The Solution to Uganda’s (Africa’s?) Democratic Deficit Reply

Political commentators are tiptoeing around the solution to the democratic deficit in Uganda and most of sub-Saharan Africa – understandably so since it is politically incorrect to admit what needs to be done.

Until a person is informed well enough, it is dangerous to give him/her responsibility for anyone else, much less him/herself. It is why parents are expected to look after their children in the home till the age of 18 or so. Kids are kids and their parents must make decisions for them, only gradually relenting as their charges grow older, else you have bedlam in the household.

So it must be with the African voting masses. It is, for instance, incongruous that someone as knowledgeable, educated, well-traveled and intelligent as me has his leaders chosen by illiterate, uniformed, non-tax-paying rural dwellers simply because they make up 70% of the voting bloc. But that 70% is all Uganda’s cynical politicians have to appeal to with a bar of soap, a poorly constructed dirt road, pretense at education in the form of Universal Primary Education (a potentially freeing but poorly executed, half-baked education initiative in Uganda that provides unsound education for everyone who uses it) and a catchy jingle via text messaging.

Please note that my rant excludes rural dwellers that make a decent living from farming etc, and pay taxes.

City and town dwellers, blue-collar, middle and upper class people (20-30% of Uganda’s voting population) pay the nation’s taxes and so we should be the ones to choose who the leader of the country is. Villagers spend on average barely 1/10 of 1% of what we do on anything, meaning that even their consumption levels are inconsequential to Uganda’s economy. In addition, villagers usually depend on us for their own sustenance through the remittances we send them because their subsistence maize crop has failed, their 10th kid’s dysentery is playing up, or the 35-year-old son who’s never put in a decent day’s work in his life is days away from the grave due to his chronic alcoholism.

The 70% are thus comparatively irrelevant to the productive sector of Uganda’s economy. Yet they hold the numerical advantage, and their ignorance makes them easy targets to manipulate by tired, cynical, corrupt, megalomaniacal politicians, and so they continue voting back in miscreants and incompetents on account of receiving a tin of paraffin and a tawdry tee-shirt with a politician’s mug shot on it.

It is an utter disgrace that my informed intellect and tax-paying clout is deemed to be at par at the ballot box with the parasitic masses who contribute nothing to the national coffers. Until all Ugandans are educated to the level that makes them informed enough, people like me should be given the vote to decide who the country’s president and parliamentarians should be. That would leave the masses with plenty of time to choose their village representatives (RDCs, LCIs etc) because those work at the level these people understand. Whoever wants to be able to vote at a higher level must get informed, get a trade and pay taxes.

David Bahati’s financial woes resolved!

Museveni has delivered Bahati's salvation where prayers failed!

In naming him minister, Museveni has delivered Bahati’s salvation where prayers failed!

Barely four months after he was elevated to State Minister, David Bahati, he of the infamous anti-gay bill, has had his financial woes resolved!

You might recall that yours truly told you that Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni had promoted Bahati in order to shut him up over his anti-gay boat-rocking.

Now, not only has Bahati been made to shut up, his financial problems have also been solved for him due to the fact that he is now a minister and can pull all sorts of strings to save his hide.

Congratulations Mr. Bahati. Now, how can I become a minister? I, too, am tired of this albatross of debt I grapple with on a daily basis.

Museveni receives David Bahati’s head on a platter 7

Anyone who underestimates the political astuteness of Uganda’s president, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, makes a critical mistake.

We have just seen the old man of Uganda’s politics, now in power for 29 years and counting, outmaneuver and put his erstwhile nemesis, David Bahati, exactly where he wants him – close, very close.

 

With divine intervention unable to help him with his crippling debts, Bahati has succumbed to Museveni's inducement

With divine intervention unable to dispel his financial incompetence, Bahati has succumbed to Museveni’s inducements

Museveni has just made the Honorable David Bahati, Member of Parliament for Ndorwa West, he of the infamous Bahati Nazi Anti-Homosexuality Bill that has caused the president so many sleepless nights over the last 5 years, Minister of State for Planning.

