Identity Crisis or What you represent.

active agility dancer dancing

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I was told a rat that desired to better its self. Fortunately, the genie gave it three wishes. The rat could choose whatever or what it wanted as long as the three wishes were to be maintained. The rat said, ” I think the first thing is to make me become a goat! Their voices are so musical and I really would like to be a goat!” His wish granted he began to trot all over the place in full majesty as a goat.

Sooner than later, he came upon a duck, he admired the way the suck was floating on the water and asked, in full speed to be come a duck! The genie warned him that he had just wasted two wishes in transformations without anything tangible; the rat said its okay let him go about a bit in duck form and return to genie with his last wish. Angered the genie said, “it really doesn’t matter you will always be a rat at heart!” And with that rendered him back into a rat. The rat was suffering from an identity crisis.

Tourism expert, Amos Wekesa, recently said that there was a need to expunge the word “Pearl” from our marketing campaign as a country. Admittedly, I too harbor some sentimental attachment to word but for the life of me I cannot fathom the nature in specific and accurate detail of this pearl. What makes it a pearl? How do we convert this pearl into economic sense of Dollars and Cents?

And pray don’t throw me something nebulous like tourism; that is a very broad spectrum without distinct marks to spur the wheels of advancement and progress. As a country we need to have a concrete sense of identity so that when the world thinks of Uganda that thing comes to mind; today the thing is “Amin!” It is Amin without any pecuniary benefits. Let us either redefine our identity or commercialize the Amin and Aminism.

Consider a few examples  I have patched from the wind:

Vodaka is identified with Russia

Football is identified with Brazil

Tequilla is identified with Mexico

Coffee is identified with Ethopia (although Capuucinno and Expresso are words in Italian)

Textiles are identified with China

Car parts are identified with Japan

Spices are identified with India

Culinary delights France and Italy

Spain for bull fights

Gorillas identified with Rwanda (you know the kwita izina annual ceremony?)

Perhaps the challenge of national identity will not be solved until we sort our selves at regional levels. Identifying that which stands out in our varied diversities as Bakiiga, Bamasaaba, Atesots, Acoli, Baganda, Langi, Jopadhola, Batooro, Lugbara etc.  There is emerging a trend of cultural festivals which in the main have been successful.  These can be the building blocks as we seek for clarity of our identity and what we represent; and what we want people to know us for. If we fail or are slow in identifying this let us quickly and urgently commercialized the Amin, Aminism and its attendant brand linkages.

In this quest we cannot be shy about competing or bench marking our own products/ services with the best that may be! Indeed I know from a first contact of a Russian chap that our varied waragi products are unique and could attract the approval of several connoisseurs. A Kenyan colleague once extolled for me virtues of the Katogo that I could scarcely believe  it was the same humble product we had continually ignored.

Whatever it is we need to get clarity of our own sense of identity and be in position to put our candle on the table and show our light to the world.

 

 

 

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The Height of Incompetence

IMG_20170506_182239It has been said, and rightly so that, “… in a hierarchy everyone rise to their level of incompetence.”  So in calm waters when one is much below his level of incompetence one demonstrates mastery over the ship and eddy currents. As he rise in levels to assume greater responsibilities, his flaws and imperfections begin to be exposed. One naughty philosopher said its is true in love as in war; where one is the best girl/boy friend her or his ability as a wife/ husband cannot stand the acid test. One can be the most effective field commander but once he assumes the office of General he is unable to design the grand stratagems necessary to in the battles.

In the fables of Greek Aseops we are told of a fox that was attracted to grapes but the grapes were just a bit out of reach. After futile attempts to obtain the said grapes the fox contented itself with the comforting knowledge that, “grapes were, after-all, sour!”  The Luos, and in particular Pajuleans, have an expression for the same sentiment. “Ngat mo twoni ngwen okonyi gi cedo!” (the one who refuses you white ants has saved you from the troubles of running stomach; which is sometimes associated with white ants!)

I was invited to a symposium on corruption a couple of years ago and the topic that carried the day was, “Corruption and Bribery; is it an African Problem!” Presented by the Late Dr Father John Mary Waliggo, he agonized on corruption and its state, its manifestation and it nature. He likened corruption to a cancerous growth that starts small then grows to consume the entire body, to the water hyacinth that spreads rapidly covering out the entire expanse of water blocking air for the animal life in there and impeding navigation for homo sapiens.

La Politique du Vendre, and chop chop mentality that is prevalent in the corruption value chain. If a leader chops, below him he sets off a chopping frenzy! The exponential growth, while worrisome to the bystander, can easily be swept beneath the carpet because everyone’s lip is bloodied and non can cast the first stone, nor the second and third stones.

Great Generals in the pursuit of holding power have often had to deploy the means of a cat’s paw! What is a cat’s paw? The story is told of the monkey that wanted to get some nuts from the fire. Unfortunately it was afraid of burning its hands so it, confident in the knowledge that monkey’s hands cannot get burnt when they use a cat’s paw, used or borrowed a cat’s paw for the purpose.  In ordinary parlance,  when we use an individual to carry out dangerous and distasteful task he becomes in effect our own cat’s paw.

