Sunday August 13 2017

Musumba, don’t blame religious leaders, academics. Ugandans are thickheaded

Salaam Musumba

Salaam Musumba 

By Alan Tacca

Poor Proscovia Salaam Musumba! Screaming in the wilderness. That was the image as I read the publication of your conversation with Asuman Bisiika in the August 6 Sunday Monitor.
Yes. Instead of leaking your wounds properly, and then sitting down calmly to make a list of credible allies, you are shooting off in a tantrum over the silence of our religious leaders and academics.
What is your pact with these people? Do you in fact have a clear uncontestable agreement with them?
You said somewhere that you were a defender of the Constitution. Hm, you have plenty of time; you even found a couple of days to read the Constitution! In my ignorance, I thought the ruling clique was the Constitution.
Anyway, Madam Constitution, is it written anywhere in that book that Uganda’s religious leaders and university dons will form a drum, trumpet and mouth resistance movement, should a sitting president deviate from what Ms Proscovia Salaam Musumba believes to be the correct course?
For all I hear, religious leaders are specifically restrained from engaging in overt political activity. So, even when they talk a little, stepping forward once and then promptly retreating, they may be breaking a rule.
The problem may really be with you, and you are not alone. You have this old-fashioned idea that (private and even public) morality is carried on religious platforms, and you probably think that the evil concealed behind clerical veils is always an aberration.
Yet, if you are looking for tales of homosexual paedophiles, a search among the clergy and the seminaries may be more rewarding than probing your business management schools.
If you are looking for the next fascist, it is probably the demagogue posing as a gift from God. And Mr ‘Gift-From- God’ almost always has priests on his side, or at least many choosing silence.
Unlike Ms Musumba and other ordinary people, priests have studied the history of God, and most probably understand that He is an invention. That is why some will philander, secretly; defile, secretly; or con you, disguised; because they know there is no heavenly King-Judge watching them and waiting out there to deliver retribution. Why should they not take the gold your leaders give them in broad daylight?
Because we ascribed to them moral authority and moral courage they do not have, we, the masses, have given them the licence to play with our tithes and our taxes, and in exchange to deliver nothing of value at the level of political transformation. They have become fully integrated in the spirit and culture of the vampire state.
Madam Constitution … with supreme respect… Defender of the Book… You may not have done me the favour of reading an article in which I wrote that we, the citizens – they will pardon me – are thickheaded. Morons of the bottom shelf.
Otherwise, tell us, bright star of Kamuli: why should even a quarter of Ugandan constituencies cast their votes for NRM parliamentary candidates?
Before the NRM political machine steals votes to fix some of their controversial victories, seemingly normal people have given the ruling party millions of genuine votes. And sometimes for the oddest of reasons.
I occasionally listen to the local radio talk shows. Just because Mr A or B of the NRM is a show host, and a lousy one at that, many show participants, even staunch Opposition politicians, as well as all the listeners who call into the show, will pledge their support for the host should he stand for a parliamentary seat.
Even at that level, which you would think is at least a notch above Moron Bottom Shelf, many Ugandans seem incapable of grasping the meaning of adding ‘one’ to an already oversized NRM majority in the House. They believe it is such a great favour to be on air and want to reward the host!
As a tool, that majority means far more than the myth of a religious high ground.
Madam Constitution, you also castigated our academics; but why should academics fight to redeem a people who cannot do simple addition to help their cause?

Mr Tacca is a novelist, socio-political commentator.