The title itself, or that Bahati will have nothing to do – no one in Museveni’s cabinet, other than his wife, has anything significant to do without the president’s express nod – is of no consequence. It is the thinking behind Bahati’s elevation that matters.

While he dabbled in evangelical zealotry and walked around Gung-ho waving a Nazi sex bill President Museveni has never made a secret of disliking, Hon. David Bahati was also racking up huge debts whose servicing left him virtually unable to feed himself past pay-day. Recently, Bahati’s financial woes culminated in ignominy when it was revealed in the press that he was being sued by a Savings Cooperative for 106m/= ($37,800).

Despite his pretense to personal purity and godliness, the whole world now knew that Bahati was nothing other than a profligate, hypocritical, two-bit, vulnerable politician with the financial mind of an ignoramus – just like all the rest of them. Most critically, Bahati was against the wall and sinking fast under a mountain of debt owed to all sorts of lenders, including loan sharks.

Which is how Museveni, who had no doubt been waiting for the chance to pick off his pontificating nemesis, finally found his opportunity.

Elevating Bahati to a minister, albeit one without a clear job description, should earn Bahati a higher salary and open doors to for him to use his office to conduct personally lucrative deals, thereby alleviating his indebtedness. Perhaps he might even become rich if he plays the cards that come with his ministerial office right.

But most critically, and this is the real reason for Museveni picking Bahati, being in cabinet means that one has to agree to collective cabinet responsibility. In Uganda, the president is the decision-maker in cabinet, with ministers just mere poodles to do as he wishes. Effectively the president is the cabinet. Yoweri Museveni thus has Bahati exactly where he wants him – unable to speak out against the president’s wishes the way he has done with his anti-gay bill. This is a case of bringing one’s friends close, and one’s enemies even closer.

Financial penury has finally driven David Bahati into Yoweri Museveni’s lair.

You are not going to see David Bahati running around, shooting his mouth off like a loose cannon on a rolling deck on anything the president doesn’t approve of as long as he remains Museveni’s minister.

As was the result when Speaker of the House, Rebecca Kadaga, picked up her political racquet to try and outhit Museveni, the President has cruelly exposed the incoming Minister of State for Planning.

Quiet please, players are ready. First set 6-1 to Mr. President. Second set Mr. Bahati to serve.

Uganda’s Parliament in move to legalize cunnilingus 1

Even in Uganda where one expects ineptitude in high places as a matter of course, the latest attempt by Uganda’s legislators to bring back the Bahati Nazi Anti-Gay Bill to the floor of the House through false pretenses is staggering in its incompetence.

Draft Bill

In what they may have thought was a crafty stratagem, they have retouched the language to call the bill “The prohibition of unnatural sexual practices …” But what they have ended up with is a cowardly, incondite piece of writing that fails muster just on basic English language interpretation.

Take their definition of a sexual organ: “sexual organ” means vagina or penis. (italics mine)

So far so good. But then the honorable legislators have defined a sexual act as “the penetration of the vagina, mouth or anus, however slight, of any person, by a sexual organ.”

Draft Bill 2So if you have heterosexual sex, and you penetrate the vagina, however slightly, with your tongue or fingers, what is that supposed to be given that the only two sexual organs the honorable members who have drawn up this latest draft bill have accommodated are the vagina and penis? Isn’t the inference here, therefore, that one is free to penetrate the vagina or perform oral sex on the penis with the tongue/fingers since they are not sexual organs and so to use them during sex cannot be defined as a sexual act?

Vulnerable? Ugandan musician Buchaman (real name Mark Bugembe)

Vulnerable? Ugandan musician Buchaman (real name Mark Bugembe) would be deemed incompetent to decide who he can have sex with because of his physical disability

It gets more abysmal when you consider their list of vulnerable persons with whom it will be illegal to have ‘unnatural sexual practices’ with: “vulnerable persons includes persons with disabilities, children and the elderly,” the Parliamentarians aver.

