamist vanguard; I thought I was reading a version of Lenin’s What is to be Done.

Sayyid Qutb’s main argument in the text is that you must make a distinction between friends and enemies, because with friends you use persuasion and with enemies you use force. I thought I was reading Mao Zedong On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Amongst the People.

I asked myself: how should I understand Sayyid Qutb? As part of a linear tradition called political Islam? Is the history of thought best understood inside containers labelled civilisations; one Islamic, another Hindu, another Confucian, another Christian, or, alternately, one European, another Asian, yet another African?

Was not Sayyid Qutb’s embrace of political violence in line with a growing embrace of armed struggle in movements of national liberation in the ‘50s and ‘60s? Was not the key assumption that armed struggle is not only the most effective form of struggle but also the only genuine mode of struggle?

The more I read of Sayyid Qutb’s distinction between Friend and Enemy, that you use violence to deal with an enemy and reason to persuade a friend, the more I realized that I had to understand Sayyid Qutb as part of his times.

No doubt, like the rest of us, Sayyid Qutb was involved in multiple conversations: he was involved in multiple debates, not only with Islamic intellectuals, whether contemporary or of previous generations, but also with contending intellectuals inspired by other modes of political thought.

And the main competition then was Marxism-Leninism, a militantly secular ideology which influenced both Qutb’s language and his methods of organisation and struggle. The first significance of Tahrir Square was that it shed the mark of Syed Qutb and the romance with revolutionary violence.

The second resemblance between Soweto and Tahrir Square was on the question of unity. Just as the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa had uncritically reproduced the division between races and tribes institutionalised in state practices, so too had the division between religions become a part of the convention of mainstream politics in Egypt.

Tahrir Square innovated a new politics. It shed the language of religion in politics but it did so without embracing a militant secularism that would totally outlaw religion in the public sphere. It thus called for a broader tolerance of cultural identities in the public sphere, one that would include both secular and religious tendencies. The new contract was that to participate in the public sphere, you must practice an inclusive politics with respect to others.

This was a move away from inscribing religious identity in politics, away from turning religious identity into a basis of political factionalism and sectarian violence. In the days before Tahrir Square, sectarian violence was often initiated by those in power, but without a convincing anti-dote, it also tended to rip through society. You only have to think of the violence against the Coptic minority in the weeks before the historic assembly in Tahrir Square.

Soweto forced many people internationally to rethink their notions of Africa and African. The convention before Soweto was to assume that violence was second nature with Africans and that Africans were incapable of living together peacefully.

Before Tahrir Square, and particularly after 9/11, official discourse and media representations in the West were driven by the assumption that Arabs are genetically predisposed to violence and to discrimination against anyone different. But in Tahrir Square, generations and genders, milled and marched as we say in Kiswahili, bega kwa bega. So did people belonging to different religious denominations.

What can we learn from this?

New ideas create the basis of new unities and new methods of struggle. The tendency for power is to seek to politicise cultural differences in society and then to claim that this division is only natural. To be successful, a new politics needs to offer an anti-dote, an alternative practice that unites those divided by prevailing modes of governance.

Before and after Soweto, Steve Biko insisted that blackness was not part of biology but a political experience. In so doing, he created the ideological basis for a new unity, an anti-racist unity.
I do not know of a counterpart to Steve Biko in Tahrir Square. May be there was not one but many Bikos in Egypt. But I do believe that Tahrir Square has come to symbolise the basis for a new unity, one that consciously seeks to undermine the practice of religious sectarianism.

In Uganda today, prevailing governance seeks to divide the population by politicising ethnicity. The motto is: one tribe, one district. Inside the district, an administrative tribalism divides the bafuruki from those designated as indigenous to the district. As a mode of governance, tribalism institutionalises offical discrimination against some citizens and in favour of others.

New ideas nurture new practices. Given time, even the most revolutionary idea can turn into a routine divorced of meaning. Think of how we have managed to reduce the practice of democracy to routine rituals.

