The World has been wondering, what in the World is Uganda up to? We’ve read different analyses online in different blogs and talked about it ad nauseam with friends and relatives world wide. Stalwart supporters have vehemently let their views be known citing various religious text, cultural contexts, ancestral spirits… :-) to support the bill. I will not go into detail about the contents of this bill but if you are interested, the full text can be found here.
In the beginning I was one of those who engaged in heated discussion about the bill. I listened to many videos online about it and listened to radio interviews as well. I posted stuff on people’s walls on Facebook hoping that I might be able to change someone’s mind – especially those who stood on the fence.
Then recently something popped up in the news about Uganda and the oil reserves found under Lake Albert. For those unfamiliar with Uganda’s geography, Lake Albert lies on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire) and is considered to be the northernmost lake in the Great Lakes system of the Rift Valley. It is also part of the water system that feeds the Nile River as it makes its way through East Africa, north onwards to the Mediterranean Sea. More info
If anyone asked anyone what the most treasured naturally occurring compound is, the answer would be OIL. Countries are at war because of it. It is very serious business because it has made millionaires of men, put politicians in seats of power world-wide and impoverished nations who deal with the corruption of the two parties (millionaires and politicians).
Recently the news has been abuzz with the story of oil in Uganda’s Lake Albert.
Then it hit me!! I know why Bahati was allowed to run amok with this crazy bill. Museveni’s brilliance continues to amaze me. He’s grown old and grey, but no young spry thing will ever be able to skip around this guy and the things he has planned for himself! We wondered why we didn’t hear the voice of the President loud and clear about this issue. He has not failed to let his opinion known on issues like the war in the North, the issue with the Bafuruki and women owning land. But this time, he has been silent. Silent because while MPs and people who let their brains take an extended break, leaving reason and logic collecting cobwebs and dust, he was scheming. He found someone with money to line his own pockets and buy the silence of those who would put controls in place to protect the Pearl of Africa from the ravages that mining for oil would bring.
An extensive documentary was done on Nigeria and the unfortunate circumstances that have arisen from a corrupt government signing contracts with devious oil companies. Vast water bodies are polluted and land cannot be farmed. Fish are dying, the ecosystem is laid to waste because while the government distracted its people, these mega oil companies came in and did whatever they wanted to do. I watched a documentary similar to this one and my heart broke into a million pieces.
So while Ugandans seek to pass an unacceptable bill with loopholes the size of Jupiter, a bill which will (and has already been proposed) change to suit the times, the corrupt government that has ignored good policy for years, perpetuated an unnecessary war on the North, kept children from getting properly educated and continued to circumvent the rights of women and children, allows foreigners to come in and take advantage of its natural resources.
In my last semester at the University of Kansas my professor invited a construction manager to speak to us about a project he had been involved in. It was in Angola and a number of things he had found unacceptable had happened at that construction site. He was working for a British Petroleum company.
- The usual safety measures that would have been enforced in a country in the Western Hemisphere were not enforced in Angola. Many construction workers were killed on site BUT they were considered dispensible.
- Many of the environmental controls were not enforced because there were government officials who could be bribed. Taking these measures can be expensive and these companies know it. They know how to get around it.
- The materials that were used to construct their office buildings, the oil rigs and roads were IMPORTED from the west. No money was put into the country to buy their considerably cheaper materials.
- Angola has educated engineers, but these oil companies chose to hire construction managers from many different foreign countries whether or not they had experience in the construction of oil rigs.
Do you see where I’m going with this? While we (Ugandans and the rest of the World) hold our collective hairy balls, fighting about who is having sex with whom, governments and companies engage in very corrupt activities to ensure that they and their families will be taken care of for generations to come. We used to call it kaliso liso, or slight of hand, an illusion. While we concentrate on one issue the important thing is going to pass us by coz our attention is else where.
Is Uganda going Nigeria’s way? Absolutely! No one is concerned about the environment, they’re busy listening to preachermonies about homosexual activities in religious establishments while their very life blood is sucked out by Tullow Well.
The issue here is not whether homosexuality should be stomped out by having a bill making the act illegal. Whatever your viewpoint is you’d better keep it, in case it becomes important when St. Peter or Archangel Michael checks the book to find your name (or your 70 virgins have been reduced to only 65). Whatever your view is, that is irrelevant. See past the issue to whatever is driving the madness so you will NEVER be surprised by World events. If you don’t believe me, just watch and see what will happen.
My eyes are open. Are yours?