People with the following disabilities are about to be condemned to being too stupid to decide what kind of consensual sex they can have with other adults: anyone blind in one or both eyes, the hard of hearing and/or deaf, the physically disabled and so on and so forth.

This particular clause is especially offensive to yours truly for a very personal reason; I know of a physically disabled man, have known him since 1994, who is easily one of the most independent, single-minded, thoughtful, proud, principled people I have ever come across in my entire life. He possesses all his mental faculties and has proved again and again to any condescending able-bodied person around that he doesn’t need charity or pity. Uganda’s Parliamentarians, however, would tar him with the scarlet letter of “vulnerable persons.”

The legislators try to hide their Nazi tendencies but trip themselves with the clause that seeks to remove sexual consent from adults. In a cowardly attempt to hide their real intent – legislating against homosexuality – they do not mention that word once in their 5-page draft. It’s a dud of a tactic that goes down like a lead balloon – showing the entire effort up for the tawdry, backward-looking, illiterate, half-baked draft that doesn’t deserve the time yours truly has spent on it already.

But this is Uganda where to expect even mere mediocrity from our lawmakers is asking for too much.

Museveni lays money trap for Uganda’s Parliament 2

Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, has laid out his stall in yet another bid to defeat Uganda’s Parliament over the Anti Homosexuality Bill (AHB).

Having bullied Uganda’s lawmakers in 2010 and succeeded only long enough for Canada’s John Baird to upend his efforts in 2012, Museveni has returned to the tried and tested antidote to politicians who refuse to tow his preferred line.

Money, money, money
Must be funny
In the rich man’s world
Money, money, money
Always sunny
In the rich man’s world
Aha-ahaaa
All the things I could do
If I had a little money
It’s a rich man’s world (ABBA)

His rambling argument for trying to re-position the anti-gay debate is as confused as it is confusing but it doesn’t really matter. Amidst the contradictions and obfuscations, the president has wielded the weapon he has  used successfully to quieten his restive Parliamentary caucus in the past:

Money.

With Uganda’s Parliamentary elections about 15 months away, Museveni knows that a of Members of Parliament are desperately broke, with their necks in the noose for millions of shillings they owe to loan sharks. They thus have no money to run their campaigns. Some of those loan sharks have the president on speed dial, and vice versa. It stands to reason that the president has a Mikado-like list of members of parliament (MPs) who are hanging on by their fingernails on account of crippling loans they owe to voracious money lenders.  He also knows that the last election campaign was funded by donor money, most of it used to prop up his National Resistance Movement (NRM) campaign.

It is manufacturing and trade that has completely transformed countries like South Korea, China, India, Mauritius, in just one generation. This is what the NRM meant when, in point No 5 of our 10-Point Programme, we were talking of “building an integrated, independent and self-sustaining economy”. We cannot do that without trade. Those countries that neglect that fail. (Museveni)

The 2016 election will also need money, billions of it. The President doesn’t need to tell his caucus that this money has traditionally come from America and Europe – precisely the places where the backlash against the AHB have been strongest.

IMAG1024_1By bringing China and the emerging Asian tigers into the equation, he is telling his MPs that they have to make a choice. China will fund infrastructural projects but is not in the habit of handing out money that they know is easily fungible to also fund political campaigns. America and Europe, however, have a rich history of doing exactly that. Moralize on bedroom matters at the expense of Uganda’s economy. The sting in the tail is that any MP willing to make that argument must do so in the forthcoming elections without the president’s (donor) support.

It worked in 2010, with the 2011 polls looming. Parliament passed the bill in 2013 when there was nothing for them to lose. Now there is – re-election in 2016 which, without Museveni, means certain political death for many MPs in Uganda. Even if so many parliamentarians weren’t financially against the wall, they need the president’s patronage to get re-elected since, even after 30 years, he is still the biggest decisive element in Uganda’s politics.

Museveni is saying he is the key to the overflowing largess needed to help return MPs to their seats. Back me on this or risk being unable to have funding for your election campaigns.