The remarkable thing about the events we know as ‘Walk to Work’ is that they have followed on the heels of a national election whose results were anything if not decisive. Whatever its outcome, ‘Walk to work’ must make us rethink the practice of democracy in Uganda.

For a start, one is struck by the spread of cynicism among both rulers and ruled. More and more in the population thinks of elections not as the time to make meaningful choices but as a time to extract dues from politicians who are unlikely to be sighted until the next election season!

Similarly, more and more in the political class are coming to think of elections as a managed exercise where the outcome is decided not by who votes but by who oversees the counting of votes. What does it say about contemporary democracy that even an election where those in power can win support of a vast majority of people, over 90% in Egypt and over two-thirds in Uganda, does not give you any idea of the level of dissatisfaction among the electorate?

Consider one remarkable fact. In spite of the growth of universities and think tanks worldwide, researchers and consultants have been unable to forecast most major event in contemporary history.

Why? This was true of Soweto 1976, it was true of the fall of the Soviet Union and it was true of the Egyptian revolution. What does it say about the state of our knowledge that we can foretell a natural catastrophe – an earthquake, even a tsunami – but not a political shift? The rule seems to be: the bigger the shift, the less likely is the chance of it being foretold.

I think this is so for one reason. Big shifts in social and political life require an act of the imagination. They require a break from routine, a departure from convention. That is why social science, which is focused on the study of routine, of institutional and repetitive behaviour, is unable to forecast big events.
Herein lies the challenge for Uganda’s political class.

No matter how small the numbers involved in the developments we know as ‘Walk to Work’, there is no denying its sheer intellectual brilliance. That brilliance lies in its simplicity, in its ability to confer on the simplest of human activities, walking, a major political significance: the capacity to say no.

The irony is that many in the opposition, and perhaps just as many in government, seem to think of ‘Walk to Work’ as a shortcut to power, which it is unlikely to be. The real significance of ‘Walk to Work’ is that it has broken the hold of routine. In doing so, it presents us with a challenge. That challenge is to come up with a new language of politics, a new mode of organization, and a new mode of governance.
From this vantage point, I would like to offer a few reflections by way of conclusion.

We should resist the temptation to think of Tahrir Square – as Soweto before it – as a road map. Rather, let us think of Egypt as a vision, a democratic vision, as both event and process. Remember that it took nearly two decades for the Soweto Uprising to deliver a democratic fruit in South Africa. When it comes to Egypt, the democratic revolution has just begun. None knows how long it will take to institutionalise its fruit.

Today, we need to acknowledge that Tahrir Square has not led to a revolution, but to a reform. And that is not a bad thing. The lesson of Egypt – unlike that of Libya next door – is the moral force of non-violence. Unlike violence, non-violence does not just resist and exclude; it also embraces and includes, thereby opening up new possibilities of reform, possibilities that seemed unimaginable only yesterday.

The challenge before the Ugandan political class today is not to close ranks for a final struggle, as it is habitually prone to doing. The real challenge is to forge possibilities for a new politics, on the basis of new associations and new imaginations. The real challenge is not revolution but reform. The verdict is still out whether it is government or opposition that will take the lead and provide the initiative.


I do recall that we had a mini-debate here on the forum on whether it was likely that Tunisia would be replicated in Uganda. I was not of that view and listed a handful of points that were later picked on/plagiarised by one Sabiiti Mutengesa without even acknowledgement. But that does not bother me. Since the gentleman plagiarised me, I think I have the right to respond to criticisms that his article may attract.

Professor Mamdani refers somewhere to media pundits and others “thoughtlessly” rejecting the possibility of a Tunisia-like uprising in SS Africa. He quotes them as implying that “…sub-Saharan societies are so divided by ethnicity, so torn apart by tribalism, that none can achieve the degree of unity necessary to confront political power successfully”.

Then he goes ahead to observe that, “This response makes little sense to me. For this answer resembles a caricature. Nowhere in the history of successful struggles will you find a people united in advance of the movement. For the simple reason that one of the achievements of a successful movement is unity. Unity is forged through struggle.”

