TOP
Monday,September 28,2020 06:32 AM

Tale of two countries

By Vision Reporter

Added 1st March 2008 03:00 AM

IF it wasn’t so hauntingly tragic, we would be tempted to hoot with laughter. Things have been happening in Kenya and Uganda that are so in-credible as to turn logic on its head, not once but again and again. Even seasoned watchers begin worrying they might have gone mad and not been told!

IF it wasn’t so hauntingly tragic, we would be tempted to hoot with laughter. Things have been happening in Kenya and Uganda that are so in-credible as to turn logic on its head, not once but again and again. Even seasoned watchers begin worrying they might have gone mad and not been told!

By John Nagenda

IF it wasn’t so hauntingly tragic, we would be tempted to hoot with laughter. Things have been happening in Kenya and Uganda that are so in-credible as to turn logic on its head, not once but again and again. Even seasoned watchers begin worrying they might have gone mad and not been told!

The Ugandan, Kony, variant has become plain visible (plain as in plains of flat lands or even flat chapattis), its time has become timeless; to coin a word: “squanderable”. The Kenyan variant has still had an urgency about it, calling for no more time to be wasted, for time wasted leads tenfold to the lives lost and destroyed.

And, Eureka, even as those words were being penned, came the great breakthrough! The deal, patiently but tenaciously engineered over the weeks by Kofi Annan (but minutely assisted by others, chief among them ex Tanzanian president Ben Mkapa) was signed, sealed and delivered on Thursday. This is no time to quibble about who, if any, won, and who lost when President Mwai Kibaki and Opposition Leader Raila Odinga signed their names to the Agreement.

Kenya won. The Kenyan leaderships had seemed intent in moving at the leisurely pace denoted in Winston Churchill’s phrase “masterly inactivity”, but surely that master of the rhetoric would have screamed out in sheer agony at seeing how in Kenya his plea was being misinterpreted, and to what terrible effect. Promises that never get hatched are a favourite ploy of Kony’s, next door in Uganda. But surely not with people of learning like President Kibaki and Opposition Leader Odinga! Friday’s Monitor picture said it all.

Annan turns to current AU chairman Kikwete of Tanzania and goes, Whew! Odinga watches Kibaki’s signature like a hawk. By Odinga a dude triumphantly smiles; the one by a resigned Kibaki looks pensive. Mkapa is masterfully inscrutable. Remember this picture in the weeks ahead as details unfold! Now back to our Danteian comedy. While the great minds in Juba sweat over whether the ICC, far away, can or cannot try the unspeakable Kony, his terrorist thugs, whom he has dispatched to the Central African Republic, as if he owns that country, are massacaring innocent citizens there; as well as soldiers of Southern Sudan at the border. Kidnapping rages. But, as if this has no connection with the so-called Juba Talks, normal business continues, to sign a piece of paper. Is it worth the ink on it? Never mind, children, six presidents (the Southern Sudan one makes it seven) will congregate in sweaty Juba to applaud the Peace Agreement. (What peace, what agreement?) My foot! Kony himself won’t show, nor will the majority of his brigands. They will be too busy carving out new territory in the luckless CAR. Where is God?

**********

I was much amused by media reports that the irrepressible Basajjabalaba (“Men See” or more fully: “Men See Trouble”) is demanding a little matter of Sh 20,000,000,000 or more prosaically Twenty billion shillings; but still a cool US$ 11,764,705. Nice work if you can get it, as the old song goes. Why is the animal skins’ man, to humble hotelier to university owner, on this rampage? The Monitor reports him as saying: “If I am to leave Nakasero (market) I must be compensated not less than 20 billion shillings. I have spent a lot on it in terms of compensations and settling the City Council.” What can he mean by “settling the City Council”? The mind boggles! But Mr Basajjabalaba has never thought small.

Might this twenty billion by a strange coincidence be the exact figure he was lent by the Bank of Uganda? Is he hoping to come out of the Market saga with his debt indirectly cleaned by the wave of a court action? I was amused, but hardly surprised! When I first heard some months ago that Basajja might not be allowed to stay at Nakasero, I wrote what would follow. So far it is working out to the letter. What games people play!

**********
Every so often I trawl the pages of the world to bring you some oddities of the human race. Often they shimmer in the obituary pages, especially of the London Telegraph. A wag once said he began every morning on the obituaries and if his name wasn’t there he could safely start on his bacon and eggs.

On Thursday the name that hit me was one William F. Buckley, an influential American conservative with a small and big C. When I lived the year of ’65 in the States, Buckley was the Conservative you loved to hate in the papers and on the television. He was extremely rude to the lefties and liberals, but was dapper of word and delivery. Maddening! On one memorable night he went for the black writer James Baldwin, who had just brought out the striking polemic, The Fire Next Time. Buckley tore into this icon until poor Baldwin wept copiously: terrible behaviour but compelling television. Anyway the monster (today I suspect I would have loved a hot argument with him over a meal and a few glasses!) has now, at 82, joined his Maker.

He was described in the Washington Post some years ago: “He has the eyes of a child who has just displayed a horrid use for the microwave oven and the family cat.” When a particularly opinionated Left-winger in the US refused to appear on a Buckley programme, Buckley commented: “Well one can hardly expect baloney to come willingly to the slicer!” Rest, perhaps peacefully.

Tale of two countries

Related articles

More From The Author

More From The Author