Saturday, 3 December 2011

Uganda should fully back Palestine’s statehood bid

On the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, November 29, a statement from the Director-General of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) re-affirmed the decision taken by the organisation in October to admit Palestine as a member.

This step is an achievement for a people who are striving for self-determination and the right to exist as a formally recognised entity. Palestinians have fought, negotiated and bargained for an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as the capital.

For over twenty years, represented by the Palestine Authority, they have held talks with Israel, which has occupied these territories for over four decades. However, these on-and-off discussions eventually come to naught and the latest round has broken down with no deal on the key issues, yet again. After unfulfilled promises and unrealised aspirations, in 2010, the Palestine Authority began a diplomatic strategy to court individual countries for recognition and to attain full member status at the UN —an upgrade from the current observer status.

During the UN General Assembly, held in September, the Palestine Authority President Mahmoud Abbas presented the request for admission as a full member state. In his speech, he stated that “the goal of the Palestinian people is the realisation of their inalienable national rights….the unquestionable right of our people to self-determination and to the independence of our State as stipulated in international resolutions.” The procedure is that the application is tabled by the Secretary General to the Security Council, which votes on it and, if there are at least nine votes with no veto from the permanent members, it is then forwarded to the General Assembly. The other alternative is for Palestine to present its bid directly to General Assembly, where there are higher chances of success.

So, the Unesco vote referred to earlier, was a coup for this diplomatic push. It was passed with 107 “yes” votes, which was over the required 81, with 14 “no” votes and 52 abstentions. To me, the biggest surprise was that Uganda chose to abstain yet the country has a long history of supporting causes for self-determination and independence.

From the struggle against apartheid in South Africa to the quest for independence in South Sudan, Eritrea, Namibia, Western Sahara/Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and even on the Palestinian question, Uganda has always shown where it stands. For instance, in support of the independence of South Sudan, President Yoweri Museveni said “Uganda will support the membership of South Sudan in East Africa and all regional bodies. The people of South Sudan had a right of self-determination.” There is a monument dedicated to the South African fallen heroes at Pan African Square in Kampala. The President of the SADR government in exile was a guest at Museveni’s swearing in ceremony in 2006.

So, I wonder why Uganda is now ambivalent about Palestine yet it supported the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s previous attempts in 1974 and in 1988 to seek recognition under Yasser Arafat. I dare to speculate it is because of diplomatic relations and business interests with Israel.

There are two main reasons why I think Uganda should support Palestine and still maintain relations with Israel.

As a UN member, Uganda is party to the resolutions that condemn Israeli’s occupation and recognise Palestine as a state. The other is that even the Middle East Peace Quartet—the European Union, US, Russia and UN—committed itself to a two-state solution by September 2011.

The zeitgeist in many regional blocs and international fora, including the Arab League and increasingly within the EU, is in favour of getting the two-state solution as soon as possible. In addition, even the World Bank and IMF acknowledge that Palestine has the institutions for statehood. Many of these countries however also still maintain diplomatic and economic ties with Israel, why not Uganda?

Monday, 10 October 2011

Steven Paul Jobs

Below is part of what I wrote for the "People in the News" section of the Daily Monitor newspaper (and it was published on 7 October, pg 24). I take it as my tribute to such a great personality, that is why I have posted on the blog

Many think that success is going from achievement to another with falling along the way, others are often discouraged by the fear of failure that they don’t even try, yet others will simply be glad to bask in the glory of an achievement for as long as they can ride the wave.

This week, Steven Paul Jobs, popularly known as Steve Jobs of the highly successful Apple Inc., succumbed to a rare form of pancreatic cancer at the age of 56. Almost all eulogies, obituaries and tributes inevitably mention how he revolutionised the technology industry. You can hardly blame them because the name Steve Jobs has become synonymous with iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes and iMac, which were developed during his tenure as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. The digital music player, iPod, introduced in 2001, has 70 per cent share of the market. The iTunes music store has sold more than 16 billion songs since 2003. By December 2010, 92 million units of the iPhone mobile phone had been sold. In the same year, the iPad tablet computer was introduced; currently more than 29 million have been bought. The company he co-founded in 1976, now has a yearly revenue of US$65bn (UShs185 trillion).

Even with such a string of successes, Jobs remained a simple man in dress, character and outlook. He frequently dressed in jeans, a turtle-neck and running shoes. According to those who have worked with him say he did not dwell on past achievements. Probably that is why he seemed unfazed when a number of the products that he introduced to the market flopped or he branched out to animated films after he was forced out of the company in 1985 and, on his return in 1996, he continued to develop the products that brought Apple back from the brink.

May be his disposition can be attributed to his Buddhist faith or having been brought up as an adopted child. Perhaps this statement from a speech he made at Stanford University provides an insight into Steve Jobs: “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose”.

Note: a substantial part of the information was sourced from the Wall Street Journal

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

We Need More Than Vuvuzelas For Uganda Cranes Pt 2

On the eve of this year's Independence Day, Uganda Cranes hosts neighbours, Kenya's Harambee Stars, at Namboole Stadium in Kampala. This is one of the do-or-die matches for qualification to 2012 Africa Cup of Nations. Despite expectation that we are expected to give our all in support to the national side, I am not keen on having my heart broken for the umpteenth time.

While we may need to support Cranes, Uganda's football needs more than vuvuzelas on such Saturdays to get things right. It is a process that has to start from the grassroots to the very top. We scream ourselves hoarse then towards the end of the campaign, there are those questions we start to ask because the Cranes do not seem willing to win emphatically.(Watching the previous match against Angola's Palancas Negras in Luanda, one would get this impression)

In the final analysis, I don't have much hope in Uganda's chances in getting to the 2012 Cup of Nations.....the whole FUFA administration, search for upcoming talent, football league, finances, fans' support, media, corporate sponsorship, government support/budget et cetera will have to be fine tuned and tweaked to work in sync. Only then can we be prepared to take on the world. It is only then that Uganda will win more awards than just the CECAFA 'thing' [which has become boring].

Food for thought: Why is it that there are more fans of English Premiership clubs in Uganda than for the national team? More media coverage of the lives of the Premiership players and their WAGs than just results of matches from our own football league?

Read pt 1 here

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Book Review: A New Harvest for Africa

Title: The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa
Author: Calestous Juma
Pages: xxvi + 268
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Reviewer: Gumisiriza Mwesigye
Available at

Africa’s agricultural sector employs most of the labour force and most of the population derives their livelihood from it. And the growth of the sector is vital for development as it stimulates growth in other sectors. Similar statements are commonplace in literature that is published about agriculture’s place in Africa’s development. In fact, it is almost cliché in publications on the same theme.

But, in this book, Calestous Juma, a Kenyan national and a professor at Harvard University in US, looks at the same subject in different ways. For instance, he states that though increasing agricultural productivity is usually presented as a transition to economic growth a “systems view of economic evolution suggests continuing interactions between agriculture and other sectors of the economy in ways that are mutually reinforcing”.

He points out that innovation should be integrated within strategies to increase agricultural production and foster development. He highlights three opportunity areas. The first is the advances in science, technology and engineering. The other is the efforts to create regional markets that cross national borders. Then, the emergence of a generation of leaders that is focused on long-term economic transformation.

The book is divided into seven chapters. The first one examines the links between agriculture and economic growth. It is observed that food security, agricultural development, and economic growth are intertwined.

The second chapter considers the implications of advances in science and technology: “African countries can utilise the large aggregation of knowledge and know-how that has been amassed globally...These are able to enhance technological advances and scientific research while expanding storage, collection, and transmission of global knowledge”.

Chapter three defines agricultural innovation in a systematic context. “Agriculture is considered central to African economies, but it is treated like other sectors...Government, the private sector, universities, and research institutions are important parts of a larger system of knowledge and interactions that allows diverse actors with varied strengths to come together to pursue broad common goals in agricultural innovation.”

The fourth chapter outlines the connections between infrastructure and agricultural innovation. Infrastructure is defined here as facilities, structures, equipment, services, and institutional arrangements that aid the flow of agricultural goods, services and ideas. “Roads, water facilities, airports, seaports, railways, telecommunications networks, and energy systems represent just a portion of the web of national and regional infrastructure necessary for food security, agricultural innovation, and agriculture-based economic development”.

The role of education in fostering agricultural innovation is covered by the next chapter. Some of Africa’s most persistent agricultural challenges lie in the educational system. “Governments and schools should treat agriculture as a skill to be learned, valued, and improved upon from early childhood through adult careers instead of as a last resort...”

Chapter six presents the significance of entrepreneurship. “Much is already known about how to support business development...These can be complemented by simple ways to promote rural innovation that involve low levels of funding, higher local commitments and consistent long-term government policy”.

The final chapter outlines regional approaches for fostering agricultural innovation. “Many of Africa’s individual states are no longer viable economic entities; their future lies in creating trading partnerships with neighbouring countries. Indeed, African countries are starting to take economic integration seriously”.