Now, by sliding from SS African societies being “….so divided by ethnicity, so torn apart by tribalism..” to arguments about lack of unity, Mamdani is attempting to lose us in rhetoric which I think we need to deconstruct.

If at all Mutengesa made reference to ethnic divisions, he was, I think not referring to mere lack of unity. Ethnic/tribal cleavages are a symptom of absence of socio-political integration in the sense of the basic forging of national communities. It is a more crucial variable than mere unity of social movements, unless Mamdani may want to imply that nations are “social movements”. Mutengesa is free to correct me if he thinks I am putting words in his mouth, and if indeed he is a member of this forum.

If we mix “lack of unity” with “absence of socio-political integration” like Professor Mamdani is doing, we face the risk of conflating arithmetic with integral calculus. UPC and FDC can lack unity as organisations. Baganda and Acholi will lack horizontal integration as communities. I think that man who plagiarised me, whatever, Mutengesa, was referring to the latter, yet Mamdani is talking about the former, but mistakenly implying that it is the same thing as the latter. That is the extent to which he misses the point, and the sense in which he trivialises the uphill task Sub-Saharan Africans face in learning to live with each other, let alone putting up with their rulers.

Lance Corporal (Rtd) Patrick Otto

Womenfolk have so seriously embraced oppression that to them, love by their husbands means being physically assaulted

violenceYou people,

The article below tells much of the story about the structural basis of illiberalism in many of our medieval societies. Womenfolk have so seriously embraced oppression that to them, love by their husbands means being physically assaulted. But anyhow, if you are launched into adulthood through the pain of being genitally mutilated (with all the life-long trauma that it will occasion), what other pain will you not tolerate? Which makes me wonder why a primitive society that still tolerates the structural violence of Female Genital Mutilation(FGM) and wife beating should have any claim to make to being ruled democratically. Silly pretense!

As the article below shows, more women in Uganda find wife beating more acceptable than men. “Eeeeeh, nze mze nze bannage omwami wange mwagala nnyo kubanga ankuba kiboko”. Quite certainly if those same women were ‘liberated’, they would want to switch roles, and become husband beaters.violence2

And let me come to rule you with the intention of being democratic, and I catch your mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, nieces and house helpers all praising the whip-cracking male, I will immediately become a dictator. I will as soon learn that ruling you democratically is like strapping wings on a caterpillar with the hope that it will fly! If the foundation for romantic love for husbands is their ability to whip you, why shouldn’t the policeman also whip you? If being whipped is the building block for your love of your sons’ father, why shouldn’t your sons relish being kiboko squadsmen? If your husband furnishes you with more spanking than perfume, why shouldn’t teargas become a standard air freshener? Munziremu! Answer me!

That is the same social milieu that sustains child sacrificing with the hope of getting enlisted on the stock exchange; pastor-defile-flock idiocy; witchcraft loving, jigger-hosting, goat-mounting, offspring-raping imbecility; teacher-impregnate-pupil cerebral lobotomy; prostrating for some other piece of Homo Sapiens because we think he was born with two umbilical cords……and all other pre-enlightenment primitivism which many deluded a soul wants to sugarcoat with institutions and rituals of modernity.

I say, you will need more despots for the next many decades to save you from yourselves before you can hope to sustain the outward manifestations of liberalism. If, and only if you are lucky, you will get enlightened despots. If not, you will get the un-enlightened ones because you surely deserve them. They will be you mirror image.violence3

And didn’t Alexis de Tacquiville supply the view that in primitive societies (like Uganda), “…every time that an attempt is made to do away with absolutism the most that could be done is to graft the head of liberty onto a servile body”? But Alexis de Tocquiville to UAH! Aaaah! Mbivuddeko!