It is now with all of us following the Court ruling. What is the way forward? (Yoweri Museveni)

Indeed it is now up to the ruling NRM parliamentary caucus. They can continue trying to cut off their noses to spite their faces, or they can fall  behind the president and abandon their efforts to return the AHB to Parliament, thereby improving their chances of financing their re-election.

These LGBT Americans are totally tone deaf! 5

If there is anything you eventually learn about far left or right leaning ideologues, it is that there is little point in talking to them. They have already made up their minds that they are correct, it is their God-given will to save the world, and no amount of talk will sway them from their divine mission.

And so it is, it seems, with the brigade of condescending American LGBT do-gooders who have elected themselves to fight Uganda’s (and Africa’s) gay battles whether we want them to or not.

It doesn’t matter if it is a gay African activist, someone on the ground living the gay life or angels from heaven blowing bugles beseeching them to shelve their cordite. These people will act as they please, damn it.

Their latest reckless salvo is aimed at Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni who is due in Texas around now. Reports suggest that his host hotel has canceled his reservation “over gay rights abuses.”

Really? Which gay rights abuses do they attribute to Yoweri Museveni, one would like to ask these [usually faceless] people? This gay man lives in Uganda and really doesn’t know of any.

To aim this sort of action at Uganda’s Museveni is pointless, militantly foolish, over-the-top and, totally counter-productive since, whether you believe it or not and his motivations notwithstanding, Museveni has been a godsend to the gay community in Uganda over the past 4 or so years. For starters, Museveni did NOT pass the anti-gay bill, Parliament did! Neither did he re-introduce it in Parliament after the courts annulled it!

This sort of ill-advised, patronizing, unilateral action (I bet you hard cash the gay community in Uganda didn’t sanction it) will simply play into the cynical politics of Uganda and Museveni can return home to show how ‘colonial’ Americans disrespected him over gays in Uganda, something the anti-gay chorus in Uganda will lap up as they strain at the lead in trying to pass the anti-gay bill again. This is thus a replay of the needless interference that Canada’s John Baird indulged in in 2012 which, likely, led to the signing of the bill after a four year chill.

There is thus nothing for it but for one to ask the Dallas Voice which seems to have started all this:

Which genocidal gay rights abuses, pray, do you attribute to Uganda’s Yoweri Kaguta Museveni?

This gay man living in Uganda doesn’t know of any.

Over to you Dallas Voice. Or anyone with evidence of it.

Is that a deathly silence one hears?

Gay Uganda calls the political tune 1

Museveni: after signing away his legacy

A dour-looking Museveni: after signing away a huge chunk of his campaign funding on February 24th 2014

Most of his supporters won’t get it just yet, but Yoweri Kaguta Museveni lost a huge chunk of his political credibility February 24, 2014.

In the same week that Museveni invited journalists and diplomats to his palatial State House to sign a bill he had lambasted and ridiculed in equal measure, 24-year-old Herbert Mpiima succumbed to a rare bone cancer which could have been caught and checked – had the president and Uganda’s Parliament had the presence of mind to focus their energies on Uganda’s moribund health care system as they did on fighting with themselves over the Bahati anti-gay bill, now a nullified law.

Ssemusota guli mu ntamu ... If you don't remove the snake gingerly, you break the pot. But if you don't break the pot, you won't remove the snake

Ssemusota guli mu ntamu … If you don’t remove the snake very gingerly, you break the pot.

The intellectual confusion, the naked politicking, the chasing of shadows and the shifting sands continue unabated – nearly seven months since the president signed the Anti-Gay-Bill into law. At this rate, one can be forgiven for assuming that homosexuals make up 32,670,000 souls of Uganda’s 34,000,000 people. Estimates however put the gay population at just 500,000 (1%) of Uganda’s population.

The latest public hand-wringing came two days ago when Uganda’s legislators were again summoned into the President’s presence to be lectured about the law recently killed by Uganda’s Constitution Court. Knowing that his previous tactics of bullying and arm-twisting wouldn’t do, the president this time opted for local wisdom, telling his Parliamentarians that legislating in haste against homosexuality had become like a snake in a clay cooking pot – if you clumsily tried to remove it, you would break the pot.

