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Saturday,November 28,2020 13:39 PM

Mr Kony and Mr Mao

By Vision Reporter

Added 13th August 2006 03:00 AM

On Wednesday I couldn’t work out why so many of our citizenry were walking the Kampala streets with raised eyebrows, while carrying The Monitor under their arm or reading it at street corners.
A look at the front page headline seemed to solve the mystery: “Kony wants Mao on his Juba team”

On Wednesday I couldn’t work out why so many of our citizenry were walking the Kampala streets with raised eyebrows, while carrying The Monitor under their arm or reading it at street corners.
A look at the front page headline seemed to solve the mystery: “Kony wants Mao on his Juba team”

John Nagenda

UGANDA’S No1 COLUMNIST.. INFORMED, CONTROVERSIAL AND PROVOCATIVE

On Wednesday I couldn’t work out why so many of our citizenry were walking the Kampala streets with raised eyebrows, while carrying The Monitor under their arm or reading it at street corners.
A look at the front page headline seemed to solve the mystery: “Kony wants Mao on his Juba team”. But would that really surprise perceptive readers, leading to raising of eyebrows?

Surely Mr Mao will dash to any spot which gives him maximum publicity, and Kony was currently very big in news around the world.
In an earlier existence would not Mao have therefore rushed to be in Hitler’s team, or Stalin’s or Pot Pol’s or Bokassa’s or even our homegrown Amin Dada’s? In other words, how would the unspeakable Kony have been any different from the above? And in any case when asked about what some would consider Mao’s latest outrage, he was reported to have had a ready answer: saying he did not rule out accepting to negotiate on Kony’s side if it would help realise a peaceful end to the conflict.

This is mind-boggling stuff for a leader to utter, even Gulu’s LC5 chair, knowing Kony’s terrible actions in the last couple of decades: kidnap, torture, murder, rape, slavery, cannibalism; and more. A complete negation of human rights to non-combatants. But that’s Mao for you. Might he argue that in being part of the Kony entourage he was acting on behalf of Gulu, even Acholiland? That would be to open a true can of worms! Of course Mao’s hope might not be fulfilled any time soon. Thursday brought the expected news that Kony’s LRA had walked out of the Juba talks, demanding that Uganda announces a unilateral ceasefire as the LRA had done.

The terrorist organisation had done so because it felt the net closing in from all directions. Uganda was certainly not going to march to this Kony drum; its reply coming hard on the heels of this latest of Kony jokes: “No!” But added that Cabinet on Wednesday had ruled that no ceasefire would be declared before a comprehensive peace agreement had been signed.
Third Deputy Premier Kivejinja said, “LRA leaders will be foolhardy if they miss this chance…” Army Commander Aronda was even more blunt: “If Kony doesn’t deliver, we shall get back to our usual plan of cracking down on the rebels.” But it is a historical fact that the LRA has never gone through with talks, no matter what they say. It is a ploy to remove immediate pressure. But this time round it has, as well, flashing signals of a massive death wish. So be it!
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Hidden inside the same Monitor as the Mao story was another reason for eyebrows going north towards a receding hairline. This was occasioned by the elegant figure of the US Ambassador daintily holding a cup of tea while castigating corruption in Uganda. That was normal enough, and a grateful nation thanks His Excellency.

This very column has been vocal on the matter. But advice is generally best taken when the givers don’t hide their own failings, or those indeed of their institutions or even countries. It is true Ambassador Steven Browning stated that “… Uganda, along with many other countries, faces a great threat to its society and democratic institutions, and that threat is corruption.” Amen to that; but in “other countries” did he include his own? Why didn’t he say so? And if he didn’t include the US; why not? The level of corruption there, as we are well aware through the media, both inside the US and outside, is well advanced. The government itself has proved not immune. Among other cases pick out VP Cheney and his Haliburton company. Add to this state governments, NGOs and companies big (like Enro) and small. At great length the ambassador lambasted Uganda, but this comes as second nature to those from the mightiest “democracy on earth” (though India would take the title for biggest, yet its lectures to us are very sparse on the ground, God and his holy angels be praised!).

Indeed it is from the Book of Matthew that Jesus preaches, “You hypocrite! First remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck [or mote or splinter] out of your brother’s eye.” Imagine our envoy to Washington P. Kamunanwire lecturing that city like this ambassador. My case rests!
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But let me squeeze in our poor old brother (not old, and certainly not poor!) Wafula Oguttu. Rumours abound that this reasonably candid soul is being roasted alive by his FDC superiors, especially You Know Who! His crime? Telling it the way he sees it as future plans for FDC.

In a recent article he also wondered why Government “spinners” were so interested in his party. “If it is broke mend it.” We are interested in mending FDC; after all it is the major opposition to Government.

But now for the concluding Happy Event. I am being ferried, very comfortably to London, by Fox Searchlight Pictures, distributors of the rapidly hot film, The Last King Of Scotland, shot here a year ago by Cowboy Films. Word is that Fox is putting big money behind it. Picture the excitement of those involved, including, in tiny measure, your columnist.

The Times (of London) has already chosen it to launch its London British Film Institute’s 50th festival. That also will be its European premiere. But don’t fall out of your seat if part of the world premiere is right here in Kampala, Uganda.

Mr Kony and Mr Mao

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