I\’m jus\’ sayin\’

January 23, 2010

Of hairy balls…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bwandungi @ 4:14 am

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.

Murchison falls, part of the Nile's journey to the Mediteranean sea. Here seen as it flows into Lake Albert.

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.

Article 1: Tullow seeks full control of two Ugandan sites.
Article 2: Huge Oil Deposit found Under Lake Albert
Article 3: Uganda’s Oil Fields are  the best kept secrets in the world

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.

Protesters in Uganda

Protesting Ugandans

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?

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19 Comments »

  1. Very interesting, and certainly worthy of consideration. It is just like when governments decide to stir up racism – creating internal scapegoats to take attention away from the real crimes committed by the truly powerful corporations and political power-brokers.

    Comment by africaanalysis — January 23, 2010 @ 8:45 am | Reply

    • I agree. Whenever these basal conflicts happen we have to look above them!

      Comment by Bwandungi — January 23, 2010 @ 1:14 pm | Reply

  2. I don’t know anyone who has railed against the Bill more than GayUganda (for obvious reasons), and I happen to be doing sufficient amounts of contributions on his blog. Well, more than I do elsewhere.
    But perhaps as much as he blogs about the Bill we should be blogging about the Oil. That’s interesting food for thought.
    (But evil, vile Machiavellians like meself will just be seeking to become one of the profiting band, rather than stopping the profitting. Hehehehehe.)

    Comment by The 27th Comrade — January 23, 2010 @ 9:08 am | Reply

    • You’re a nut 27th. However, if you’re lining your pockets I just have one question. Would you kindly make sure my parents have gas for the rest of their natural lives? (We have pretty long life lines!)

      Comment by Bwandungi — January 23, 2010 @ 1:09 pm | Reply

  3. First I must say that your piece is well researched… and very good reading (sometimes I read your writings and wonder whether we attended the same classes).

    My thoughts below:
    Those who have worked closely with government will tell you how hard it is to do business with government. One has to dissect each meeting, discussion, grant application etc to separate the real issues from the cover ups.

    I can not start to imagine how much time, effort and public resources are being directed into making plans of how best to keep the proceeds of the oil among a chosen few.

    Corruption is so entrenched in our country that it is now the rule and not the exception. In fact a few years ago the advertisement catch phrase for exercise books sold along the streets near the old taxi park was “werela omwaana alye enguzi”.

    When bribery and corruption is the expectation of society from the educated, then you know how deep a nation has sunk. Corruption is no longer frowned at, on the contrary it is upheld – my mind quickly runs to “Seya” (in case I lose some readers, “seya” is the nickname of the now Mayor of Kampala who was imprisoned for issuing fraudulent checks and this same misdeed gave him a sure ticket to the title “His lordship the mayor of Kampala”).

    Corruption and poverty should not overshadow Homosexuality. The extent and the rate at which homosexuality is growing in our country is alarming and therefore we can not afford to shelve it.

    If the bill was drafted to hoodwink the populace while the oil is being smuggled, then this goes along way to confirm the importance, urgency, and sensitivity attached to homosexuality. Homosexuality is a real problem – especially among the youth.

    There is serious recruitment going on in schools!!!!! I know families that have been affected and the children will tell you that it all started at school. The children who have fallen victims are so traumatised because they are engulfed by something they know is wrong but they can not seem to break free. We need to intercede because breaking from this habit by the victims and the protection of those who are still safe will only come from God.

    A few years ago we could have passed the responsibility of interceding and guiding the victims to the adults and the church leadership. As I write this, we are the adults and the church leadership, the buck ends with us.

    Comment by Annette — January 23, 2010 @ 10:34 am | Reply

    • I need some facts concerning the ‘recruitment’. If it wasn’t a buzz word I’ve heard used by homophobes in the west I’d believe you. 😦

      Good thoughts otherwise!