Though written by an academic, with input from experts in the several fields covered, he uses case studies and a narration style to sustain readers’ interest. With the current economic situation reinforcing the urgency to find lasting solutions to Africa’s challenges, New Harvest is worthy addition to the discussion.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Support Palestine's Bid for Freedom and Justice

On 23 September 2011, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed UN General Assembly after submitting application for recognition of Palestine as a state to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. As a support of freedom and social justice for all peoples anywhere in the world, this blog post features the full transcript of Abbas' speech below:

Mr. President of the General Assembly of the United Nations,

Mr. Secretary-General of the United Nations,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, I wish to extend my congratulations to H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser on his assumption of the Presidency of the Assembly for this session, and wish him all success.

I reaffirm today my sincere congratulations, on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian people, to the government and people of South Sudan for its deserved admission as a full member of the United Nations, wishing them progress and prosperity.

I also congratulate the Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, on his election for a new term at the helm of the United Nations. This renewal of confidence reflects the world’s appreciation for his efforts, which have strengthened the role of the United Nations.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Question Palestine is intricately linked with the United Nations via the resolutions adopted by its various organs and agencies and via the essential and lauded role of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East - UNRWA - which embodies the international responsibility towards the plight of Palestine refugees, who are the victims of Al-Nakba (Catastrophe) that occurred in 1948. We aspire for and seek a greater and more effective role for the United Nations in working to achieve a just and comprehensive peace in our region that ensures the inalienable, legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people as defined by the resolutions of international legitimacy of the United Nations.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

A year ago, at this same time, distinguished leaders in this hall addressed the stalled peace efforts in our region. Everyone had high hopes for a new round of final status negotiations, which had begun in early September in Washington under the direct auspices of President Barack Obama and with participation of the Quartet, and with Egyptian and Jordanian participation, to reach a peace agreement within one year. We entered those negotiations with open hearts and attentive ears and sincere intentions, and we were ready with our documents, papers and proposals. But the negotiations broke down just weeks after their launch.

After this, we did not give up and did not cease our efforts for initiatives and contacts. Over the past year we did not leave a door to be knocked or channel to be tested or path to be taken and we did not ignore any formal or informal party of influence and stature to be addressed. We positively considered the various ideas and proposals and initiatives presented from many countries and parties. But all of these sincere efforts and endeavors undertaken by international parties were repeatedly wrecked by the positions of the Israeli government, which quickly dashed the hopes raised by the launch of negotiations last September.

The core issue here is that the Israeli government refuses to commit to terms of reference for the negotiations that are based on international law and United Nations resolutions, and that it frantically continues to intensify building of settlements on the territory of the State of Palestine.

Settlement activities embody the core of the policy of colonial military occupation of the land of the Palestinian people and all of the brutality of aggression and racial discrimination against our people that this policy entails. This policy, which constitutes a breach of international humanitarian law and United Nations resolutions, is the primary cause for the failure of the peace process, the collapse of dozens of opportunities, and the burial of the great hopes that arose from the signing of the Declaration of Principles in 1993 between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel to achieve a just peace that would begin a new era for our region.

The reports of United Nations missions as well as by several Israeli institutions and civil societies convey a horrific picture about the size of the settlement campaign, which the Israeli government does not hesitate to boast about and which it continues to execute through the systematic confiscation of the Palestinian lands and the construction of thousands of new settlement units in various areas of the West Bank, particularly in East Jerusalem, and accelerated construction of the annexation Wall that is eating up large tracts of our land, dividing it into separate and isolated islands and cantons, destroying family life and communities and the livelihoods of tens of thousands of families. The occupying Power also continues to refuse permits for our people to build in Occupied East Jerusalem, at the same time that it intensifies its decades-long campaign of demolition and confiscation of homes, displacing Palestinian owners and residents under a multi-pronged policy of ethnic cleansing aimed at pushing them away from their ancestral homeland. In addition, orders have been issued to deport elected representatives from the city of Jerusalem. The occupying Power also continues to undertake excavations that threaten our holy places, and its military checkpoints prevent our citizens from getting access to their mosques and churches, and it continues to besiege the Holy City with a ring of settlements imposed to separate the Holy City from the rest of the Palestinian cities.

The occupation is racing against time to redraw the borders on our land according to what it wants and to impose a fait accompli on the ground that changes the realities and that is undermining the realistic potential for the existence of the State of Palestine.

At the same time, the occupying Power continues to impose its blockade on the Gaza Strip and to target Palestinian civilians by assassinations, air strikes and artillery shelling, persisting with its war of aggression of three years ago on Gaza, which resulted in massive destruction of homes, schools, hospitals, and mosques, and the thousands of martyrs and wounded.

The occupying Power also continues its incursions in areas of the Palestinian National Authority through raids, arrests and killings at the checkpoints. In recent years, the criminal actions of armed settler militias, who enjoy the special protection of the occupation army, has intensified with the perpetration of frequent attacks against our people, targeting their homes, schools, universities, mosques, fields, crops and trees. Despite our repeated warnings, the occupying Power has not acted to curb these attacks and we hold them fully responsible for the crimes of the settlers.

These are just a few examples of the policy of the Israeli colonial settlement occupation, and this policy is responsible for the continued failure of the successive international attempts to salvage the peace process.

This policy will destroy the chances of achieving a two-State solution upon which there is an international consensus, and here I caution aloud: This settlement policy threatens to also undermine the structure of the Palestinian National Authority and even end its existence.

In addition, we now face the imposition new conditions not previously raised, conditions that will transform the raging conflict in our inflamed region into a religious conflict and a threat to the future of a million and a half Christian and Muslim Palestinians, citizens of Israel, a matter which we reject and which is impossible for us to accept being dragged into.

All of these actions taken by Israel in our country are unilateral actions and are not based on any earlier agreements. Indeed, what we witness is a selective application of the agreements aimed at perpetuating the occupation. Israel reoccupied the cities of the West Bank by a unilateral action, and reestablished the civil and military occupation by a unilateral action, and it is the one that determines whether or not a Palestinian citizen has the right to reside in any part of the Palestinian Territory. And it is confiscating our land and our water and obstructing our movement as well as the movement of goods. And it is the one obstructing our whole destiny. All of this is unilateral.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

In 1974, our deceased leader Yasser Arafat came to this hall and assured the Members of the General Assembly of our affirmative pursuit for peace, urging the United Nations to realize the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people, stating: “Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand”.

In 1988, President Arafat again addressed the General Assembly, which convened in Geneva to hear him, where he submitted the Palestinian peace program adopted by the Palestine National Council at its session held that year in Algeria.

When we adopted this program, we were taking a painful and very difficult step for all of us, especially those, including myself, who were forced to leave their homes and their towns and villages, carrying only some of our belongings and our grief and our memories and the keys of our homes to the camps of exile and the Diaspora in the 1948 Al-Nakba, one of the worst operations of uprooting, destruction and removal of a vibrant and cohesive society that had been contributing in a pioneering and leading way in the cultural, educational and economic renaissance of the Arab Middle East.

Yet, because we believe in peace and because of our conviction in international legitimacy, and because we had the courage to make difficult decisions for our people, and in the absence of absolute justice, we decided to adopt the path of relative justice - justice that is possible and could correct part of the grave historical injustice committed against our people. Thus, we agreed to establish the State of Palestine on only 22% of the territory of historical Palestine - on all the Palestinian Territory occupied by Israel in 1967.

We, by taking that historic step, which was welcomed by the States of the world, made a major concession in order to achieve a historic compromise that would allow peace to be made in the land of peace.

In the years that followed - from the Madrid Conference and the Washington negotiations leading to the Oslo agreement, which was signed 18 years ago in the garden of the White House and was linked with the letters of mutual recognition between the PLO and Israel, we persevered and dealt positively and responsibly with all efforts aimed at the achievement of a lasting peace agreement. Yet, as we said earlier, every initiative and every conference and every new round of negotiations and every movement was shattered on the rock of the Israeli settlement expansion project.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I confirm, on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, which will remain so until the end of the conflict in all its aspects and until the resolution of all final status issues, the following:

1. The goal of the Palestinian people is the realization of their inalienable national rights in their independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on all the land of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, which Israel occupied in the June 1967 war, in conformity with the resolutions of international legitimacy and with the achievement of a just and agreed upon solution to the Palestine refugee issue in accordance with resolution 194, as stipulated in the Arab Peace Initiative which presented the consensus Arab vision to resolve the core the Arab-Israeli conflict and to achieve a just and comprehensive peace. To this we adhere and this is what we are working to achieve. Achieving this desired peace also requires the release of political prisoners and detainees in Israeli prisons without delay.

2. The PLO and the Palestinian people adhere to the renouncement of violence and rejection and condemning of terrorism in all its forms, especially State terrorism, and adhere to all agreements signed between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel.

3. We adhere to the option of negotiating a lasting solution to the conflict in accordance with resolutions of international legitimacy. Here, I declare that the Palestine Liberation Organization is ready to return immediately to the negotiating table on the basis of the adopted terms of reference based on international legitimacy and a complete cessation of settlement activities.

4. Our people will continue their popular peaceful resistance to the Israeli occupation and its settlement and apartheid policies and its construction of the racist annexation Wall, and they receive support for their resistance, which is consistent with international humanitarian law and international conventions and has the support of peace activists from Israel and around the world, reflecting an impressive, inspiring and courageous example of the strength of this defenseless people, armed only with their dreams, courage, hope and slogans in the face of bullets, tanks, tear gas and bulldozers.

