Was it the last election when the Monitor radio signal was blocked, and the website taken off air, for announcing results which were significantly different from the 'official' ones? Well, this election, Kampala feels like a city under siege, with combat troops on every street corner, guns ready. Actually, I was through the city. It was closed. Literally. People expected violence, which did not materialise. Praise the deities.
The media houses are disciplined. Of course, we are fearing to text things like Mubarak, Egypt, and people power. We are all glued to the TVs and radio stations, which are confidently declaring the same narative. The return of the incumbent. Sweeping wins by the ruling party. The President is winning with more than 70% of the vote. The city is in virtual lockdown with troops on every street corner. The ruling party is on course to take a 3/4 constitution changing majority in parliament.
Now, I am a rebel. I do rebel at such control. And, I am taking this one shot at daring to do what is 'forbidden'. Of course, the short text below is not going to come from my phone, since it would be interecepted. And, I might spend the night in prison. FYI, my neighbour, the one who went to the police to testify to an incident of ballot box stuffing (well, he saw the incident, someone stuffing the box for the candidate for the ruling party), the dude ended up staying the night as a guest of the state. And, he is still there. Poor dude. The police do have their orders!
So, my short text. Of innocent words.
Remember Egypt. Remember Mubarak. At the last election in Egypt, then President Mubarak swept the polls with 83% of the vote. What a fantastic achievement.
With that, I end my political commentary. ---------
I love real experimentation at democracy. That system of governance which tries to take into account the will of the people. Of course, democracy, like any ideal, can be corrupted. Remember the referendums in Saddam's Iraq, when he used to win more than 99.9% of the votes? Wonderful, wasnt it?
What I was actually talking about is that the will of the people, and the wishes of the individual, especially the minority, may contrast and clash. Here is a compromise that happened in the US.
The issue was what the 'conscience' of a person may allow them to do, and not to do. The Bush administration thought that conscience is so important that people should be allowed their right to conscience. To discriminate.
I know. I am wary of such reasoning. Because, even my own sister will not come to my celebration of 10 years in love with my man. Her conscience does not allow her.
Put such a thing into the law- as the Bush administration did, and funny things can happen.
After two years of struggling to balance the rights of patients against the beliefs of health-care workers, the Obama administration on Friday finally rescinded most of a federal regulation designed to protect those who refuse to provide care they find objectionable on moral or religious grounds.Gosh. That thing makes me cringe. I mean, I am a member of a minority that is despised. In Uganda, you just have to look at images of Pastor Dr. Martin Ssempa spitting in disgust at the mention of us poo poo eaters, for you to understand what that is about. People hate us, just because we are so.
The decision guts one of President George W. Bush's most controversial legacies: a rule that was widely interpreted as shielding workers who refuse to participate in a range of medical services, such as providing birth control pills, caring for gay men with AIDS and performing in-vitro fertilization for lesbians or single women.
Friday's move was seen as an important step in countering that trend, which in recent years had led pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for the emergency contraceptive Plan B, doctors in California to reject a lesbian's request for infertility treatment, and an ambulance driver in Chicago to turn away a woman who needed transportation for an abortion.
"Without the rescission of this regulation, we would see tremendous discrimination against patients based on their behavior and based just on who they are," said Susan Berke Fogel of the National Health Law Program, an advocacy group based in the District. "We would see real people suffer, and more women could die."
The new rule leaves intact only long-standing "conscience" protections for doctors and nurses who do not want to perform abortions or sterilizations. It also retains the process for allowing health workers whose rights are violated to file complaints.
Someone, anonymous, but most likely Ugandan, commented on this blog that they would dare to 'hurt a gay' person because they hate us. That is what the conscience of a mainstream Christian in Uganda tells them. What of denying me a life saving service, because in their conscience, I am a sinner not worth saving? I cringe.
Yes, democracy is good. But, take the huge pinch of salt. Democracy has to be balanced by a robust bill of individual rights. Else us minorities have no place in the world of the majority.
There are some small things which we can consider as huge things. In the personal sphere. You know that Uganda, way back in 1995 enacted a constitutional ammendment banning gay marriage? Well, we were the very first country in the world to do so, using the ruling party's then overwhelming majority in the parliament.
Well. I have been with my partner for ten years.... Yes, I have! And, we are gay. In Uganda. LOL.
Anyway, our relationship cannot be nothing but private. Too dangerous to publish it- but, kuchus know us. And, sometimes, I am embarassed when a friend of ours who is not kuchu finally finds out and they are like, What?! Hey, we cannot go around saying that we are gay, and partners, okay?
Now, we are on facebook. LOL....! And, apparently, I can now say that I am a 'Civil union'. You see, according to the laws of Uganda, we can have a 'common law marriage' after six months, I believe..... Oh, no... it is forbidden by the constitution because we are of the same sex..... LOL.
But, facebook, king of the online world, has gracefully extended acknowledgement of my marital status. So, I am going ahead to update it... Just now!
Now, when you log on to Facebook and edit your profile, you will see "In a civil union" and "In a domestic partnership" on the list of relationship statuses. The president of Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Jarrett Barrios, wrote in a statement, which was noted in a CNN editorial, "By acknowledging the relationships of countless loving and committed same-sex couples in the U.S. and abroad, Facebook has set a new standard of inclusion for social media."I have been there. And, apparently the change has not been effected as yet. Dont worry, Mr Facebook. I am willing to wait a little bit more....! As long as you do it, thanks!
Sigh.... Seems I cannot dodge news and speculation of David Kato on the net. OK. I do have to walk through it. But, you know, like an ache that you sometimes wish you could maybe let go, for some little time? Sorry brother, it still hurts. But, maybe it should. Reminds me that I am human. When I am cut, I hurt.
But, when I think of you forced to shake Martin 'eat da poo poo' Ssempa's hand for the media, I swear I remind myself of my resolve never, ever to do such a thing. For Ssempa. Buturo. Bahati. Male. Never.
But, wise men say never say never. But, NEVER. No. the dudes hate me. For Bahati, I would just have to say that I am a gay person. He would loathe that. For Ssempa, maybe I would spit in my hand first, before giving it to him....
OK. I do get that, maybe our campaign was maybe too pushy? Hell, it was my life on line. Thanks dudes, from outside the country, for pushing that hard for me. I did ask you to push your governments. You did push, and we were lucky, it was stalled. you answered our desperation. Thanks for that.
I will end my surf here. Have been warned of being over garrulous, even when necessary.
Have a lovely weekend.
I dont know whether people here will dare go out in Kampala. Yesterday, they were too scared. I feel like partying, but that needs people to accompany it!