      Comment by Bwandungi — January 23, 2010 @ 1:11 pm | Reply

  4. I could’t agree more. Iam a Post grad researcher in the UK and my area concerns legal issues surrounding the fight against corruption in Uganda. I have been puzzled by the zeal Ugandans have about this current Bill as compared to the half-heartedness, laxity and ambivalence shown towards the real ill that is eating away uganda’s moral fabric i.e corruption. I may hasten to add that while Ugandans are busy planning to ‘execute’ the group they regard as most harmful to the independent Republic, they have left the ‘Tullows’ of this world to decide for them what their economic future income, or lack of it, will be. Ugandans seemed to be less concerned about the contract secrecy surrounding these Oil Contracts, they are oblivious of the commercial disinformation that continues to be propagated through the main press in Uganda concerning profits from oil, are not bothered that government corruption could be exacerbated bythe influx of sudden cash let alone lack of planning for the the economic and environmental distortion new money will cause and that more needs to be done to avert the resource curse that oil can be. Once again thank you for contextualising this Bill around the more pressing issues. I have been scratching my head to find if Iam the only one who sees that there are more issues. Thankfully there are like and better minds.

    Comment by Catherine Bamugemereire — January 24, 2010 @ 12:00 am | Reply

    • Thank you Catherine. I hope more people will find the time to tear their eyes away from Bahati and his bill so they can focus on the other issues. I would be interested in reading about the different things you have come across in your research. Do you publish your papers/research anywhere?

      Comment by Bwandungi — January 24, 2010 @ 5:21 am | Reply

  5. Wow. Thank you for this shocking perspective of the situation. Although, as shocked as I am, I quickly realized that I shouldn’t be. This sort of slight-of-hand is nothing new, yet for some reason the masses keep forgetting about it, just like the Masters of the Universe expect us to while they tool around in their yachts.

    Thanks for the wake up call.

    @ Bwandungi:

    Recruitment in schools? Really? You parrot the anti-gay rhetoric of the American Evangelicals attempting to export their poisonous lies to Africa. How many of these same evangelicals have a financial stake in Turrow Oil? Or Hertitage? Hmmm….

    Comment by Taylor Siluwé — January 24, 2010 @ 6:30 am | Reply

    • Actually Bwandungi is the author of the blog :-).

      I really wish people would allow their brains to work properly. No one has actually ever MET a recruiter. Instead they know someone who knows someone who was recruited. Teenagers experimenting with sex is nothing new, but they believe that the teenagers cannot come up with gay sex on their own. That someone has to be orchestrating it because it is NOT normal.

      Like you I believe that Evangelicals know how to play both sides, stir up trouble while making a serious buck!

      Comment by Bwandungi — January 24, 2010 @ 3:11 pm | Reply

  6. Sorry Bwandungi – I meant Annette. 😉 Easy mistake to make when I’m furious. And this whole subject makes my head explode.

    And yes, teenagers are all about experimenting with sex, its what they do, always. No matter what country they’re in or how religiously oppressed they are. No recruitment necessary. The whole concept would be laughable if they didn’t keep repeating it over and over like an insane mantra. Because we all know that no matter how idiotic a theory is, no matter how irrational and unsupported by ANY facts, keep saying it enough times and the non-thinking masses with believe it and act accordingly.

    Then add to that the “recruitment” of kids into Hilter Youth style death squads and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

    On a Heritage Oil note: The name struck me as familiar to Heritage Foundation and it made me wanna dig deeper. http://www.heritageoilplc.com/directors.cfm

    Of the long list of executives I did a cursory peek at one – Tony Buckingham and discovered this: Mr. Buckingham is the founder of the Group. Mr. Buckingham commenced his involvement in the oil industry as a North Sea diver and subsequently became a concession negotiator acting for several companies including Ranger Oil Limited and Premier Oil plc. He was previously a security adviser to various governments.
    Tony Buckingham is also a “former special forces soldier, who once controlled one of the world’s most high-profile armies,” http://jersey.wantedineurope.com/news/news.php?id_n=4662

    Special Forces people are usually pretty good at manipulating local politics to suit their needs. Hmmm ….