5. When we bring our plight and our case to this international podium, it is a confirmation of our reliance on the political and diplomatic option and is a confirmation that we do not undertake unilateral steps. Our efforts are not aimed at isolating Israel or de-legitimizing it; rather we want to gain legitimacy for the cause of the people of Palestine. We only aim to de-legitimize the settlement activities and the occupation and apartheid and the logic of ruthless force, and we believe that all the countries of the world stand with us in this regard.

I am here to say on behalf of the Palestinian people and the Palestine Liberation Organization: We extend our hands to the Israeli government and the Israeli people for peace-making. I say to them: Let us urgently build together a future for our children where they can enjoy freedom, security and prosperity. Let us build the bridges of dialogue instead of checkpoints and walls of separation, and build cooperative relations based on parity and equity between two neighboring States - Palestine and Israel - instead of policies of occupation, settlement, war and eliminating the other.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Despite the unquestionable right of our people to self-determination and to the independence of our State as stipulated in international resolutions, we have accepted in the past few years to engage in what appeared to be a test of our worthiness, entitlement and eligibility. During the last two years our national authority has implemented a program to build our State institutions. Despite the extraordinary situation and the Israeli obstacles imposed, a serious extensive project was launched that has included the implementation of plans to enhance and advance the judiciary and the apparatus for maintenance of order and security, to develop the administrative, financial, and oversight systems, to upgrade the performance of institutions, and to enhance self-reliance to reduce the need for foreign aid. With the thankful support of Arab countries and donors from friendly countries, a number of large infrastructure projects have been implemented, focused on various aspects of service, with special attention to rural and marginalized areas.

In the midst of this massive national project, we have been strengthening what we seeking to be the features of our State: from the preservation of security for the citizen and public order; to the promotion of judicial authority and rule of law; to strengthening the role of women via legislation, laws and participation; to ensuring the protection of public freedoms and strengthening the role of civil society institutions; to institutionalizing rules and regulations for ensuring accountability and transparency in the work of our Ministries and departments; to entrenching the pillars of democracy as the basis for the Palestinian political life.

When division struck the unity of our homeland, people and institutions, we were determined to adopt dialogue for restoration of our unity. We succeeded months ago in achieving national reconciliation and we hope that its implementation will be accelerated in the coming weeks. The core pillar of this reconciliation was to turn to the people through legislative and presidential elections within a year, because the State we want will be a State characterized by the rule of law, democratic exercise and protection of the freedoms and equality of all citizens without any discrimination and the transfer of power through the ballot box.

The reports issued recently by the United Nations, the World Bank, the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) and the International Monetary Fund confirm and laud what has been accomplished, considering it a remarkable and unprecedented model. The consensus conclusion by the AHLC a few days ago here described what has been accomplished as a “remarkable international success story” and confirmed the readiness of the Palestinian people and their institutions for the immediate independence of the State of Palestine.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is no longer possible to redress the issue of the blockage of the horizon of the peace talks with the same means and methods that have been repeatedly tried and proven unsuccessful over the past years. The crisis is far too deep to be neglected, and what is more dangerous are attempts to simply circumvent it or postpone its explosion.

It is neither possible, nor practical, nor acceptable to return to conducting business as usual, as if everything is fine. It is futile to go into negotiations without clear parameters and in the absence of credibility and a specific timetable. Negotiations will be meaningless as long as the occupation army on the ground continues to entrench its occupation, instead of rolling it back, and continues to change the demography of our country in order to create a new basis on which to alter the borders.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a moment of truth and my people are waiting to hear the answer of the world. Will it allow Israel to continue its occupation, the only occupation in the world? Will it allow Israel to remain a State above the law and accountability? Will it allow Israel to continue rejecting the resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations and the International Court of Justice and the positions of the overwhelming majority of countries in the world?


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I come before you today from the Holy Land, the land of Palestine, the land of divine messages, ascension of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the birthplace of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people in the homeland and in the the Diaspora, to say, after 63 years of suffering of the ongoing Nakba: Enough. It is time for the Palestinian people to gain their freedom and independence.

The time has come to end the suffering and the plight of millions of Palestine refugees in the homeland and the Diaspora, to end their displacement and to realize their rights, some of them forced to take refuge more than once in different places of the world.

At a time when the Arab peoples affirm their quest for democracy - the Arab Spring - the time is now for the Palestinian Spring, the time for independence.

The time has come for our men, women and children to live normal lives, for them to be able to sleep without waiting for the worst that the next day will bring; for mothers to be assured that their children will return home without fear of suffering killing, arrest or humiliation; for students to be able to go to their schools and universities without checkpoints obstructing them. The time has come for sick people to be able to reach hospitals normally, and for our farmers to be able to take care of their good land without fear of the occupation seizing the land and its water, which the wall prevents access to, or fear of the settlers, for whom settlements are being built on our land and who are uprooting and burning the olive trees that have existed for hundreds of years. The time has come for the thousands of prisoners to be released from the prisons to return to their families and their children to become a part of building their homeland, for the freedom of which they have sacrificed.

My people desire to exercise their right to enjoy a normal life like the rest of humanity. They believe what the great poet Mahmoud Darwish said: Standing here, staying here, permanent here, eternal here, and we have one goal, one, one: to be.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

We profoundly appreciate and value the positions of all States that have supported our struggle and our rights and recognized the State of Palestine following the Declaration of Independence in 1988, as well as the countries that have recently recognized the State of Palestine and those that have upgraded the level of Palestine’s representation in their capitals. I also salute the Secretary-General, who said a few days ago that the Palestinian State should have been established years ago.

Be assured that this support for our people is more valuable to them than you can imagine, for it makes them feel that someone is listening to their narrative and that their tragedy and the horrors of Al-Nakba and the occupation, from which they have so suffered, are not being ignored. And, it reinforces their hope that stems from the belief that justice is possible in this in this world. The loss of hope is the most ferocious enemy of peace and despair is the strongest ally of extremism.

I say: The time has come for my courageous and proud people, after decades of displacement and colonial occupation and ceaseless suffering, to live like other peoples of the earth, free in a sovereign and independent homeland.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to inform you that, before delivering this statement, I submitted, in my capacity as the President of the State of Palestine and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, to H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, an application for the admission of Palestine on the basis of the 4 June 1967 borders, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, as a full member of the United Nations.

I call upon Mr. Secretary-General to expedite transmittal of our request to the Security Council, and I call upon the distinguished members of the Security Council to vote in favor of our full membership. I also call upon the States that did not recognized the State of Palestine as yet to do so.

Excellencies,Ladies and Gentlemen,

The support of the countries of the world for our endeavor is a victory for truth,freedom, justice, law and international legitimacy, and it provides tremendous support for the peace option and enhances the chances of success of the negotiations.

Excellencies,Ladies and Gentlemen,

Your support for the establishment of the State of Palestine and for its admission to the United Nations as a full member is the greatest contribution to peacemaking in the Holy Land.

I thank you.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Book Review: Why 2011 Could Be The Year To Plant A Family Garden

Title: Food Shock: Why 2011 Could Be The Most Important Year Ever To Plant A Family Garden
Authors: Bill Heid and Brain Brawdy
Pages: 33
Publisher: Off The Grid News
Reviewer: Gumisiriza Mwesigye
Available at

This year more than any another, the prices for food have been volatile and have kept rising beyond the point at which a number of experts had predicted that they would cool off. This unprecedented trend has raised fears for the future in rich, middle-income and poor countries, and in many of them, sparking off riots and protests against the high costs of living.

Against this backdrop, Bill Heid, an entrepreneur in what is known as the preparedness and survival industry, and Brian Brawdy, an ex-police investigator and military weapons specialist who now educates people on self-reliance and survival, teamed to write this publication. Using an unassuming and concise style, they trace the causes of the current food crisis, present a frank diagnosis of the situation and offer back-to-basics kind of solutions.

The authors present three major reasons why prices have kept going up. Reference is made to the protests in Tunisia and Egypt that were initially fuelled by discontent over prices of staple foodstuffs. These are some of the varied cases, ranging from Russia, China, Mexico to UK and US, that are used to illustrate their point that though prices will continue their upward trend, the attempts by governments to curb them will remain inadequate. This is backed by figures from several organisations such as Oxfam, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the World Bank and US Department of Agriculture.

In the second reason advanced, Heid and Brawdy observe that the bad weather such as unprecedented droughts and floods in Australia, US, Russia, India and China will continue to play a significant role in the current situation. “We are just one drought or one heavy rain away from a major worldwide catastrophe…” Also, it noted that these phenomena “have demonstrated just how dependent our food supply is on the weather. For now, the effects have just been an increase in price.” The situation of food shortages is compounded by the growing use of food crops such as soya beans and maize in the manufacture of biodiesel—as an alternative to petroleum.

The third reason revolves around the move to increase agricultural productivity through the use of biotechnology and genetic engineering. “Breeding crops to increase the size and yield has had an unintended effect; it also decreases the nutrient value of the produce.” The use of chemicals to counter the menace of pests, diseases and weeds also features prominently here.