Ssemusota guli mu ntamu is a well-known adage from Buganda, the richest, largest, most populous part of the country, and it is used widely to refer to matters that are extremely delicate, which need to be handled very carefully.

Really? 99% of a people whose country is independent and proud have to walk on egg shells over a matter that concerns just 1% of the entire population?!

Frank Mugisha & Kasha Nabagesera

Frank Mugisha & Kasha Nabagesera

That’s where Jacqueline Kasha Nabagesera and Frank Mugisha come in.

Yes, there have been others but Nabagesera and Mugisha are really the face of an international campaign so successful that Yoweri Museveni’s political fortunes are now the focus, rather than homosexuals or the Anti Homosexuality Bill/Law for that matter.

Can the president sign a law he already knows is foolish, formed in bad faith, enacted without a quorum, impossible to police and get away with it? The answer to that one has already been shown to be … no!

Can the president who is on record rubbishing an anti-gay bill, and chiding his own people for their blindness to the fact that homosexuality and homosexuals have always been an integral part of the African fabric, also turn around and tell homosexuals that they have lost the argument? The answer to that one is clearly … no!

Can a president who depends so heavily on western donor money for his political survival thumb his nose at those same donors in order to curry favor with his rebellious Parliamentary caucus? The answer to that has also already been answered in the negative.

So what is the president of this independent country that will not be dictated to by America or Britain to do? Well, it seems he will have to return to the donors, ask for Aid money not to be turned off while at the same time letting his minions argue that the country doesn’t need Aid money. Once the Aid money is turned back on, it can then be used to buy off Parliamentarians most of whom are deeply in debt to loan sharks who have the president’s phone number on speed dial.

Hopefully, pouring donor money at the problem will do the trick. If it doesn’t, Museveni’s political plans could be torn to tatters by the movement Nabagesera and Mugisha started. If it does, Nabagesera and Mugisha will have helped Museveni extend his stay in power.

They likely don’t know it yet, but Nabagesera and Mugisha have Yoweri Museveni’s political destiny and legacy in their hands – whichever way the homosexuality question is settled … with a little help from very influential friends abroad of course.

Where does all this leave Uganda’s anti-homosexuality law?

What anti-homosexuality law?

Uganda’s Constitutional Court nullifies anti-gay law 4

It’s going to have to be back to the drawing board for Uganda’s reliably dim legislators.

In a unanimous decision, the Constitutional Court of Uganda has nullified the anti-gay law passed by Parliament in December 2013 and signed into law February 2014.

Asked by petitioners to nullify the law because Parliament passed it without a quorum, the court agreed that it was passed without the required number of legislators in attendance and so couldn’t stand. The result today represents, yet again, a wonderful insight into the independence of Uganda’s judiciary.

This is the fourth time, in my recollection, the legal process in Uganda has favored the pro-gay side in the last 6 or so years. I am aware of only one ruling that has gone the side of the anti-gay side, recently when Minister Lokodo was sued for stopping a gay workshop. 4-1 is, however, a very healthy record that, no doubt, the pro-gay lobby in Uganda should relish.

What does it all really mean?

It was a very brave panel to scupper the proceedings at this stage, something I must admit I didn’t think the judges would do.

Why so?

This case is really about whether Parliament can single out a section of the population [gay people] to criminalize and stigmatize while implicitly and explicitly overlooking every other member of society [straight people] who are capable of committing the same actions the pilloried members of society have been criminalized for. That would be a violation of the constitutional right to equal protection and that is the area that the judges must eventually pronounce themselves on to kill off this law for good.

While that decision has now been put off, the judges must be doubly applauded because it cannot have been lost on them that the political implications of their decisions were stark. They have nonetheless throttled the law passed based on the flouting of Parliamentary rules, leaving Uganda’s Parliamentarians looking like the foolish, impetuous, thoughtless turncoats they have made a habit of being.