Now when the cat’s paw performs that task, by virtue of which, he has had to dehumanize himself, eradicate the fine line between truth and lies, moral and immoral, black and white; he is in effect staring into the abyss. This comes with the problem of the abyss staring back at you and creating an abyss in you own soul.

The illusion of power makes the paw dizzy and he becomes the embodiment of the law, nay he becomes bigger than the law. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely; he is on a balloon journey.   The puppet master watching the airs upon which his protege bestride is in askance if he himself is safe! What happens if this lions I have created turns on me? Do I have the withal to put this genie back in the box?

It is useful to remember the problem or challenges stemmed not from one singular fact but from a multitude of events and phenomenon in conspiracy with fate to concoct the state of affairs. Men, as William Shakespeare said, are masters of their own fate, the problem is not in the stars but in ourselves that we are underlings.

Re-engineering Your thought Process

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A traditional Acoli hut. These are made by local craftsmen and artisans.

Over the last few weeks, honestly months, we have been trying to tie up the loose ends of a great endeavor. The toil is ceaseless and energy sapping. Where we not aware of the challenges of change management and the continued resistance  to change we would have long dropped the towel and concentrated on rearing ducks or hens or rabbits; which invites less dubious stares and also has been practiced for long years and is a proven and tested concept!

Why, if you get two hens, or rabbits or ducks, and they meet for practical purposes these within a few days will either bring eggs or kits withing a period of one month and next month following this pattern we shall have between 12- 18 Kits within a six year period; barring wild animals tearing apart our plan; which has been know to happen to many a farmer.

Easy, visible, and comprehensible as that plan maybe it is not the kind of thinking that spurs development, human growth and accelerated progress. Just because Pajule does not have a five storied building does not in any way indicate its inability to have an absorption capacity of such a structure. Let us look for some remarkable trail blazers and the difficulty they faced with their varied invention:

  1. Carnegie and his steel bridge; if he had accepted the conventional wisdom how much more costly would infrastructural development be? The letters from impatient bankers and bailiffs serve as a painful reminder of fair weather friends. (details of this can be obtained  the Documentary the Men who built America).
  2. The inventions of fire was unprecedented; and not since its invention has a competing element been formed and its centrality in the advancement of human kind remains as constant as the Northern Star.
  3. The great information highway was formed not from the comfort of an existing infrastructure; rather as a tool in itself. In this history we find the amazing research undertaken to share information first from one computer to the next, then multiple computers in the late 1970’s resulting into the development of the networking protocol TCP/IP and continued development to the information highway we have to day! The advancement of man is not in baby steps but buttressed by adventurers who dare to leap into the abyss of darkness, untested, waters not chartered before amidst violent storms  and utter confusion.

President Trump, at the time of writing this missive was having a tete a tete with Kim Jong Un! If a betting man had said this event was a possibility last year his friends, had they cared an iota for him, would have let him gently but firmly to the infirmary en-route to the mental asylum. As it is this path non chartered heralds new hope for lasting peace. Even at the minimum we concede that if you want peace you do not talk with your friend, you break bread with your enemy!

Challenges and criticism may be your fodder in the pursuit that I commend for us. However, comrade mine, consider the comforting postulations of H.E Theodore Roosevelt,

“It is not he critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievements, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

And I repeat, who at worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat!  Where is you place comrade?

 

People and placement or Letter to the President

Your excellency, allow me to convey heartiest regards over the successful celebrations of the Uganda Martyrs’ day at the Namugongo Basilica. Apart from the decorum and the hope manifested by the faithful it was heart warming that you took time off to go and shake hands with members of the opposition including Dr Warren Kiiza Besigye. Such overtures mean volumes for the future direction of the country especially as we try to disagree without being disagreeable. This country belongs to all of us and since we are not going any where we better make it nice for all of us.

The media captured a policewoman helping a old woman access the Basilica and the commendations came from far and wide. It is worth noting that ever since you made substantive changes in the police force a ripple of hope for the transformation and professionalization of the force, as a pro people force, seems to be gaining momentum.

The installation of Ochola Martin O. has led to massive changes and attempts to rebuild the command structure of the Uganda Police Force. We have not yet had any incidents of the arbitrary use of tear gas; an occurrence that earned the predecessor the nickname “Afande Teargas!” Maybe we shall call the new one Afande Structure; given his apparent obsession with rank and file command and structure. But this is not the core of my letter to you.

The letter is an exhortation that  people of expertise need to be in the right places if we are to witness the forward movement the country so much desires. Since we have seen what the right police man in the right place is capable of doing, let us get the right health practitioner in the right place! You see I have examined this Afande OMO carefully, and I can say without fear of any contradiction that he is not a Cuban! Thus said we can also find with ourselves appropriate solutions for the health sector.

As already mentioned, it is incumbent upon us to ensure that we make this country nice for all of us. This would rise the stature and sense of ownership that the will reduce radical tendencies within the populace. A disagreement between brothers does not necessitate bloodshed. The electoral loss at Rukungiri was a show down between us versus them! We are still battling the side effects of the highly polarized touch or don’t touch campaign. Still its instructive that no lives were lost; this is a good thing and should continue like that.