Probably, this is one of the few publications on this theme that offers practical, do-it-yourslef solutions to the ordinary people who are most affected by soaring food prices. Heid and Brawdy say the way to cope will be having food security in their hands: Through utilising the land available to them such as backyard gardens to grow their own food.

Though their advice is primarily targetted at an American public, their take on the situation, the causes and probable solutions are also relevant to developing countries whose populations tend to wait on government intervention in a crisis and where biotechnology is being fronted as a way to realise higher crop yields. In the same breath, it serves as a warning to other countries that are contemplating on following that path, of the potential pitfalls and what is touted as "the solution" may not be that. Instead, it is up to the people to take initiative and the onus is on them to play a part in dealing with the current crises.

Get the publication at Off The Grid News website or download here

Friday, 12 August 2011

Sweet and Bitter: The Story of Uganda’s Sugar

by Mwesigye Gumisiriza

When many Ugandans took to the streets of Kampala in April 2007 to protest the government’s intention to degazette 7,100 hectares (17,540 acres) of Mabira rainforest for expanding sugar production, it may have taken many by surprise. More so, when the protest assumed racial tones, became violent and subsequently targetted the Asian community.

However, if one is to closely look between the lines of what could be called the Mabira saga, it is possible to see the wide-ranging influence of the sugar industry in the economic and social life of Uganda. According to a study carried out by D. P. S Ahluwalia, Plantations and Politics of Sugar in Uganda, the origins of the industry can be traced to the 1920s when the colonial administration was promoting peasant production of cash crops for export as raw materials for the factories in Britain. For sugarcane growing, it was developed along the lines of plantations by Asians, thus explaining their link to, expertise and capital in the business up to date.

There are three dominant players; of which two are owned by Asians or Ugandans of Asian origin. Kakira belongs to the Madhvani Group, Sugar Company of Uganda Limited (SCOUL) in Lugazi is owned by the Mehta Group. The third sugar estate, operated by Kinyara Sugar Works Limited, was established much later in 1964, through an agreement between the governments of Uganda and India. In addition to this historical background, these enterprises have maintained their presence in the market owing to government support via rehabilitation after years of little or non-production in the 1970s and 1980s.

Because of this, likely competitors have been kept at bay, this is reinforced by their lobbying the Ministry of Trade and Industry to table a bill in parliament. The outcome of which will set guidelines along which new players will operate while taking care of the concerns of the “big three”. The concerns include new firms and jaggeries buying from outgrowers who are already contractually bound to them. The jaggeries are small-scale businesses that crush cane for the making of wagari.

Thus, the crux of the current competition is expansion at less cost rather than directly targetting the consumers. There is a shortfall in production—there is a need to expand from the current 190,000 tonnes per year to 220,000 tonnes to meet demand. The gap is met by imported sugar, which is cheaper. Yet another headache is the cost of production, which is highest in East Africa: US$ 480 per tonne compared to US$ 390 in Kenya and Tanzania. Even then, there is the challenge of consumption—while for Uganda, it is 9 kilogrammes per person, in Kenya and Tanzania, it ranges between 14-15 kilogrammes.

There are thousands of farmers—known as outgrowers—contracted to supply the factories. Statistics from Uganda National Sugarcane Growers Association (UNASGO) put the number at 20,000 and indirectly benefitting 50,000. But Ethical Sugar, a civil society organisation, puts the number at 7,000, who in turn employ 20,000 people, and 15,000 directly employed by the factories. Either way, production of the white crystals, which are an essential part of our diets, is the livelihood of a significant part of the population.

This extends to the business opportunities to local entrepreneurs such as those who transport cane, the wholesalers and retailers who sell the products. Even the by-product of the process known as bargasse is used to generate power in an environment-friendly way and at a cheaper cost than burning of diesel. Besides this, there are industries that use sugar as input, ingredient or preservative—breweries in making beer, soft drinks and packed fruit makers and confectioneries in producing sweets, bread, biscuits. However, the type used is industrial sugar, most of which is imported. On estates such as Kakira, there are social services such as a hospital, nursery, primary and secondary schools. With expansion in the near future, the benefits will definitely spread, and with it the impact of the sector.

Despite revenue of billions of shillings and annual taxes amounting to over Shs. 62 billion, the sugar industry is a source of disaffection and dissatisfaction. This probably from the feeling that the industry gains more from the people than the latter should be getting from it. For instance, neither do the producers have say in setting price nor do the outgrowers determine how much they get per tonne. There are different rates for the three factories; Lugazi pays its outgrowers Shs. 24,000 per tonne, the rate for Kakira is Shs. 38,000 while Kinyara sets it at Shs. 32,600. Even the land owners that lease their land for planting of sugarcane claim the fees they are paid are not commiserate with the market. Even the consumers feel they are paying a lot; ranging from Shs. 1,700 to Shs. 2,000 per kilogramme depending on where they buy it.

So, is it still surprising that during the Mabira saga, the protest tried to introduce boycott of Lugazi sugar as one of the weapons? In spite of this backdrop, we can hardly do without that sugar in our cup of tea.

This was published in The Manager, a weekly newspaper, Kampala, Uganda, in the week of 16th March 2009

Note: I posted this here because many of the facts are pertinent in light of the current crisis in sugar supply going on in Uganda. However, because of a number of factors, the figures quoted here have changed over time.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Breaking the vicious cycle of food crisis

by Masimba Tafirenyika/UN Africa Renewal magazine

Once every few years, the world goes through a familiar ritual: various factors converge to trigger unusual increases in global food prices. In response, countries rush through emergency measures to ward off widespread shortages. Prices stabilize, calm returns and the world declares yet another victory in the war against rising food prices. The crisis vanishes from the radar — until the next one.

Few are surprised that for the second time in three years, another crisis is back. In February the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)’s food index, which tracks monthly changes in the global prices of staple foods, reached its highest level ever. At the same time, the World Bank announced that 44 million people in developing countries had been thrown into poverty by rising food prices since June 2010.

A report released in May by Oxfam, a British charity, predicts that food prices will more than double in the next 20 years unless the global food system is overhauled. The report, Growing a Better Future, forecasts price increases in the range of 120–180 per cent “as resource pressures mount and climate change takes hold.” The US-based think-tank International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) projects similar increases over the same period. Newly elected FAO head José Graziano da Silva of Brazil said in June that “food prices would remain volatile for some time.”

Without doubt, Africa’s poor suffer the most from high food prices, as they rely on a few staple crops for survival. This year the Horn of Africa faces its worst drought in 60 years, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Millions of people in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda will face severe food shortages. Oxfam identifies the sub-region as one of the world’s “food insecurity hotspots”. According to the UN World Food Programme (WFP), millions are threatened with starvation in eastern Mali, northern Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

World leaders have avoided a head-on tackle of the food system’s underlying weaknesses, including low investment in agriculture, especially for smallholders; an end to huge land purchases by the rich; lack of transparency and fairness in food markets; and disputes over climate change. Each time a crisis strikes, they have tinkered at the edges of a broken system or employed makeshift measures.

Unfortunately, it is a general trend in the world,” complained Jacques Diouf, the outgoing FAO chief, frustrated by world leaders’ failure to heed his warnings of imminent shortages during the 2008. “We react when the crisis is already here.”

Arguably, the national interests of the major food producers have paralyzed efforts to reform global agricultural policies. For example, the first ever gathering of ministers of agriculture from the Group of 20 (G-20), which includes South Africa as the sole African member, failed to reach an agreement in June on policy issues.

The Paris talks deadlocked on concerns that biofuel policies divert crops from food markets to the production of ethanol and biodiesel and also that export bans, imposed by governments to ensure adequate stocks at home by restricting food exports, distort global supplies.

Prior to the G-20 meeting, Oxfam had noted angrily that “the failure of the [food] system flows from failures of government — failures to regulate, to correct, to protect, to resist, to invest — which mean that companies, interest groups, and elites are able to plunder resources and to redirect flows of finance, knowledge and food.”

40 per cent of Africa's farm produce is lost...

Experts generally agree on the causes of food crises. Bad weather has reduced grain exports from Australia. Export bans by food exporters (21 countries at the beginning of the year), continued subsidies to farmers by rich nations and market speculation have distorted the supply and price of food on global markets. Subsidies encourage farmers to over-produce and thus depress market prices, forcing farmers in poor countries to compete with cheap food imports. Commodity traders contribute to spikes in global prices through speculation.

In addition, lack of investment in agriculture and inefficient farming contribute to food shortages in Africa. About 40 per cent of Africa’s farm produce is lost on the way to the market, notes The Economist, a British weekly. In some areas, as in western Kenya and northern Ethiopia, families have less than the minimum farmland required to support a household.

Lack of land titles, access to credit and property rights, especially among women, limits the amount that can be harvested from small plots, observes the magazine.

Due to perennial food shortages, experts and anti-poverty activists continue to press for a better system. Robert Townsend, an economist with the World Bank, argues that better seeds, more fertilizer and improved methods of cultivation increase harvests. He calls for more investment in research to develop improved varieties, as well as well-managed irrigation schemes to ensure reliable water supply. In Benin, the Bank’s Global Food Crisis Response Programme supplied fertilizer, which boosted cereal production by an additional 100,000 tonnes.