Rebecca Kadaga, the wannabe president of Uganda, who tried to use the Nazi bill to get one up on her rival for the presidency, Amama Mbabazi, has ended up with egg on her face, especially since she is a lawyer and has been embarrassed for her lack of legal acumen when she let the Nazi anti-gay bill through Parliament on her watch.

The president, Yoweri Museveni, will now argue that the law has been killed because of what he referred to in January as ‘abnormal, spinster’ Kadaga’s failure to cross her tees and dot her eyes. He gets to come out looking clean even though it will not be lost on perceptive minds that he excoriated Parliament for passing the bill without a quorum and then he went ahead to sign it anyway.

This Constitutional decision, however, does keep the door open for a new bill to be drafted and re-presented to Parliament so it doesn’t necessarily mean that the war has been won. No, it now remains to be seen if the losing side can regroup to fight another day. The odds for them, however, are getting longer and longer, with every legal defeat and they would know it if they were astute enough.

They likely are not, sadly.

If I were to put in my two pennies’ worth, lawyers now need to trawl through all the laws that have been passed without a quorum and lodge them with the Constitutional Court. By the time the learned judges got through all those, Uganda’s parliament would have no laws left on the books. And then we should see how important they feel their Nazi anti-gay crusade really is to their existence and that of the country that they would attempt to bring another kill-the-gays bill back in haste.

For now, it’s bottoms up possums. Your truly needs a chandelier to hang on to while singing “I am what I am …”

Africa can’t hide its intellectual incoherence 1

One of the presidents who deserves to go down in the annals of history as Africa’s most principled post-independence black leaders of all time is … drum roll please … Robert Mugabe!!

After more than 30 years in office, Mugabe is an ogre to his enemies and a shining light to Zimbabweans who keep on re-electing the 90-year-old relic who inherited a bread basket  and ran it into the ground in the guise of giving land back to dispossessed black citizens. Today, Zimbabwe boasts as the only country on the African continent (perhaps in the world) using more than five official currencies, none of them its own. The economy remains on its knees, Zimbabwe is a net importer of food and keeping the lights on, even in hospitals, is a lottery.

Mugabe, Biya, Museveni

Mugabe (Zimbabwe), Biya (Cameroon), Museveni (Uganda)

Despite all that, Mugabe stands tall when set against current and past African leaders, all of them men, due to one simple reason: his enemies and friends all know exactly what Mugabe means when he says and/or does it. Even when he crippled his country with ill-thought-out policies, leading to staggering rates of inflation, Mugabe remained defiant – lambasting white people and painting himself as a put-upon Shaka Zulu who would rise and rise with his black followers. But he was also astute enough to seek a local remedy for his political survival – which came in the form of the uninspiring, dull, clueless, politically inept and uncharismatic opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.

The zeal with which Mugabe has driven  his land repossession policy and the astuteness with which he has outmaneuvered his political opponents are now stuff for legend. Uncle Bob is going to go to his grave in the way he has lived his presidency – without kowtowing to anyone, and with his views on everything he has bothered to take an interest in very clear. In comparison, literally every other leader of Mugabe’s generation is a lightweight pretend-pugilist, spending excessive amounts of time looking at themselves in the mirror when they are not speaking through both sides of their mouth.

The emperor's new clothes

The emperor’s new clothes

One might spend time analyzing all the other leaders in Africa if they wish. Other than Mugabe, they are all totally alike: spineless, incompetent ditherers whose thinking follows their actions.

Some examples:

Kenya’s Kenyatta cannot rid himself of his demons where the issue of Somali terrorists is concerned. Is he for deporting all Somalis, going after a select few, shutting down their base in the heart of Kenya’s capital, or what? His own people don’t know – how could they when their decider-in-chief  makes a different decision for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

His supporters will not admit it openly but Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni’s intellectual confusion has been most cruelly exposed by the homosexuality issue. He has, variously, been against homosexuality as he has been in support of gay men and women being left to their private business because homosexuality has always been a part of African culture. In 2010 he decided that homosexuality was a foreign policy matter (oh, not a cultural or religious one, after all?) that only he handled. He forced Parliament not to debate it on the floor of the House. By close of 2012, he was as against the Bahati Nazi homosexuality bill as he was for it. After the passing of the bill by Parliament late in 2013, Museveni angrily, and publicly lambasted the Speaker of the House as an abnormal childless spinster who perhaps also deserved to be jailed because of her own shortcomings.