Lance Corporal (Rtd) Patrick Otto


The New Vision – Uganda’s Leading Website
Wife-beating is [un]acceptable
Publication date: Wednesday, 27th April, 2011
By Dora Byamukama

ACCORDING to the World’s Women and Girls 2011 Data Sheet, Uganda records the highest percentage of women internationally who agree that wife-beating is acceptable if a wife argues with her husband. This state of affairs is totally unacceptable.

Sadly more women than men find wife-beating acceptable! One wonders why this is so. India was ranked second with 30% and Ghana came third at 21%.

In the East African region Ugandan women are considered gentle and submissive. Whether this is a positive or negative trait is a subject for debate. This notwithstanding, when gentility and submission have the potential to contribute to self-hate then this attitude calls for change. Change can only be effective when the causes are known otherwise whatever action is taken may be like mopping a wet floor, when the tap is left open.

Causes of acceptance of violence against women are several. These are basically beliefs and practices that treat women as inferior human beings and thus undermine their self-esteem. These beliefs and practices perpetuate an attitude that makes men and women believe that women are inferior and less intelligent—thus the need to punish them for arguing with their husbands.

Beliefs and practices permeate the human soul to the extent that women who are likely to be harmed by such a negative attitude internalize it and thus not only accept the degradation but also pass on the same to their children over time.

It is, therefore, not uncommon for a woman to be told to endure violence in a marriage by her mother on the basis that this is the wear and tear of marriage. While growing up, I heard of a story of a woman who reported such violence several times to her parents who kept sending her back to the marriage until their daughter was sent back to them in a coffin! In fact the coffins were two because the woman had been eight months pregnant.

Beliefs and practices that wife-beating is acceptable are rooted in several factors which include religion, culture, social pressure as a result of war, poverty and alcoholism. Most religions emphasise that women are inferior to men. Christianity, however, categorically states that all human beings are made in the image of God.

When some religions read texts to support oppression of women out of context then the resultant effect is to misinterpret and misapply the very same religion that is fundamentally based on respecting the person created in the creator’s very image.

Religion shapes attitudes fundamentally because it is personal and the frequency with which one is exposed to it on a daily and weekly basis ensures that the belief is sustained and that is enforced through social pressure.

Culture is another aspect that shapes attitude that may promote women’s tolerance to wife-beating. Culture is a form of religion because it dictates a person’s way of life, and shapes what is socially acceptable. In fact most cultures do not condone wife-beating but because domestic matters are considered private, this privacy is abused and used to commit crimes.

Culture is dynamic and is also shaped and influenced by globalization through internet interaction, videos and films. Globalization has introduced what is termed as modern culture, which has large doses of violence and in some instances is spiced with witchcraft. One such good example is the growing consumption of Nigerian films in Uganda .

When one is exposed to such films over and over again, the resultant effect is that they will copy and put into practice what they see.

The World’s Women and Girls Data Sheet also indicates that 31% of Ugandan women and 19% of Ugandan men said that it is acceptable for a man to beat his wife if she refuses to have sex with him. This indeed is an interesting and deeply disturbing finding. The question is, if after a beating the woman agrees to sex, does it make the man feel any better?

Apart from wife-beating being a human right abuse and a crime it also has the potential to spread HIV/AIDS and other venereal diseases.

In most cases when one talks about wife-beating people imagine that it is a mere slap. A mere slap has the potential to cause the destruction of an eye. More importantly no one has capacity to pre-determine the kind of beating that may be meted on a woman in any given circumstance.

The anger of a spouse can lead to grievous harm and even murder! Wife-beating also has the potential to turn the victim into a violent person with the potential to avenge the torture any time.

Uganda has set the trend in the East African region for the empowerment of women significantly since the NRM came to power in 1986. The law is clear. Wife-beating is a crime prohibited by the Constitution, the Penal Code Act and the Domestic Violence Act. All people have a right to freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The fact that less men than women find wife beating acceptable is cause to celebrate. However, more work needs to be done in order to make wife beating totally unacceptable by religious and cultural leaders and the media.

Champions that promote and practise respect for the dignity of the person are needed at all levels of society—beginning with you.

This article can be found on-line at: http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/20/753278

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