Following a continent-wide initiative by the African Union to spend more money on agriculture, 26 counties have so far signed agreements under a plan called the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme, run by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the AU development agency.

The results in some countries have been remarkable. Rwanda, the first to adopt the programme in 2007, increased land allocations to maize by almost five-fold in three years, raising maize yields by more than 212 per cent — from less than 0.8 tonnes per hectare to 2.5 tonnes — over the same period. Malawi has also seen comparable successes, along with Sierra Leone and Tanzania, among others.

Equally important is the need to reverse the gender imbalance. Giving rural women the same access as men to land, technology, financial services, education and markets, argues FAO in its State of Food and Agriculture 2010-11 report, will increase agricultural production and reduce the number of hungry people by up to 150 million worldwide.

There is no doubt that the pace of overhauling the global food system will be painfully slow. This will guarantee repeated food crises. Responding to the failure to reach an agreement on agricultural policies by the G-20, Oxfam noted that the group’s “sticking plaster approach falls well short of the major surgery” needed to tackle the global food system. Like a festering wound left untreated, failure to act now will only hasten the inevitable — a visit to the surgery room.


Tuesday, 2 August 2011

More Breasts Not Jets

This week marks the 19th World Breastfeeding Week, an event that has been observed annually, from 1-8 August, in more than 120 countries. The aim is to promote breastfeeding for infants and the health benefits of providing important nutrients and protection from diseases. It also beneficial to women, as it helps in protection against breast and ovarian cancer and in the spacing of children, among others.

The theme for 2011 is "Talk to me! Breastfeeding - a 3D Experience". According to a statement from the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), the focus of this theme is supporting breastfeeding through a third dimension—using communication at various levels and between various sectors. “We live in a world where individuals and global communities connect across small and great distances”, the statement reads, “we have the ability to use these information channels to broaden our horizons and spread breastfeeding information beyond our immediate time and place”.
In efforts to reach beyond the usual setting—that is mothers, health facilities, community and home—and time—that is from pre-pregnancy to weaning—WABA intends to include traditionally uninvolved groups, such as the youth.

The statement from WABA notes that since the youth comprise about 18 per cent of the world’s population, they are therefore an invaluable sector to ally with in any public health movement. It adds, “ In association with the United Nations’ International Year of Youth, WABA commissioned a dedicated group of young people to carry out [the call] to action and create awareness, mobilise and engage, connect and build bridges across generations, cultures, religions, and civilizations on breastfeeding.”

A point to ponder: If the government of Uganda uses even half of the money ($750 million) that purchased fighter jets to support breastfeeding, what would be the impact on the wellbeing of the population? In a perhaps less obvious way, would contribute more to security than jets and bombs?

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Funny but Serious: A Memo from Home Affairs




DATE: July 2011.


Due to the current economic situation and the so-called zero deficit budget, all domestic rules and regulations have been revised until further notice as below and under no circumstance is any violation going to be accepted. You have already seen what 'walk to work', closing of shops, etc have been handled. So violation of the rules shall meet similar responses.

1. The Kitchen and all pantries are declared Restricted Zones. Entry and/or passage shall require express permission from myself or lady of the house upon submission of written request.

2. Breakfast for adults is banned and children shall eat one bun each and a cup of milk. No more concentrated milk and each cup uses 1 teaspoon of sugar. This matter cannot be discussed!

3. Such food items as rice, chicken, blue band (margarine), butter, jam, sausages, frankfurters, eggs, bread and milk are restricted. Anyone intending to eat any of such foodstuffs must write to me in triplicate, with three days notice, giving justifications backed by a qualified dietician's report.

4. Watering flower gardens is banned. Further, only food-giving plants shall be watered. No lawns or flowers shall receive water. For internal decoration, only plastic and dry-flower arrangements shall be permitted.

5. Bathing in the morning is limited to 5 litres of water per day per person while bathing in the evening is banned unless there are medical reasons. Evidence of medical reasons should be provided from a qualified health worker. Ladies in the monthly Ps shall be allowed to use an extra litre in the evening for those areas only.

6. All security lights should be removed with immediate effect. The guard services have been terminated and in place all dependants shall abide by an all-night guard-duty roster I shall make available shortly.

7. No dependant shall entertain friends indoors, far less attempt to offer food, drinks or even music. Those who want their guests to listen to music shall sing for them.

8. To further reduce food costs, all dependants without due reason for being in Kampala are required to board the first bus tomorrow next morning. Don't ask for transport.

9. Anybody who breaks a glass, furniture or any other property in the house, shall immediately have to seek temporary employment somewhere to earn money to replace such broken item(s).

10. All visitors intending to spend a night/week or more shall apply in triplicate and give two months notice, with an endorsement from their MP, clan head, their religious leader clearly giving convincing reasons why they can't stay at their homes. Failure to do this shall result in their being turned away, at the gate, upon arrival.

11. Domestic animals like dogs and cats shall also have their food rations reduced and no meat shall be provided. They have to learn to eat some grass to supplement their diet.

All guests are subject to tax upon arrival at the gate.


Signed: DAD

Chairman of Home Affairs

PLEASE NOTE: And you have to choose between (Posho or Cassava or Sweet Potatoes) NOT ALL THE THREE OR EVEN TWO.



Note: Not being the original author of this, I posted it here because of the way it captures the serious situation--the current economic hard times--in a hilarious way. We can still laugh despite the tears. Thanks to the person who sent it to me and credit to the author whom I don't know

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Why does marriage go haywire?

by Isaac Kalembe

I've just been discussing with colleagues over why relations (especially married life) finally go haywire. Here is my position:

1. Marriage is the most difficult institution.

2. There are few genuinely happily married couples.

3. Since marriage is a treacherous territory, the foundation of a happy marriage is love, trust and faithfulness.

Those three ingredients should be there from the word go.

Love: By love I mean the ability to be selfless in anything in relationship to the other person (s). Look beyond the physical appearance of your spouse (beauty/handsomeness), social status, connections, etc. Look at the inner person (character and personality). Ask yourself: "Is this the man/woman I'd like to spend the rest of my life with?

Compromise: You should be able to compromise, forgive and tolerate. It's impossible to get a clone, or a person with 100% of your likes and dislikes. But if s/he can meet at least 70% of your values/likes, then go for it.

Trust: Give the benefit of the doubt to your spouse. Believe what they tell you. Avoid spying on them or trying to find out what they do in their private time or even at their place of work. Don't even entertain rumours about them. Try to keep what you do to yourself.

Faithful: Be faithful to him/her. But remember, we are not angels, but human beings. Humans are fallible - have weaknesses and make mistakes (including lust, infatuation, or even cheating)! Being faithful does not mean you don't have your doubts about your lover/spouse. But simply treat them as such (Ekyotarozire tikikuruma-that's our Runyakitara proverb).

Timing: Do not rush to marry; take your time. It's not advisable to marry in teenage or adolescence age. You should be at least 27 years and above. For men, it's preferable to marry in 30+ (35 is better). Do not marry your agemate. There should be at least a gap of 5-7 years.

Similarly, grow with age and experience. Experience is the best teacher. As you grow, your perspective and values change. For instance, should you divorce your spouse because they have cheated on you? Or, is sex the be-all and end-all of marriage? Certainly yes, buy one's answer will vary depending on your age and experience.

True, humans are, by nature, selfish. Nobody would wish to share their spouse/fiancee with another person (I stand to be corrected as we've a few exceptions, for example, okurirana (sharing of spouses among close family members or clan/tribemates) in Western Uganda or the Tooro adage: omusaija tayangwa...literally a woman should respond favourably to any man's advance). But such liberalism is not good and merely an exception.

Cautious: Always think through your actions or intended actions. Do not act on impulse (emotionally) or under influence (alcohol, drugs, peer pressure, propaganda, etc). Act in a sane and mature way.

Responsibility: Own up to your actions. Always accept the outcome of your actions whether they are positive or negative, good or bad. There is little need to regret anything you do. But, if it's adverse, act honourably: confess, recant and ask for forgiveness genuinely. Even if the other person may not forgive you, it will clear your conscience. And, pray over it. By the way, prayer should be at the forefront of your plans and actions.

Morality: Morality and religion go together. Try to lead a morally-upright life. By this I mean, do not be a bad person; be good to others and to yourself. This rhymes with my definition of love above. Avoid doing evil (but do not confuse evil with human weaknesses/follies - things that any human being is culpable of, for example, lying, sex, anger, hunger, crying, or any form of emotional breakdown at one point or another). That's why I do not subscribe to such practices as celibacy (leading a sexless life) - yes, one can abstain, but not leave without sex. Similarly, one can fast, but not live on an empty stomach). That tantamounts to suicide! I do not believe in virginity/chastity beyond marriage age (35+).

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Flashback: When Patriotism was the Catch Word

A few years ago, when I was a columnist for an upstart weekly newspaper called The Manager, I wrote this article for People and Power (which was the name of my short-lived column). With the just-elected MPs tabling issues of their emoluments as the first business to be considered and the Speaker and her deputy getting Shs 800m (US$334,700.03) cars in the same week, I chanced upon this piece in my archive.