    Comment by Taylor Siluwé — January 24, 2010 @ 6:41 pm | Reply

  7. MY eyes are open..I am wathcin and waitiing…and not too hopeful… 😦

    Comment by ONA — January 25, 2010 @ 8:58 am | Reply

  8. This is an interesting argument and does make sense. It can easily pass as a conspiracy theory but i do not think that Bahati and the team behind him including Stephen Llanga and others are only trying to hoodwink Ugandans from what is happening to our oil

    Yes, Uganda is bedeviled with so many problems like corruption, poverty and the rest. Bahati has stood up for the issue of homosexuality. I am sure that others will rise up and have risen up regarding other issues Unfortunately, we underrate the power of the media in determining what should become the basis of discourse

    Comment by Daniel — January 25, 2010 @ 1:42 pm | Reply

    • No indeed Daniel. Bahati and Langa are just pawns on a larger chess board. I just wish that homosexuality was not the only issue Bahati was standing up for since his constituents are among the poorest in the nation with no public service, no good roads and a dwindling economy. 😦

      Comment by Bwandungi — January 25, 2010 @ 4:11 pm | Reply

  9. Still not too sure about the pawn issue but anything is possible in this world. Bahati has set an example that many an MP will or should now fight hard to beat if they are to remain relevant-FIGHT FOR WHAT YOU BELEIVE IN AND STAND UP-

    I think lets wait to see whether others now have the backbone to stand up for the numerous concerns in our societies. We have too many MP’s around …lets see what they can also bring to the table.

    Chris Baryomunsi brought Female Genital Mutilation which was passed, Bahati brought Homosexuality which is going through the process, I hope we hear one on Poverty soon. To insist that it should have been brought by Bahati instead of any other MP is in my view unnecessary. Each one should play their part-after all we get to pay the for being in that House

    Daniel

    Comment by Daniel — January 25, 2010 @ 4:32 pm | Reply

    • Daniel, maybe I should argue homosexuality as a vice (or not) although I should warn you I am a very emphatic supporter of homosexuals in Uganda and abroad and do not see it the same way that you do.

      This, however, is not the topic of the blog. Neither is Bahati. The main concern is how we allow ourselves to be distracted by one thing while something else happens that is of even more importance (in my opinion). We also tend to forget that these MPs and what not serve US not the other way around. So while you beat down their doors asking for death and life time imprisonment for certain members of the Ugandan community, how about asking them to be accountable concerning the oil in Lake Albert? Why do they have to be mutually exclusive?

      Comment by Bwandungi — January 26, 2010 @ 1:50 am | Reply

  10. Gloria, please do not get me wrong. I agree that the MPs serve us all- that is why i said that we should require of ALL and not SPECIFIC MPs to do their job or to front what we think is an important issue. All i am saying is that i am finding it hard to agree that the Bahati Bill was made to cover up the oil situation in Uganda (unless i misunderstood you in the first place). I too do not support killing people just because we disapprove of what they do – i have very serious concerns with the Bill. I am just pointing out that what is a point of concern to one person or MP, may not be for others. I say this because I have also championed certain causes before (and still do)and have been frustrated and surprised at how people did not care about what i am passionate about. Some have misinterpreted my motives-however genuine they have been-for some other selfish gains. Am happy that the oil question has been brought to the table and indeed we should debate it however, am currently more concerned about the complacent way of ordinary Ugandans especially making corruption part of their lives and they dont seem to care what happens in the public sphere especially when people rip them off. In my view we are on the same page – we might not agree on modus operandi-

    Comment by Daniel — January 26, 2010 @ 12:20 pm | Reply

    • Daniel, only time will tell.

      I still hold that there is no reason why Bahati should suddenly concern himself with the homosexual issue when his constituents live in squalor. Can we then assume that his constituents asked him to address this issue? Is this a personal fight for him that has touched him in some way? Why now and with such fervor? Why not deal with this issue alongside the issues pertaining to the people he represents?

      Complacency is terrible I agree with you, and we’re allowing ourselves to focus only on one issue when there are so many to deal with. Homosexuality is an easy one because people hold strong views towards it, whereas not too many people have sufficient education or understanding of World issues to contemplate the ones that result from the Lake Albert Oil investment.

      Sigh. 😦

      Hopefully some day we will be able to have governments that can multi task.

      Comment by Bwandungi — January 26, 2010 @ 3:51 pm | Reply


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