Suffer Ye the Little Children …?  

Posted by Tumwijuke Mutambuka in , ,

It is a well documented fact that child defilement tops the list of criminal cases in Uganda. Following closely on the list are cases of abuse and physical violence against children.

The Masindi District Police Commander, commenting on a recent case of child abuse in his area of jurisdiction, called the rising occurrence of these crimes “an abomination.”

I agree.

The authorities estimate that more than 50 percent of child abuse cases in Uganda go unreported. More often than not, parents are bribed with a goat, a tin of cooking oil or some money to forget the cases. To turn a blind eye to the plight of their own children.

I am indignant. I have chosen to taken it upon myself to name and shame those who, thanks to the media, have been exposed for perpetrating heinous crimes the defenseless and voiceless citizens of Uganda.

So Ladies and Gentlemen:

Welcome to the Hall of Shame for November 2006.

Onega Ajala of Waiga Village in Pakanyi sub-county, Masindi. The 67-year-old man was arrested on November 28, 2006 for raping his 12-year-old daughter. Confessed to the crime. Is in police custody.

Majid Bin Sadik, LC1 Secretary of Defense in Pallisa Town. Arrested on November 24, 2006 for forcefully marrying off his 14-yaer-old daughter a prominent businessman. Confessed but was later released by the Resident State Attorney because of ‘conflicting evidence.’

Hajj Balat Kabatenda. Arrested on November 2, 2006 for marrying Majid Bin Sadik’s 14-year-old daughter. Also confessed to the crime, but was released because of ‘conflicting evidence.’

Jackson Byenkya, bodaboda cyclist from Rukondwa, Masindi town. Arrested on November 24, 2006 for tying up his son with a heavy-duty 10 kilogram chain everyday for a month. Also denied his son food as a punishment for leaving the house without his permission. Not cooperating with the police. Is in police custody.

Jennifer Atiro of Oluffu in Maracha-Terego District. Arrested on November 22, 2006 for drowning her child in a river. Whereabouts unknown.

Annette Nagudi of Tororo town. Arrested on November 15, 2006 for dumping her one-year-old baby girl into a pit latrine. Confessed to the crime. Is in police custody.

Richard Mukwaya, former headmaster of Kapere Parents’ Primary School in Lukaya town, Masaka. Arrested on November 15, 2006 for defiling his 16-year-old student. Escaped lynching by angry mob. Is in police custody.

Unknown. Police in Katakwi on November 6, 2006 rescued 27 girls from child traffickers in Katakwi district. Girls were being taken to Ocorimongin Cattle Market where they would have been auctioned off in to a thriving sex industry in the area. Suspects in hiding.

Fred Muwanga. Sentenced to life imprisonment for raping a 3-month-old baby in 1999.

The King of Crass lives in my Neighbourhood  

Posted by Tumwijuke Mutambuka in , ,

Last night I was treated to an appalling example of Ugandan bourgeoisie.

It was about 7:30 p.m. and I was stuck in traffic at the Clock Tower junction on the Kampala-Entebbe Road.

As usual, I was passing time listening to a boring radio talk show that was hosting a mind-numbingly simplistic political discussion. I was also counting the number of suppliers of affordable laser-guided missiles, which I would use to take out every lousy radio show host in Uganda.

In the middle of that obviously stimulating mental work out, my attention was drawn the car ahead of me. It was a new, flashy silver-gray Mercedes-Benz E 200 Kompressor. One of those with impressive-sounding numbers attached to its performance review – 2,295cc; 2.3 liters; 4 in-line front engine with 90.9 mm bore; 8.8 compression ratio; a 53 litre fuel tank. Complete gibberish to me.

What drew me to the car was not its impressive portfolio, but a small 12 inch screen placed at the front, just below the rearview mirror. There it was, the epitome of automotive vulgarity: a vehicle DVD player.

Let me explain the futility of owning that ostentatious electronic.

Uganda’s roads are richly endowed with potholes. The potholes are not the small, ordinary, run-of-the-mill kind you get in other developing countries. These are large and deep enough to drown a year-old infant and are available every 5 meters along many of Kampala’s major roads.