How pertinent it is in light of the fact that in Uganda, even the best intentions are belied by the spectre of the monetary benefit that rears its ugly head!

Does Patriotism Drive Need A Budget?
by Mwesigye Gumisiriza

When President Yoweri Museveni embarked on a country-wide tour to revive, according to him, the spirit of patriotism among Ugandans, he sparked off a huge debate on the subject. He defined a patriot as one who loves Uganda and Africa, promotes the East African federation, protects the environment and takes care of himself or herself.

Views for and against have been expressed in various fora on its definition, whether Museveni is the appropriate person to spearhead this initiative or the best example of patriotism but perhaps most significant is whether it can be or should be taught in schools. Secondary school students and teachers are the target group for the patriotism lectures and for the establishment of patriotism clubs. “Teaching children to love their country and its citizens…will promote patriotism”, Museveni argues. Starting off in Arua where he met teachers from the West Nile region, he has toured different areas including Lango, Acholi, Teso, Busoga, Mukono, Luwero and western Uganda.

As the debate continued, this week, government requested the parliament to approve Shs. 3.5 billion for the purpose of teaching patriotism in schools across the country and putting in place the necessary mechanisms to support this. Also, in the vote, there is Shs. 1 billion to fund a proposed Patriotism Secretariat to be established under the Ministry of Security while Shs. 2.5 billion is to be spent on lectures and clubs in schools.

Interestingly, though the money is to be spent by this Ministry, the funds were requested through the Ministry of Education and Sports.
“I want the money to remain where it is because that will help us work together with the other ministries”, said the Education Minister, Namirembe Bitamizire, as she defended this arrangement that raised eyebrows while appearing before the members of the Social Services Committee. However, this was not enough to convince the Committee who expressed their misgivings. These include whether Ugandans were aware of what the patriotism lectures entailed, whether if membership to the club is voluntary it is worthwhile, and whether the money would not be misappropriated.

Concerns are heightened by the fact that the Ministry of Security has no budget line, the Minister, Amama Mbabazi, is also the Secretary General of NRM—the National Resistance Movement and has accompanied the President on the patriotism tours. In addition, precedent has shown that accountability for funds spent under the ‘security’ tag tends to be ‘classified’ and hidden from scrutiny.

Furthermore, the President’s patriotism crusade has not inclusive, assuming partisan overtones as he justified his current pet theme. While in Masaka, Museveni said, “The liberation of Uganda was done by patriots, everybody should remember that...We the patriots said, we cannot give up Uganda, and we fought”. This is a definite reference to what is known as the Bush War that the then National Resistance Army (NRA) waged between 1981 and 1986, mostly from the infamous Luwero Triangle.

Col. Kizza Besigye, who was part of this Bush War but now leader of the main opposition party, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), has criticised the President over the patriotism campaign. The FDC are reported to have embarked on similar drive to counter it on a tour that will take them to Bunyoro, Kigezi, Tororo, Ankole including eastern and northern parts of Uganda.

Beti Kamya, a member of the party, in an article published in one of the newspapers, while alluding to the biblical Moses who grew up as an Egyptian prince but on discovering his Jewish parentage turned his back on a privileged lifestyle and sided with the enslaved Jews, argued that patriotism is inborn. She further wrote that patriotism cannot be budget-driven while drawing parallel to the voluntary but vibrant Nkobazambogo, Akalib’akendo and Ssubi lya Buganda groups that bring together Baganda students in tertiary institutions and secondary and primary schools respectively.

President of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Bidandi Ssali, one of those who formed Uganda Patriotic Movement (UPM) with Museveni to contest in the 1980 elections, says a patriot should be ready to serve at no cost.
Ironically, in Masaka, Museveni pointed out, “We did not fight for a salary. Who was paying us?” So, the question that Ugandans may be asking themselves is why does the government need Shs 3.5 billion that will mostly end up in paying salaries, per diem allowances, fuel and other costs to make us love our country more?

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Book Review: Mind, Man and the Spirits

Title: Mind, Man and the Spirits: Man's Desperate Search for Meaning in Intellectualism, Mysticism and the Occult
Author: J. Stafford Wright
Pages: 160
Publisher: The Pasternoster Press
Reviewer: Mwesigye Gumisiriza

The author starts off by navigating through the varying explanations of what the mind is, the unconscious and subconscious as well as its relationship with the body, time and space. He also explores these definitions in the different branches of psychology and psychiatry and the varying schools of thought.

This lays the basis for the book to delve deeper into phenomena such as miracles, occultism, spiritualism, ghosts, angels and demons, reincarnation, telepathy, clairvoyance (what is known as sixth sense), to mention but a few. Being subjects that have, and continue to provoke, a lot of debate and fuel controversy, evidence and scientific experiments which have been carried to investigate them are cited from a variety of sources.

Wright puts in his own perspective, drawing from a Christian or Biblical context, in such a way that is not overbearing, preachy or self-righteous. Instead he writes in such a way that welcomes further debate and discussion and with the view that even after the book is published, further advances in the field will bring more knowledge. This is an interesting read for the kind of person interested in such issues otherwise it may a difficult read (or even boring) for the average book aficionado.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Book Review: Making Sense of Social Policy in Uganda

Title: Social Policy: The Integrated Approach to Social Development
Author: George Muriisa Zirimu
Pages: xvi+331
Publisher: Makerere University Printery
Reviewer: Mwesigye Gumisiriza

Available at leading bookshops

How to bring about the kind of development that ensures equitable benefits for all groups within a society is a complex issue that spurs debate, discussion and controversy. The government, through its ministries and departments as well as various agencies, uses several approaches to realise this goal.

Policy is the guideline on how government and the other institutional actors would facilitate development and address the problems that hinder it. But in defining what policy is, the author draws from different authorities on the subject to build on his presentation of social policy, which is the main topic of the book. By his admission, “Defining policy is not an easy exercise. What makes it difficult is partly because of its dependence of one policy area on the others, for example, social policy is related to health policy, employment policy, education policy...” He concurs with many others that “defining policy is still contentious as it lacks consensus”.

However, the complexity and diversity of policy, in general, and social policy, in particular, does not prevent him from delving into making it clear for the users of this book, amidst the range of view points from a number of social scientists that they may already be familiar with. To this end, he concludes that most of the definitions contain three aspects: to promote welfare, have both economic and non-economic objectives, and involve some measure of redistribution.

The first six chapters are focused on defining social policy, explaining the different concepts and theories and exploring the myriad of factors that impact on it. Through this, a firm basis is set to understand the later chapters that tackle the social policy that has been formulated to address social problems, provide social needs, ensure resource distribution and enhance service delivery within the Ugandan context.

There are numerous cases, examples and statistics that are used to illustrate this. But these practical examples only come from the period starting 1986, that is the time that the National Resistance Movement has been in government. May be it is because the author is a civil servant and thus restricted himself to this period so that he is not misinterpreted as giving credit to previous governments’ efforts. This book would have benefited from case studies that cover how the various governments in Uganda, from colonial to post-colonial, have handled social policy. Needless to say, the readers would appreciate that too.

There are a few factual errors, which though minor, that should be corrected in a second edition because the tremendous amount of work that the author put in to write a book on such a contentious complex subject cannot be discounted. For instance, the development of the Millennium Development Goals are attributed to G8—the grouping of the eight most industrialised countries (pg 10) yet these were formulated by the United Nations organisation. Also, in listing some of the organisations that involved in work in the HIV/Aids area (pg 168), Mildmay is referred to as “Maldmay Medical Centre”, which is not even its full name either.

Otherwise, the book is very helpful to not only students of development studies, social sciences and management, the practitioners and the policy makers but also to anyone who seeks to understand how inequality in societies like Uganda can be corrected. As most of the publications on social policy in university libraries are from the developed countries’ perspective, Dr George Zirimu is commended for adding one that is more in tune with our situation.

This review was published in Saturday Monitor 18 June 2011, check it here

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Worlds Collide in a Luxury Suite

by Rebecca Solnit
Source: Huffington Post website

How can I tell a story we already know too well? Her name was Africa. His was France. He colonized her, exploited her, silenced her, and even decades after it was supposed to have ended, still acted with a high hand in resolving her affairs in places like Côte d’Ivoire, a name she had been given because of her export products, not her own identity.

Her name was Asia. His was Europe. Her name was silence. His was power. Her name was poverty. His was wealth. Her name was Her, but what was hers? His name was His, and he presumed everything was his, including her, and he thought he could take her without asking and without consequences. It was a very old story, though its outcome had been changing a little in recent decades. And this time around the consequences are shaking a lot of foundations, all of which clearly needed shaking.

Who would ever write a fable as obvious, as heavy-handed as the story we’ve just been given? The extraordinarily powerful head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a global organization that has created mass poverty and economic injustice, allegedly assaulted a hotel maid, an immigrant from Africa, in a hotel’s luxury suite in New York City.

