Martin Ssempa: resurrection of a blast from the past

Martin Ssempa is back in the news in Uganda in the last couple of days on a rather curious, but predictable, subject:

Minding other people’s sexual activities!

A government that has failed to provide cancer radiation treatment equipment for hundreds of thousands of its citizens has determined that taxpayers’ money must instead be spent on setting up and funding … wait for it … a pornography control committee.

Rather oddly, but perhaps unsurprisingly, Uganda’s government has chosen to include on the porn committee a convicted criminal.

In October 2012, Martin Ssempa was convicted of conspiring to tarnish a fellow pastor’s, Robert Kayanja’s, reputation. Ssempa, together with a number of over-zealous co-conspirators passing themselves off as pastors had claimed that Kayanja “sodomized” boys at his Rubaga-based church. The prosecution successfully argued that the so-called pastors collectively fabricated evidence of homo-sodomy misconduct against Kayanja, coached witnesses and actively sought to pervert the course of justice.

Now, an attempt is being made to have the convicted felon, Martin Ssempa, reprise his crusading shenanigans.

ssempa subpoenaMartin Ssempa has not had it all his way over the last four years. He also has a subpoena hanging over his head, handed down by a court in the United States, to answer charges that he, with other hate-filled accomplices, conspired to try to exterminate the gay community in Uganda. It is the United States’ version of crimes against humanity and the accused have thus far lost every round related to the case.

It is thus not an exaggeration to say that “sexual conspiracy” and Martin Ssempa have been active bedfellows in what has become a pattern over the years.

How then did the Government of Uganda see it fit to place this man on a committee meant to police the country’s sexual morals, even one that should eventually turn out to be toothless and ineffective?

The mind boggles.

 

 

Bebe Cool rubbishes his fans over Museveni 1

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Undressing for Museveni: Moses Ssali (Bebe Cool)

Bebe Cool (real name Moses Ssali) is a Ugandan singer who is not singing. Scratch that, Bebe Cool is singing for his breakfast, lunch and dinner, but not on stage in front of an ecstatic audience.

For a musician who has made his name producing and performing music for a mass audience, primarily in Uganda, Bebe Cool is these days shrilly singing a discordant tune on behalf of President Yoweri Museveni who was declared the winner of the recently concluded presidential elections.

You see, Bebe Cool chose to publicly support Yoweri Museveni in the run up to the 2011 and 2016 polls, up to and including traversing the country to drum up political support for his man. That would be well and good, after all in a democracy everyone has the right to root for their preferred candidate.

What has made Mr. Ssali’s backing of Museveni, and his subsequent ridiculing of his erstwhile fans who, however, now condemn his choice, is what is raising eyebrows. There is a specific reason why Ssali supports Museveni which he, however, doesn’t dwell much on publicly. That reason is  … taxpayers’ money.

Hospitalized after being shot in a night brawl in 2010, Ssali looked to his father, Jaberi Bidandi Ssali for help. Bidandi Ssali had once been a friend and colleague of Museveni but they had fallen out and Bidandi Ssali was in the process of preparing to run against Museveni when his son was hospitalized. Bidandi Ssali went to the extent of selling off prime land in Kiwatule, a Kampala suburb, to raise money for his doomed campaign; a campaign that is rumored to have been encouraged by Yoweri Museveni who knew that Bidandi Ssali didn’t have the campaign cash and would have to sell part of his property to raise it.  Museveni’s calculation would have been right because it is now known that Bidandi Ssali’s political foray brought him to his financial knees.

By the time his son asked for financial support to get himself fixed abroad, it is safe to assume that Bidandi Ssali couldn’t readily raise the funds because he had sank a sizeable part of his nest egg into preparing to fight against Museveni in the polls that were coming up. (Bidandi Ssali himself was later taken ill in 2012 and had to rely on well-wishers to pay for his treatment abroad.) Such was the financial penury into which his election misadventure of 2011 had sunk him. Bidandi Ssali complained bitterly that the government – in Uganda Yoweri Museveni is the government – hadn’t lifted a finger to help with his medical bills.)

Museveni visits Moses Ssali in hospital (2010)

Museveni visits Moses Ssali in hospital (2010)

But back to 2010. After Bidandi Ssali failed to help raise the colossal sums his son needed to be treated abroad, Yoweri Museveni stepped in and ponied up $75,000 (247,500,000 Uganda shillings in today’s money) for Bebe Cool to fly to the United States for treatment, accompanied by his wife. Museveni’s timing couldn’t have been more propitious.