Playing a CD or DVD in these conditions is pointless, no matter how great the anti-skip function on your player is.

Complicating the problem is the absolute madness on the streets of Kampala. With more than 2,000 clinically insane motorcycle riders zigzagging through the streets and passenger service omni buses fighting for every inch of the roads, one glance off the road will land you in a ditch.

Still, I was transfixed by the DVD. I followed the Merc out of the traffic and on to the main Entebbe Road, speeding past other cars in my old Hobbly Wobbly to catch up with it. I was very interesting in finding out what the occupants of the car were watching and how fascinating it was they could not wait for the 30 minute ride home before watching the movie in the comfort of their home.

About five kilometers away, at about Najjanankumbi, I caught up with car. I was aghast at my discovery. First of all, there was only one person in the car – the driver – whose attention was clearly on the road. Why was he playing the DVD? For whose benefit?

More shocking was the kind of movie he was watching. The archetype of mediocre populism in Africa’s film industry: Ekinigeria. Nigeria’s biggest product - shoddy, pedestrian Nollywood movies.

I was too horrified to drive any further and parked Hobbly Wobbly on the side of the road. How could this be? The Merc had such flash, such pizzazz and yet … Ekinigeria?

Why would someone who clearly worked hard to elevate himself in society take such a leap backwards? What was he looking for? Did he identify with the cheap tales of superstition and witchcraft that the movie had to offer?

Bewildered, I continued my journey home, the Merc safely a long distance ahead of me. I thought of a grassy pasture and talking cows to take my mind off the horror.

I was nearly cured by the time I arrived at my gate a few minutes later. However, as I walked around my car to open the gate, another vehicle zoomed up the road and flashed its lights at me. Thinking it was a friendly neighbours, I stood aside and waved at the car. But instead of a wave in response, the driver of the car whistled at me.

“You ala chute mama,” the driver shouted before speeding off.

It was my nightmare. The Merc was back.

The King of Crass lives in my neighbourhood.

Video Meliora Proboque Deteriora Sequor  

Posted by Tumwijuke Mutambuka

Change Uganda’s motto.

Video meliora proboque deteriora sequor.
I see the right way, approve it and do the opposite.

Nalubaale Power Station. Output of 260 megawatts.
2005 - massive shortage of electricity. Current output 150 megawatts. Blame to political opposition and its nefarious leader.

Promote local technical expertise.
Hire Zzimwe Construction – a company with no road construction portfolio, no equipment, and no relevant human resource – to build two major roads in Kampala. The multi-million dollar project stalls for two years. No one is made to account for the shame.

Invest in post-primary education and adult literacy.
Give secondary school teachers a minimum wage and no more. After all, they should be grateful they have jobs. Call university lecturers strike for more pay a ‘non-issue.’ Publicly say it is not a Government priority.

Actively promote culture
Draft a Cultural Policy and after its fourth draft in 2003, let it gather dust on Government shelves. Appoint a Presidential Advisor on Literary Affairs who doesn’t understand her own mandate. Cut funding to the National Theatre and kill the performing arts. Create a Department of Antiquities and allow the National Museum to be plundered and lie rotting. Regularly have His Excellency YKM7 call the Department of Music, Dance and Drama at Makerere ‘useless.’

Deepen democracy and decentralize power
Create 17 new districts and provide them with funding enough to run only a handful of functions like typing memos, holding workshops, paying local authorities and authorizing the disbursement of large sums of money for per diem.

National Measles Immunization Program 2006
During program days from November 10 -12, cut off electricity at main hospitals and health centers in Masaka, Sironko, Masindi, Lira, Pader, Kabale, Kamwenge. No refrigerators to store treasured vaccines.

The arguments are too many to be listed here, so let us be realistic. The current motto “For God and My Country” is no longer applicable. It was a good aspiration, but too high for Uganda to attain.

Hata ukinichukia la kweli nitakwambia.

Uganda – Video meliora proboque deteriora sequor!