Worlds have collided. In an earlier era, her word would have been worthless against his and she might not have filed charges, or the police might not have followed through and yanked Dominique Strauss-Kahn off the plane to Paris at the last moment. But she did, and they did, and now he’s in custody, and the economy of Europe has been dealt a blow, and French politics have been upended, and that nation is reeling and soul-searching.

What were they thinking, these men who decided to give him this singular position of power, despite all the stories and evidence of such viciousness? What was he thinking when he decided he could get away with it? Did he think he was in France, where apparently he did get away with it? Only now is the young woman who says he assaulted her in 2002 pressing charges -- her own politician mother talked her out of it, and she worried about the impact it could have on her journalistic career (while her mother was apparently worrying more about his career).

And the Guardian reports that these stories “have added weight to claims by Piroska Nagy, a Hungarian-born economist, that the fund's director engaged in sustained harassment when she was working at the IMF that left her feeling she had little choice but to agree to sleep with him at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2008. She alleged he persistently called and emailed on the pretext of asking questions about [her expertise,] Ghana's economy, but then used sexual language and asked her out.”

In some accounts, the woman Strauss-Kahn is charged with assaulting in New York is from Ghana, in others a Muslim from nearby Guinea. “Ghana -- Prisoner of the IMF” ran a headline in 2001 by the usually mild-mannered BBC. Its report documented the way the IMF’s policies had destroyed that rice-growing nation’s food security, opening it up to cheap imported U.S. rice, and plunging the country’s majority into dire poverty.

Everything became a commodity for which you had to pay, from using a toilet to getting a bucket of water, and many could not pay. Perhaps it would be too perfect if she was a refugee from the IMF’s policies in Ghana. Guinea, on the other hand, liberated itself from the IMF management thanks to the discovery of major oil reserves, but remains a country of severe corruption and economic disparity.

Pimping for the Global North
There’s an axiom evolutionary biologists used to like: “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny,” or the development of the embryonic individual repeats that of its species’ evolution. Does the ontogeny of this alleged assault echo the phylogeny of the International Monetary Fund? After all, the organization was founded late in World War II as part of the notorious Bretton Woods conference that would impose American economic visions on the rest of the world.

The IMF was meant to be a lending institution to help countries develop, but by the 1980s it had become an organization with an ideology -- free trade and free-market fundamentalism. It used its loans to gain enormous power over the economies and policies of nations throughout the global South.

However, if the IMF gained power throughout the 1990s, it began losing that power in the twenty-first century, thanks to powerful popular resistance to the economic policies it embodied and the economic collapse such policies produced. Strauss-Kahn was brought in to salvage the wreckage of an organization that, in 2008, had to sell off its gold reserves and reinvent its mission.

Her name was Africa. His name was IMF. He set her up to be pillaged, to go without health care, to starve. He laid waste to her to enrich his friends. Her name was Global South. His name was Washington Consensus. But his winning streak was running out and her star was rising.

It was the IMF that created the economic conditions that destroyed the Argentinian economy by 2001, and it was the revolt against the IMF (among other neoliberal forces) that prompted Latin America’s rebirth over the past decade. Whatever you think of Hugo Chavez, it was loans from oil-rich Venezuela that allowed Argentina to pay off its IMF loans early so that it could set its own saner economic policies.
The IMF was a predatory force, opening developing countries up to economic assaults from the wealthy North and powerful transnational corporations. It was a pimp. Maybe it still is.

But since the Seattle anti-corporate demonstrations of 1999 set a global movement alight, there has been a revolt against it, and those forces have won in Latin America, changing the framework of all economic debates to come and enriching our imaginations when it comes to economies and possibilities.

Today, the IMF is a mess, the World Trade Organization largely sidelined, NAFTA almost universally reviled, the Free Trade Area of the Americas cancelled (though bilateral free-trade agreements continue), and much of the world has learned a great deal from the decade’s crash course in economic policy.

Strangers on a Train
The New York Times reported it this way:
"As the impact of Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s predicament hit home, others, including some in the news media, began to reveal accounts, long suppressed or anonymous, of what they called Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s previously predatory behavior toward women and his aggressive sexual pursuit of them, from students and journalists to subordinates."
In other words, he created an atmosphere that was uncomfortable or dangerous for women, which would be one thing if he were working in, say, a small office. But that a man who controls some part of the fate of the world apparently devoted his energies to generating fear, misery, and injustice around him says something about the shape of our world and the values of the nations and institutions that tolerated his behavior and that of men like him.

The United States has not been short on sex scandals of late, and they reek of the same arrogance, but they were at least consensual (as far as we know). The head of the IMF is charged with sexual assault. If that term confuses you take out the word “sexual” and just focus on “assault,” on violence, on the refusal to treat someone as a human being, on the denial of the most basic of human rights, the right to bodily integrity and corporeal safety. “The rights of man” was one of the great phrases of the French Revolution, but it’s always been questionable whether it included the rights of women.

The United States has a hundred million flaws, but I am proud that the police believed this woman and that she will have her day in court. I am gratified this time not to be in a country which has decided that the career of a powerful man or the fate of an international institution matters more than this woman and her rights and wellbeing. This is what we mean by democracy: that everyone has a voice, that no one gets away with things just because of their wealth, power, race, or gender.

Two days before Strauss-Kahn allegedly emerged from that hotel bathroom naked, there was a big demonstration in New York City. “Make Wall Street Pay” was the theme and union workers, radicals, the unemployed, and more -- 20,000 people -- gathered to protest the economic assault in this country that is creating such suffering and deprivation for the many -- and obscene wealth for the few.

I attended. On the crowded subway car back to Brooklyn afterwards, the youngest of my three female companions had her bottom groped by a man about Strauss-Kahn’s age. At first, she thought he had simply bumped into her. That was before she felt her buttock being cupped and said something to me, as young women often do, tentatively, quietly, as though it were perhaps not happening or perhaps not quite a problem.

Finally, she glared at him and told him to stop. I was reminded of a moment when I was an impoverished seventeen-year-old living in Paris and some geezer grabbed my ass. It was perhaps my most American moment in France, then the land of a thousand disdainful gropers; American because I was carrying three grapefruits, a precious purchase from my small collection of funds, and I threw those grapefruits, one after another, like baseballs at the creep and had the satisfaction of watching him scuttle into the night.

His action, like so much sexual violence against women, was undoubtedly meant to be a reminder that this world was not mine, that my rights -- my liberté, egalité, sororité, if you will -- didn’t matter. Except that I had sent him running in a barrage of fruit. And Dominique Strauss-Kahn got pulled off a plane to answer to justice. Still, that a friend of mine got groped on her way back from a march about justice makes it clear how much there still is to be done.

The Poor Starve, While the Rich Eat Their Words
What makes the sex scandal that broke open last week so resonant is the way the alleged assailant and victim model larger relationships around the world, starting with the IMF’s assault on the poor. That assault is part of the great class war of our era, in which the rich and their proxies in government have endeavored to aggrandize their holdings at the expense of the rest of us.

Poor countries in the developing world paid first, but the rest of us are paying now, as those policies and the suffering they impose come home to roost via right-wing economics that savages unions, education systems, the environment, and programs for the poor, disabled, and elderly in the name of privatization, free markets, and tax cuts.

In one of the more remarkable apologies of our era, Bill Clinton -- who had his own sex scandal once upon a time -- told the United Nations on World Food Day in October 2008, as the global economy was melting down:“We need the World Bank, the IMF, all the big foundations, and all the governments to admit that, for 30 years, we all blew it, including me when I was President. We were wrong to believe that food was like some other product in international trade, and we all have to go back to a more responsible and sustainable form of agriculture.”

He said it even more bluntly last year:
“Since 1981, the United States has followed a policy, until the last year or so when we started rethinking it, that we rich countries that produce a lot of food should sell it to poor countries and relieve them of the burden of producing their own food, so, thank goodness, they can leap directly into the industrial era. It has not worked. It may have been good for some of my farmers in Arkansas, but it has not worked. It was a mistake. It was a mistake that I was a party to. I am not pointing the finger at anybody. I did that. I have to live every day with the consequences of the lost capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti to feed those people, because of what I did.”

Clinton’s admissions were on a level with former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s 2008 admission that the premise of his economic politics was wrong. The former policies and those of the IMF, World Bank, and free-trade fundamentalists had created poverty, suffering, hunger, and death. We have learned, most of us, and the world has changed remarkably since the day when those who opposed free-market fundamentalism were labeled “flat-earth advocates, protectionist trade unions, and yuppies looking for their 1960's fix,” in the mortal words of Thomas Friedman, later eaten.

A remarkable thing happened after the devastating Haitian earthquake last year: the IMF under Strauss-Kahn planned to use the vulnerability of that country to force new loans on it with the usual terms. Activists reacted to a plan guaranteed to increase the indebtedness of a nation already crippled by the kind of neoliberal policies for which Clinton belatedly apologized. The IMF blinked, stepped back, and agreed to cancel Haiti’s existing debt to the organization. It was a remarkable victory for informed activism.

Powers of the Powerless
It looks as though a hotel maid may end the career of one of the most powerful men in the world, or rather that he will have ended it himself by discounting the rights and humanity of that worker. Pretty much the same thing happened to Meg Whitman, the former E-Bay billionaire who ran for governor of California last year. She leapt on the conservative bandwagon by attacking undocumented immigrants -- until it turned out that she had herself long employed one, Nickie Diaz, as a housekeeper.

