Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cautious Optimism…

Sunday morning. Pearly grey sky, the sun a bright disk of light to the east, peeping through the trees. A cock crows here, and duels with another in the distance. Birds sing in a tree in the near distance.

I have just sneaked out of bed.

The evening was great. Went to a ‘kuchu’ party. Realised that it was the first since the bill was introduced in parliament. The bill, you know.
Was glad to meet others. And of course, we were discussing the bill. Amongst other things.

The party was not so well attended. Not as usual. I think the guys and gals fear exposing themselves. Not at the moment.
Most of those attending were the activists. And, there was a mood of quite elation. Cautious optimism. Maybe, just maybe this bill may not become law.

Do I have reason for that?
I think so. Have reason, that is. Uganda has taken a pounding in the international press. I believe it is a well deserved one. Stupid is as stupid does, and, our leaders have shown a marked degree of stupidity.
Why shouldn’t I point that out? It is true. And, in this world, truth is the one thing that cant really hurt. Ugandan leaders have shown a marked degree of stupidity. And, the country has taken a pounding on the international scene.

Yes, there are gleamers of hope. Nagenda’s article in the Saturday Vision. He is a Presidential adviser, one of some seventy or so. Is he listened to? I don’t know. Is he influential? Maybe. But, for us who have to gaze into the calabash to know the opaque thinking of our government, it was a reason to hope. Most importantly because it was the New Vision which actually published it. It has kept resolutely OUT of the debate.

There is also the article that was posted at the media centre website.

Reason to hope? Maybe.
Fact is, to all intents and purposes, Uganda is a dictatorship. No reason to fear saying that, except that, such candour is more likely to land me in prison than all the shouting about the Anti-Homosexuality bill that I have been making.
I have to tread carefully here.

The President has surrounded himself with a court of yes sayers. He says something, and they all nod their collective heads. He is powerful. He has the army closely knit behind him. The army and the president are one. The police has followed suit. And, the various intelligence units? Well, figure that out.

Problem is, he is showing all the signs and symptoms of Banda of Malawi, and Mugabe of Zimbabwe.
[I have said nothing treasonable there, have I? I mean, I am writing about some famed African leaders…]. He is proudly homophobic. And, if he had not wanted it to, this bill would never have surfaced in parliament. But it did, and it is still there.

But, the pounding in the international press, the apparent stupidity that the whole world sees, and we in Uganda don’t, that is something that concerns Ugandans. We are a vain people. And, ultimately, reason will start to percolate into our collective head.

Cautious optimism. I got the statement that the Vatican made and sent it to Bahati, Nsaba-Buturo, Ssempa, and others, including MP Obua. The co-sponsor of the bill.
Obua replied. He called me a pervert, and linked to the article in the Monitor which said that more than 200 religious leaders in Uganda had backed the government in the anti-homosexual bill.

Funny. The government is currently saying it has no ‘official’ stand on the bill. No one believes that naked lie. But, they continue saying it, like it will deceive anyone.

But, I did take Obua’s point. The public opinion in Uganda is solidly behind the government, and this bill. And, it is those opinions that I have to struggle to change.

Cautious optimism? Yes, indeed. Cautious optimism. Because, ultimately, it is one guy that we have to convince that this thing is hurting his image. Of course it is. But, does he see it?

Remember the story, Hans Christen Andersen, ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’? The emperor is parading through the streets. And the crowds are lauding his beautiful new attire. Who will dare play the child? Who will dare say the emperor is naked?

Well, I will. But, will anyone hear my whisper amongst the shouts of acclaim?



spiralx said...

An article in today's Sunday UK newspaper The Guardian about the wave of anti-gay bigotry leading Africa back into war and hatred:

Anonymous said...

May the world hear your pleas, and listen. My thoughts are with you.

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