I am embarrassed to be African.
Do you know why I am embarrassed to be African?
The hypocrisy of people like Mataka, Matama, Alotim, Boo etc on the New Vision Discussion Board. I am embarrassed to be African because of people like Janet Museveni, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, and almost every person in a position of responsibility on this wretched continent.
Alotim and Boo (both northerners who write regularly on the New Vision Discussion Board) deserve just a line or two by anyone and I am going to restrict my embarrassment about their types to the atrocities that have happened in their homeland, largely with the connivance of the leaders of northern Uganda since it is impossible that Kony could have lasted more than 20 years without tacit support from the soils he drenches with blood. That the leaders of northern Uganda have such scant interest in the lives of their own people embarrasses me no end.
I am embarrassed about someone like Mataka and Matama who I have come to understand as a microcosm of why Africa is a backward continent and, most pertinently, why it doesn’t deserve the sympathy Aid agencies and international donors pay it. In fact, I see why the Chinese have got it right on Africa – this is a continent happy to be ruled by savages and to practice savagery against each other openly; why should the Chinese concern themselves about human rights when the locals themselves pay scant attention to each other?
Let us start with the simpler hypocrisies … you know those little things that someone like a homophobe like Mataka might think make him a superior person to me. The spread of Aids/HIV is still at pandemic levels in Africa simply because of heterosexual African men. They make the laws across the whole continent and you can see the regard the men have for women, for instance in Uganda, when it takes them more than five years to debate a bill that would give women more rights over property ownership, their bodies, and therefore more control over men’s brazen disrespect. Yes, the Domestic Relations Bill has languished in Uganda’s Parliament because it attacks the very comforts Ugandan men like Mataka don’t want to give up; open philandering, laissez faire attention to the women they impregnate like dogs and the hapless children they beget. But do you hear Mataka or Matama waxing indignant about how that is immoral? No, instead they are calling for legislation against homosexuals’ rights! Simply put, despite their hollow claims here, these African men have as much interest in women’s rights in Uganda as they do for gay rights.
Even in Saudi Arabia, where the religion supposedly aids men in their lustful ways, Muslim men cannot just marry a fourth and fifth wife as brazenly as they do in sub-Saharan Africa. But a renowned West African musician, Fela Kuti, went to his grave in 1997 and left behind a school of ‘more than 27 wives’ and countless children. The man died of Aids. But the headlines were so consumed with his musical prowess and a million people went to his funeral, totally ignoring the legacy of spreading deadly diseases.
In South Africa, they are about to elect Jacob Zuma, a rapist if not a deliberate spreader of HIV/Aids, to the highest office in that land. A convicted child murderer, Winnie Mandela is all but guaranteed a position in South Africa’s next government despite having served no time for her despicable crime against a child. But what are African men like Mataka and Matama concerned about? Men who have consensual sex in their own privacy. And someone expects me to take seriously these guys who ignore the evils that are openly rampaging across the continent in favor of consensual actions that no one even sees? Hell, no!
I am embarrassed that these African men deign to lecture anyone about morals. Morals??? Which morals exactly? The morals of female genital mutilation? How on earth can anyone not be mortified that there is still a set of people on this planet in 2009 who are still discussing spreading innocent girls’ legs apart and cutting their clitorises out? Why haven’t Matama and Mataka exhorted Martin Ssempa to ask his funders in Denver, Colorado to stamp out that terrible practice? Because it is happening to girls far away and girls are generally not their concern.
I have total disdain for Matama and Mataka when it comes to moralizing and this is why this isn’t about discussing homosexuality with them. I have no longer any need to do that with these hypocrites. I look at them in the same way I look at Minister Nsaba Buturo who clearly chooses to look the other way if the morals he is talking about are not about people who feed him. Respect for the privacy of people calls on me not to name names but even as I write this, Nsaba Buturo’s own fellow ministers have mistresses littered all over Kampala, don’t they? Where is the indignation there? How moral is that in the so-called superior African cultures that all these hypocrites love to trawl out whenever they run out of intelligent rebuttals? Or are African cultures superior only when men have all the advantages? Have these men ever stopped to think what the women who have to put up with cheating, lying and openly disrespectful African men feel? Or is it a sign of African culture that every other woman should expect her man to sleep with and officially take up with the Trollope that slings her knickers at him? I could name you any number of prominent men, some of whom do business daily with the fake holier-than-thou men all over Africa, who beat up their fourth and fifth mistress for daring to try and find a man who actually loves them. Again, respect for the women prevents one from being so indiscriminate but I dare either Matama or Mataka to claim that they don’t know any of these men first hand. But don’t hold your breath expecting them to call for demonstrations against abuse of women. They will not do it!
Can you imagine that these people think that consensual sex between men in the privacy of their home is worth spending millions on a three-day seminar, with guest speakers from California when they have never sponsored a single wife-battery or child molestation seminar on the same scale? But check the headlines. Uganda has more reported cases of child molestation, child sacrifice, wife battery and abandonment than it has of complaints due to consensual homosexual activity. Where is the outcry from people like Mataka when a country buys a private jet for the president at a time when there is zero medical provision in the country, women routinely die in child birth, doctors literally flee the country if they don’t camp outside the minister’s office in open mutiny? Is he awake when the headlines scream that Shimoni land has again been sold to secretive investors when its original status has not yet been resolved? And these guys have the gall to speak to anyone about morality? Psst!
Let us be clear. I know these types who moralize about how superior African culture is because I have done my homework. They represent everything that is totally wrong with the continent of Africa. They are closet sinners in the Biblical sense and their close friends carry skeletons in the cupboard that would make Cambodia’s Pol Pot look saintly. But they are also cozy with ruling military juntas, dictatorial regimes, hypocritical preachers and megalomaniacal rulers, and will thus not bite the hand that feeds them. Most galling is that they are men – a position they have not earned since God made them so – and they hold the power over women, children and homosexuals simply because of that. They can, however, talk big because their position as men enables them to be as duplicitous as they wish, to the extent of profiting from war and then turning round and condemning those who wage wars.
In Mataka and Matama you see the very embodiment of African mal-administration, crooked politics and double standards; ‘pick and choose whom you victimize and ignore your own sins’ is their operational mantra. Mugabe is still president because of the mentality of people like Mataka and Matama. Somalia remains a quagmire because of their obstinate aspirations to male superiority.
These two guys represent the worst of Africa because they are also reasonably educated and, most importantly, are endowed with the powers of intellectual analysis that my grandmother in the village lacks. But my grandmother has more sense than Mataka for one and do you know how I know that? She is angrier about the wanton abuse of office by Museveni and his cabal than she is about homosexuality. She recognizes that homosexuality is a curiosity but will not expend energy on it because she is aware that she has known ‘odd’ people like that in her village all her life and they have never affected her life the way lack of drugs has robbed her of children, grandchildren and great children. And you know what … my grandmother doesn’t speak a word of English because she never went beyond Bible school.
I am proud to say that that illiterate woman is to me more literate than all of the Matamas and Matakas of Africa put together. And because I can still only look to an illiterate 90+ year old woman for leadership and commonsense on a continent that has spent so much money educating all these men to govern fairly for ALL, I am totally embarrassed to be African.