With such a spirit we can sit on a round table and formulate a health policy to ensure better lives for Ugandans. We reduce maternal deaths child and mother, enhance diagnostic capabilities, improve life styles and frustrate non communicable diseases (NCDS)….we demystify disease same way how we demystified the gun. Alluta continua, only victory matters. For emphasis the right people, at the right place at the right time; this is the correct formula for strategic success.

Acoli Economic Conference

All activities are geared towards the first Acoli Economic Conference. The region has been crawling out of years from the ravages of war between the National Resistance Army and belligerents of the Lord’s Resistance Army, led by Joseph Kony. The war saw a decimation in numbers of the populace and a slow down in the economic advancement of the region and the Acoli people. There is minimum number of industrialization and hope remains a distant dream.

Thus, the economic conference is a timely intervention to critically reflect on the challenges and possibly design solutions to lift the region and its neighbors out of the current state of abyss, decadence, poverty and enslavement. It is useful to state that Acoli talking shops have always generate the necessary withal to stampede action and progress. The Kacoke Madit (the big gathering) remains a stark example. The Kacoke Madit emphasized the need for a peaceful negotiation of peace and the blood split and drained in the soil stands testimony to the correctness of their position; they were vindicated.

Your truly has been challenged to make a presentation at the said forum. This has been a very humbling calling and not one taken lightly. Fortunately, the area for discussion is infrastructure development;a matter I have discussed and are in the process of implementation in distant lands. The forum therefore provides me a unique opportunity to share my experiences, in distant lands, with the people of Acoli and the people in Acoli.

This was more than proved when we had the Acoli Cultural Festival. It was a landmark event where the cultural norms and way of the Acoli was show cased. It is now scheduled to be an annual event. Where will we in future keep these visitors to such grand occasions?

The land of Acoli is occupied by Southern Ugandans of all shades. You will find persons speaking Luganda, another speaking Runyankole others speaking Lugisu and all these are major stakeholders in the development and progress of Acoli-land. The challenges they face are the same challenges and the harmony they enjoy is part and parcel of their humanity. At the end of the day we are one people with a common aspiration for the good life and happiness.

Its with this in mind that I approach the conference with great optimism. An opportunity has been presented to us to chart and channel the progress and progression of our people. Let us embrace this opportunity with not only our hands but with all our limbs; legs and all.

God Bless the People of Acoli and the People In Acoli and all their good neighbors.IMG_20170327_121456.jpg

Tenets of Islam: Compassion and Mercy

Of all mine fields, the ethical considerations in discussions of the ethics of murdering a rapist remains the most deadly, explosive and emotive grounds. Tainted with the young age of the double, nay triple, victim; victim first of child marriage, psychological pressure and trauma of rape, and trauma of being a murderer.

This trilogy represents a huge mental battle and it is the case currently for Noura Hussien who has been convicted of premeditated murder. For the avoidance of doubt, in my eyes, there are two victims in this case; the man who married the young girl, and now the second victim Noura Hussien.

Noura had been a victim of a contractual marriage arrangement her father entered into a couple of years ago, She run away from home at 16 and sought refuge at the home of a Aunt. By grand trickery and deceit she was lured back under the mistaken impression that the marriage contract had been cancelled. She returned and found wedding preparations in full gear.

Her family tricks and shenanigans having worked they decided and eventually handed her over to the husband(her cousin); this is where the mischief continued. Once the girl was handed over to the husband it took the physical force of their relatives to physically  hold the legs while he engaged in forceful penetration; the definition of rape! Although admittedly this is not the reigning legal position under the Sudanic Sharia law.

At this point the man’s hands are not clean in my eyes! And it is behind this cloak, the conspiracy of the girl’s relatives from which all the mischief stems. The murder would not have happened had this issue not been forced. It should be noted that marital rape and child marriage are not crimes under the laws in Sudan! This adds more slippery grease on an already mucky and maddy situation.

The Sharia Law Jurists have two alternatives for the crime of the murdered chap, there can be monetary compensation or eye for eye! The second victim’s family, male chap, has rejected financial compensation and demand for the death sentence. That these where the same chaps who held the legs of the now traumatized and female victim ought to have been taken in consideration as court administered justice.

According to the Islamic faith, Allah has over 99 name. Every believer however does not invoke all the names of Allah in the morning. The names invoked in prayer are Rahman and Rahim. Rahman means the compassionate, and Rahim the merciful. The prayer commences in the morning, “Bi Ism-i- Allah al-Rahman al-Rahim” (begin in the name of Allah who is compassionate and merciful).

Indeed, after the Twahid, unity of God, Risalah, Messengership of Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Him), compassion is the next critical pillar on which Islam stands. A true believer therefore allows himself to manifest the words of Allah through compassion and mercy. This is the message the world needs to carry to the family of the deceased husband of Noura Hussien, let their anger be tempered by compassion and mercy, Insha Allah.