When, after nine years, it had become politically inconvenient to keep Diaz around, she fired the woman abruptly, claimed she’d never known her employee was undocumented, and refused to pay her final wages. In other words, Whitman was willing to spend $140 million on her campaign, but may have brought herself down thanks, in part, to $6,210 in unpaid wages.

Diaz said, "I felt like she was throwing me away like a piece of garbage." The garbage had a voice, the California Nurses Union amplified it, and California was spared domination by a billionaire whose policies would have further brutalized the poor and impoverished the middle class.

The struggles for justice of an undocumented housekeeper and an immigrant hotel maid are microcosms of the great world war of our time. If Nickie Diaz and the battle over last year’s IMF loans to Haiti demonstrate anything, it’s that the outcome is uncertain. Sometimes we win the skirmishes, but the war continues.

So much remains to be known about what happened in that expensive hotel suite in Manhattan last week, but what we do know is this: a genuine class war is being fought openly in our time, and last week, a so-called socialist put himself on the wrong side of it.

His name was privilege, but hers was possibility. His was the same old story, but hers was a new one about the possibility of changing a story that remains unfinished, that includes all of us, that matters so much, that we will watch, but also make and tell in the weeks, months, years, decades to come.

Rebecca Solnit is the author of 13 books, including A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disasters and Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Despite economic growth, Africa still lacks industries

Many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa like Uganda have been posting impressive rates of economic growth over the past decade and experiencing increasing urbanisation, but the pace of industrialisation has remained slow.

And despite investments in infrastructure like roads and the spread of modern technologies like mobile telephony, several African countries have largely remained exporters of primary commodities. In many cases, labour has moved from more productive roles to less productive ones. These were some of the findings by studies carried out under the International Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

“Economic growth ultimately stems from rising productivity within different sectors of the economy and directing a country’s limited resources, including its labour force, to increasingly productive activities,” observed Ms Margaret McMillan, a deputy director at IFPRI.

Other than Uganda, the studies covered Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique and Nigeria. Highlights from the Ugandan study showed that agriculture was the biggest employer—involving up to 85 per cent of the population, thus the largest source of income and livelihood, though the sector’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) had declined to just 20 per cent. Compared to other sectors, agriculture has continued to remain sluggish but a source of the most of the export earnings. In this, the role of exports of fish, flowers and other horticultural products was significant.

With the shrinking of agriculture’s contribution to GDP, the services sector, which has benefited from foreign investment and remittances from abroad, has filled the gap. But it was noted that in spite of the increased value, the number of Ugandans employed in the sector had in fact declined over the last 10 years.

Another factor pointed out was the high population rate. At 3.4 per cent, Uganda has one of the highest population growth rates in the world. Interestingly, this was surpassed by urban growth that increased at 5.4 per cent between 1991 and 2002. One of the conclusions that the researchers arrived at was: “The high population growth rate of Uganda poses an immense challenge for Uganda’s economic development. The increasing number of Ugandans engaged in agriculture is more a reflection of the inability of the more modern sectors of the economy to provide adequate employment for the many Ugandans entering the workforce every year”

The research paper, titled Rural-Urban Transformation in Uganda, was written by Paul Mukwaya, Yazidhi Bamutaze, Samuel Mugarura and Todd Benson. The paper was presented at an international conference that was held in Accra, Ghana, from 10-11 May 2011. It was jointly organised by IFPRI and University of Ghana. The event focused on the opportunities and obstacles in transforming African economies and the policy implications. There was also comparison of lessons learned from other developing regions—Asia and Latin America.

“Industrialisation and urbanisation tend to go hand-in-hand with economic development,” In his remarks, Dr Shenggen Fan, director general of IFPRI, noted in his remarks, “Without appropriate policies, sufficient public investments in infrastructure, and adequate provision of critical social services, these changes will not necessarily accelerate economic growth or improve human welfare. However, if these concerns are taken into account, the transformation of national economies will no doubt have a huge and positive impact on Africa’s future.”

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

“My civil protest against Museveni”: A voice in the wilderness?

by Benji Ndolo

Tuesday, May 3 2011

Mr Benji Ndolo, a consultant with several Kenyan Civil societies was over the weekend whisked away from a Nairobi hotel where President Yoweri Museveni addressed a forum ‘Mindspeak’ because he had booed the Ugandan President. Below are his reasons for his civil protest.

“On Saturday 30 April I arrived at the Intercontinental hotel to interact and share with other Kenyan professionals from the private sector, civil society and media. The name of the forum was mind speak an annual event.

Prior to the president’s arrival, speaker after speaker took to the podium and waxed lyrical about the importance of Kenya getting a grip on its affairs and positioning itself in its rightful place in the world by first getting serious about good governance, clean politics, eliminating tribalism and strengthening the economy and democracy.

The Swiss ambassador explained that his own country faced a similar economic and food crisis a century ago. They had to think hard about what to do to create a just society. A small Swiss minority was fabulously wealthy while a large majority was going hungry at the same time.

After a coffee break courtesy of Nation Group CEO Linus Gitahi who paid out of pocket because it was unplanned for the president to take 3 hours to arrive, Museveni finally walked in accompanied by PNU metropolitan development minister Njeru Githae.

The president was relaxed and begun his speech on Economic Rights and Social Transformation with an analogy about insects and their metamorphosis from egg to pupa, larvae to adult. The president was affable. But it is important to define Museveni.

After decades of terror and rampage occasioned on Ugandans by Idi Amin Dada and Milton Obote, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni then a young soldier fought a guerilla war to power restoring Ugandans’ collective dignity and returning the country to normalcy and decency. But that was 25 years ago.

Slowly but surely, President Museveni has begun his slide back down the path of intolerance and dictatorship. For the past one month, Ugandan forces have systematically and consistently brutalised unarmed men and women walking to work to protest against the very high cost of living because of sky-high food and fuel prices.

Of course there is a political component to these protests given that they are even led by his opponent, Dr Kizza Besigye, but does that justify beatings, shootings and spraying human skin and eyes with copious amounts of acidic pepper?

As I sat listening to Museveni crack jokes and the audience roaring in laughter, I realised that the whole event was too casual and that for a fact a victim of Museveni’s brutality was admitted at Nairobi Hospital 7 minutes' drive from where we were sitting, going blind. Our attendance of Museveni’s forum was dignifying him and giving him aid and comfort. Initially, I felt I should walk out. But to just stand up and walk out alone as a Head of State speaks, constitutes a security breach and does not say much. Or they would think perhaps because I wasn’t feeling well, or was pressed for a short bathroom call. I stayed calm. But as the president spoke, and paused, I interjected.

“Mr President, it’s very difficult for us to sit here and listen to you as Kenyans when daily you are brutalising innocent, unarmed Ugandans. Why are you allowing this Sir…” I was swiftly apprehended by four officers and bundled into a GK Land Rover outside.

Several of my friends subsequently called and opined that it may have been better to wait for the Q&A session and confront Museveni with ideas. But that argument misses the point. The whole point of a civil protest is to necessitate change not to accommodate. I was sending a strong message to the President of Uganda and to the people of Uganda that Kenyans are democratic and won’t stand for human rights abuses.

We can only move our countries and region forward by embracing dialogue, tolerance, principle and integrity. Not by military violence, propaganda and platitudes. Top on my mind was the fact that the Ugandan president was present at Uhuru Park when we promulgated our Constitution last year, a progressive document which is very strong on justice, fairness and individual rights and freedoms enshrined in Article 33.

I explained to the police that our president is not perfect but he’s a democrat and doesn’t batter protestors. I strongly feel that President Museveni by battering Ugandans is betraying the ideals of our common humanity, is at odds with principles of Uganda, Kenya the region and the world. It is the same thing Gaddafi stands accused of today in the court of public opinion and possibly soon in a legal court as well.

The Kenyan police treated me professionally and well. But one senior officer labouriously explained that I shouldn’t try to be “Jesus” as the world is a difficult place and poor people will always be there. Regretfully, this may be conventional wisdom in the establishment. After being released without being charged, I watched an angry Museveni berate a stoic and composed Linus Kaikai during an interview where he called the journalist “the evangelist of civilisation”. I must say that was some quality journalism from Mr Kaikai.

The challenges of the Third World are well known and documented and will never be solved by posturing, deceit or cheap tribal politics. Rather, it will take selfless leadership, sacrifice and commitment on the part of leadership to inspire Africans, implement good policy and bring fresh ideas to create opportunity and lift the masses out of poverty and desperation.

I remember after the Madoff trial in New York last year, his wife was informed by a hair stylist that she was not welcome to the salon any more because of all the suffering her family had caused by fleecing citizens. I have no ill-will toward the president. I respect him as an elder statesman and like a father. But we must not tolerate bad behaviour from a councillor, governor or president. We must stand for truth, say what we mean and mean what we say. On Saturday, I expressed my displeasure with the goings-on in Uganda. At the risk of irritating comrades in attendance at mindspeak, I stood up for democracy. I spoke my mind. I have no regrets.

Story was published at