Alas the vintage Mugabe-like bravado didn’t last because Museveni hadn’t reckoned with a critical piece of the political jigsaw – his own NRM party. Once his own people threatened to unseat him, Museveni changed his mind … then again, and then again till one’s head spun. Even on the day of signing the bill, one was still wondering whether the president was coming or going since he had asked for further advice from American scientists (his own scientists had told him that homosexuality was no different from heterosexuality) just days before, which advice he hadn’t yet received. The anti-homosexuality bill is now law in Uganda but the political writhing continues.

Clarifying yet another clarification

Clarifying yet another clarification

Homosexuals have lost the argument (Museveni, February 24 2014). Uganda can do without foreign aid (Museveni, February 2014). Uganda will instead seek foreign support from Russia and China who don’t meddle in other countries’ affairs (Museveni, February 2014). America and Obama can go hang with their aid dollars (June 2014). Uganda didn’t really intend to snub anyone, least of all its international aid partners with the signing of the anti-homosexuality bill after all (Uganda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs July 2014).

We didn't mean to hurt you, Uganda now argues

We didn’t mean to hurt you, Uganda now argues

You have to catch your breath a couple of times while ploughing through the morass. Did the homosexuals lose the argument? If so, why keep on revisiting the subject? What has happened to Russia and China coming in to plug the holes left after Western donors withdrew their support? But didn’t you say Uganda could go it alone? If so, why even mention China or Russia as alternative avenues to go begging to?

And why should such an independent country hellbent on protecting its inviolable family and religious purity bother to keep explaining itself repeatedly over an issue that’s been settled, with the homosexuals losing the argument? It would seem then that when Uganda signed the anti-homosexuality bill in February 2014 to protect its independence as well as cultural and moral values, it didn’t really mean to do that. What did it mean to do then?

To ensure equal protection of all citizens.

Even those who would be pilloried, ostracized and arrested simply because of who they were? How would that ensure equal protection?

To stop the promotion and exhibition of homosexual practices of course!

Oh, but where exactly had these practices been exhibited and promoted? By crusading pastors perhaps? Or in church to stunned congregants? Is that a deafening silence one hears?

If this is all about Africa’s, rudderless, indecisive, opaque, but nonetheless bombastic leaders, why would anyone tar the entire Africa as intellectually incoherent? Quite simple really. Africa: you keep on electing and re-electing these people You are thus getting leaders who are a reflection of your own thinking …. or lack thereof.

Leaders you deserve!

America’s anti-gay “sanctions” have arrived – Uganda deal with it!

The United States of America has announced punitive measures in response to the signing of the Nazi anti-gay law by Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, February 24 2014.

Among the sanctions to be imposed are visa bans on those deemed responsible for human rights violations in Uganda, relocation of a health conference to South Africa, redirection of development funds from the government to non-governmental organizations and so on and so forth.

From a purely symbolic point of view, the steps America has taken are highly significant. It is America’s money to do as she pleases, but to come out and declare that a foreign government’s law is so heinous as to call for a public slap on the wrist is extremely embarrassing – for Uganda.

Ugandan officials will, of course, try to put a brave face on it, pretend that it doesn’t matter what America does. They will wax lyrical about Uganda turning to Russia or China, and how they must keep their culture and religious beliefs. It will be the usual piffle that ignores the fact that all Uganda’s major religions are foreign, and that, as Yoweri Museveni has repeatedly informed the people he leads, Ugandan tribes actually tolerated homosexuality before Biblical lore was imposed on them. But Uganda’s government has nonetheless been stung by the public dressing down from the United States which is part of the point of the sanctions. If they didn’t care, they wouldn’t have lashed out in the manner that their spokesman, Ofwono Opondo did as soon as the punishment was announced.