While in America, Bebe Cool publicly admitted why he couldn’t support his dad. In his own words, he owed his life to Museveni and thus his allegiances lay with the president.

bebe Cool message

Bebe Cool attempts to tell his fans that he doesn’t need them

What Bebe Cool still seems to fail to understand is that he owes his hospital treatment in America to the people of Uganda that he is currently ridiculing in garbled, arrogant, Facebook exchanges. It would be astonishingly obtuse if Ssali didn’t realize that the $75,000 the president spent on remedying the results of his nocturnal antics was taxpayers’ money. Museveni routinely hands out wads of taxpayers’ cash to all and sundry in brown envelopes, paper bags and sacks in expectation of or thanks for their support. Since his  own medical visit to the United States, Moses Ssali has sent his wife back to America twice, specifically to give birth. Most of his Ugandan fans are left to fend for themselves in the hospital death traps that their money rescues Moses Ssali’s wife from; hospitals which Ssali, rather curiously, claims are steadily improving.

Sierra Exif JPEG

Moses Ssali and his wife Zuena living it up at taxpayers’ expense in the USA, 2010

So, thanks to the Ugandan taxpayers, Moses Ssali is alive to tell them that he is rich and doesn’t need their help. The irony is breathtaking.

Ssali is not alone in sneering at the fans he relies on for his entire livelihood. Another singer, Joseph Mayanja (stage name Jose Chameleone) has also taken to Facebook to exhort his fans who are dismayed by his choice of presidential candidate to stay away from his concerts. Mayanja has reportedly argued that he is so international that he doesn’t need Ugandan fans to survive.

Joseph Mayanja, too, thinks his fans are pests

Joseph Mayanja, too, thinks his fans are pests

When all is said and done, these singers are free to support whichever politician they choose. It, however, leaves one wondering who their advisers are when they fail to understand that their brands are inextricably intertwined with their fans’ perceptions of their personal and professional integrity which cannot but suffer when they pin their colors to the masts of questionable African politicians whose longevity is often at the expense of responsible governance.

But that is to veer into philosophical territory that will not bother Mr. Moses Ssali and Joseph Mayanja much, understandably so given that their man was handed the 2016 election and looks set to rule Uganda till he dies.

Bobi Wine moves, homosexuality a damp squib at presidential debate

Bobi wine.1

Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine

Bobi Wine (real name Robert Kyagulanyi), he of the big lips and erstwhile big mouth which got him barred from performing at two London venues, has changed his mind and is now preaching the gospel of tolerance.

In a Facebook post, Kyagulanyi acknowledged that we must be tolerant of everyone’s differences, including our differing sexualities. Hmm … One has to be charitable and look at where a man is going, rather than where he has been, so yours truly will accept that Kyagulanyi is trying to make amends for his ill-informed  excoriation of a section of his fellow citizens and fans. Mr. Kyagulanyi’s words:

“In my life,I have disagreed with many people over many issues. Our opinions have differed on religion,sexual preferences,politics and a wide range of ideologies. There are reasons why we differ in thinking ranging from the way we are brought up,our geographical locations,Social classification and the general mindset of societies where we live. That however doesn’t mean that an individual is superior or inferior to the other just because they differ in opinions about the above. My key message this year is;”Ayawuka kundowoza yo tekimufula mulabe wo” (difference in opinion doesn’t make us enemies). Let us approach every issue with respect for one another,let us replace violence with tolerance, Yes! TOLERANCE; Let us tolerate each other no matter how far distant our opinions might differ. I believe that if we all subscribed to only one opinion,we would be damn fools,”

Way to go, Bobi Wine. Yours truly thinks it is okay for you and others to have ambivalent, even negative, views about homosexuality. What is not okay is for anyone to support the criminalization and/or marginalization of anyone based on who they are or to act upon their feelings in a way that is ruinous. So, your call for tolerance is  very much welcome.

No show

No show: Uganda’s obfuscating Yoweri Museveni

It was also the week in which Uganda held its first fully-fledged presidential debate. Despite the president of the country chickening out of the debate, it went ahead thank you very much. The highlight of the debate for yours truly was the question posed to the respective candidates about their views on homosexuality.