Gaddafi intervened heavily in the NRA war that removed Obote from power

Libya’s Gaddafi intervened heavily in the NRA war that removed Obote from power

The United States is bluntly telling Uganda that it is a basket case which is free to reject American money if it wishes. As long as Uganda accepts US tax dollars, he who pays the piper will call the tune.  It’s not lost on anyone with a modicum of intelligence that Uganda’s administration is merely about hanging on for grim death and that its leader will sign anything, say anything, do anything however contradictory to stay at the helm of his party and, by extension, country. That’s why he signed the Nazi anti-gay bill that he had consistently spoken out against and had blocked from even being debated for three years. It was purely to stave off insurrection from his own ruling National Resistance Movement.

The French Revolution brought about permanent change to France

The French Revolution brought about permanent change to France

Revolutions tend to be permanent when they are fomented from within. For some examples, think of the French Revolution – a bloody series of events in 1789 that ousted the monarchy and gave rise to the French Republic. Then there is the American revolution that ousted British colonialism. Closer to home, there is the Mau Mau rebellion, a completely local internecine struggle that toppled British rule in Kenya.

On the other side of the coin, the Falklands Islands are still a property of Britain, thanks to a lot of help from Ronald Reagan to Margaret Thatcher in 1982. She asked for and got American logistical support to win that war. Uganda’s Idi Amin would have lasted longer than 1979 had it not been for a lot of help from Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere and his Chama Cha Mapinduzi fighters. Indeed, we now also know that Museveni’s 1981-85 bush war which eventually got rid of Milton Obote was funded heavily by Gadhafi’s Libya.

So, contrary to what those who are ignorant about history might have you believe, there is a rich track record of revolutions that have been won, thanks to outside interference in other countries’ affairs, usually by invitation.

Nyerere (RIP) knew all too well about Uganda's begging ways

Nyerere (RIP) knew all too well about Uganda’s begging ways

Yours truly is of the view that the gay struggle in Uganda is one such struggle that must ask for and receive outside help. Here is a put-upon minority which would mind its own business if it were not for a pernicious, malicious cabal of religious and political leaders who are hellbent on using the lives of their fellow citizens to enrich themselves, if not to further their careers. They are cynically and blatantly feeding a poorly educated, ignorant, pliable populace with garbage and outrageous lies. Based on these lies, laws have been enacted to subjugate and even imprison for life citizens who have done nothing wrong other than be who they are.

The sanctions the United States has imposed  have been requested by the gay representatives living in Uganda. They are thus neither an imposition nor needless interference in Uganda’s politics as Ofwono Opondo is pretending; the gay community has asked for them and a sympathetic foreign government has, as Nyerere’s did in the 1970s, come to their aid.

It is thus right that Museveni’s government should be clipped around the ear like a recalcitrant child because, of course, Museveni’s government is nothing if not childish – relying on foreign handouts and then turning around and petulantly claiming that it doesn’t need America’s money even as it secretly lobbies for it not to be cut off.

Well, Uganda: America has laid down the gauntlet. If you don’t want American taxpayers dollars, fine. Reject the money or, better still, return, too, what has been given. As long as America’s policy is to help the downtrodden in countries which receive more money from America than they give, Barack Obama can decide to help the Ugandan gay community in any way they ask.

Over to you Mr. Yoweri Museveni. America under Barack Obama will not tolerate a banana republic, whose leadership relies on American money to stay in power, treating its gay citizens like vermin because American aid money is contributed by all Americans, including gay men and women.

You cannot thus have your cake and eat it, too; accepting money contributed by gay Americans among others, and then turning around and signing laws intended to maltreat your own gay people. Reject the aid. Even better, return what you have been given if you’re so righteous. Then go begging to your newly found friends in Russia and China who have such a wonderful track record of not interfering in the internal affairs of other countries.

America has exercised its choices. Feel free to do the same, too.