Amama Mbabazi who is on already the record publicly rejecting the anti-homosexuality bill and supporting non-interference into adult sexual freedoms sidestepped answering directly, perhaps rather understandably for the type of forum it was. Some of the the other candidates had harsh words about homosexuality but their input isn’t one that should worry us too much since they have no chance whatever of getting into office.

What should have been a highly incendiary topic three years ago thus went down like a lead balloon that barely deserves spending time on here. Yours truly is already looking forward to election day, February 18 2016 at which, it is now apparent, politician’s views on homosexuality will not play a significant part in the vote. And that can only be a good thing.

It, however, needs to be noted that Uganda’s president of 30 years has changed his position on homosexuality more times than a corkscrew opening a wine bottle; being against it, then for it, then against it, condemning legislation for it, requesting for scientific input which he then spun to his own ends, before he rejected and signed the anti-homosexuality bill into law. In fact he’s the only candidate in the race with more than 3 positions on this subject. That in of itself is a good thing because, with the president’s position changing depending on his intended audience, there is no more political capital to be gained for any other candidate to nail their colors to the mast of supporting same-sex relationships.

 

The choices before LGBT Ugandans in February 2016

The 2016 polls are around the corner Ugandan gay boys and girls (LGBT). One hopes that you registered to  vote. If you didn’t, and must sit it out, never mind; you can redeem yourself for 2021.

In the meantime, it is important for LGBTs who have registered to vote to have a clear mind about what is best for the gay community and the country. Yours truly, as always, will not mince words on the choices before us … and the country.

There are three viable candidates; the incumbent of 30 years (Yoweri Museveni); perennial also-ran , Kiiza Besigye; and Amama Mbabazi who outfoxed his boss and jumped ship to challenge him.

In Besigye we know we have an ally because he has openly supported the gay cause, most notably in the run-up to the 2011 polls when he savaged the anti-homosexuality bill and reiterated his lack of interest in policing adult consensual sexual relationships.

Candidate Besigye visiting Abim "Hospital"

Candidate Besigye visiting Abim “hospital”

What’s not clear yet is how the LGBT movement would harness his support but there is no doubt that as a medical doctor, he couldn’t possibly overlook Uganda’s scandalously medieval medical provision. Kiiza Besigye is a man we can do business with.

Then Prime Minister, Mbabazi, on a surprise visit to a public hospital

Then Prime Minister, Mbabazi, on a surprise visit to a public hospital

We can also rely on Amama Mbabazi. He, too, has dismissed anti-gay legislation publicly. It is also not a mean feat for anyone to stand up to his boss in the way Mbabazi has. This man has a spine of steel, something that Uganda needs in any leader who wishes to take on the corruption that Yoweri Museveni has encouraged in every aspect of Ugandan life. Don’t forget, too, that Mbabazi knows where all the current government’s bodies are buried.

Solome Nakaweesi-Kayondo: a woman you want on your side

Solome Nakaweesi-Kayondo: a woman we have on our side

Yes, it’s taken Mbabazi 30 years to abandon Museveni’s corruption-ridden ship and throw his hat in the ring, but it’s not where a man has been but where he is going that matters. Besides, how could we possibly fail to get a receptive audience with President Mbabazi with the indomitable Solome Nakawesi-Kayondo as his Chief of Staff?

Yoweri Museveni's private jet - An ambulance in Northern Uganda

Yoweri Museveni’s private jet – A makeshift ambulance in Northern Uganda

Our, and the country’s, worst scenario is to get Museveni back in. Though he was useful on the political front at pivotal moments in the anti-gay bill fight, that fight is now not a critical concern. We also know that Museveni chopped and turned incoherently on the bill for his own selfish ends. Yes, he kept the bill from being debated on the floor of Parliament for more than three years, but that was about keeping donor funds flowing, not any overarching interest in the minority gay population in Uganda.

Uganda's foremost referral hospital remains a death trap after 30 years of Museveni's rule

Uganda’s foremost referral hospital remains a death trap after 30 years of Museveni’s rule

Museveni is hopeless where the country’s health issues are concerned as his disinterest in Uganda’s public health facilities and total disregard for the welfare of Uganda’s medical staff has illustrated over the past 30 years.

We must not think only of ourselves as we go to the polls. Museveni thus doesn’t deserve to be returned to power on account of his criminal neglect for the healthcare of Ugandans that are not his ministers, his family or sycophants. If in 30 years he has shown scant interest in the health of Ugandans, leaving up to 6,000 women to die in child-birth each year for instance, why should he care about minority LGBT health concerns in his dotage?

As has happened so successfully in Kenya, the gay community in Uganda has to position itself strategically to make sure that whoever is in power after the 2016 elections takes LGBT health matters seriously. That is the next frontier in the struggle – to ensure that HIV/Aids and other preventable/treatable diseases don’t destroy the LGBT community and, by extension, the rest of the country.

Yours truly will thus not recommend that any Ugandan gay man or woman votes for Yoweri Museveni in 2016.

Vote wisely when you go to the polls in February 2016.

UNAA Elects Monday Atigo 2015/17 president 3

Monday Atigo

Monday Atigo

As the dust settles on UNAA and UNAA Causes’ competing events (see yours truly’s overview of these Ugandan organizations’ ugly clash here), it has emerged that UNAA has elected a new president. He is called Monday Atigo and he replaces Brian Kwesiga whom he has been deputy to for the last two years.

From the luxury of distance, it seems right to presume to write Mr. Atigo an open letter.

Dear Mr. Atigo:

Congratulations on your ascendancy to the top leadership of UNAA, an organization that we all must admit has done immensely well in the past 27 years to bring together Diasporan Ugandans of all tribes and hues in one place for three days.

The disagreements notwithstanding, it is a good thing that UNAA has a new leader if only because it helps bring a new face and, hopefully, perspective to the proceedings.

With that in mind, it is close to the bone to say it but unless it is addressed, UNAA’s future risks being engulfed by the past at a time when it has a chance to wipe the slate clean and move forward as a united organization.

Leadership

First off, your predecessor’s stewardship of UNAA has been an unmitigated disaster. Brian Kwesiga presided over  the most caustic and ruinous atmosphere around the organization that anyone has seen in 27 years. The eventual splitting of the organization into two was the final nail in the coffin of what can only be reasonably viewed as an abject failure of leadership.

While the renting asunder of the organization can be placed at all sorts of doors, the fish rots from the head and so Mr. Kwesiga must take full responsibility for the management fiasco that he has handed you to clean up. If his term of office were a fish, Mr. Kwesiga should wish to throw it back if he were honest enough with himself.

Way forward

Your first and most critical job is to reunite the organization. The issues dividing UNAA and UNAA Causes are not that great if personal egos are set aside and a constructive eye is cast over what makes UNAA great which is Ugandans coming together as one. You don’t have a lot of time to fashion a reconciliation because, of course, you also have to start looking at organizing UNAA 2016 before you send out your acceptance message. The bottom line, however, is that you cannot ever claim to have been successful as president of UNAA if September 2016 comes around and the two organizations are not one again, singing from the same hymn sheet. Reunifying UNAA must therefore be your be-all-end-all initial assignment.

Money

UNAA Causes has happened, charging less for more, in very expensive New York City. How they have managed to do it is worth looking at as the perennial complaints from attendees have been about lack of fiscal transparency. One has no evidence one way or the other, but if UNAA Causes hosted San Diego at the drop of a hat in 2014, with about 400 attendees and came away with no reported debt, it stands to reason that this convention can be hosted successfully and money left over for developmental and/or charitable causes when it is a unified movement of 1000+ people, doesn’t it?

Politics

While politics is part and parcel of any organization, UNAA seems to have veered to the extreme of soliciting funding from the Government of Uganda and turning a part of the proceedings into a hustings for Ugandan politicians. With Diaspora Ugandans supporting the Ugandan economy to the tune of more than $500m annually, it’s rather clear who needs who more. It thus beggars the question why UNAA should ask for or accept a single cent from a government that cannot put medicines in hospitals or pay teachers a decent salary.

Ugandan politicians must thus not be invited to an event they need more than it needs them. If they wish, they should pay their way, and attend like anyone else without being given top billing or preferential treatment.

Finally Mr. Monday Atigo:

We accept that you have inherited a mess. You, however, have accepted the poisoned chalice and must now show that you are capable of drinking from it and staying alive. Humbling yourself, listening more than you talk, going the extra mile to compromise, refusing to accept failure, and smiling along the entire way may not come amiss.

Oh, and get yourself a Twitter account. It seems utterly remiss for any leader not to have one in 2015.

Good luck.

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

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.