Annoying president demeans nation

Tuesday July 23 2019

Former Makerere University research fellow, Dr

Former Makerere University research fellow, Dr Stella Nyanzi is accused of disturbing the peace of President Museveni. FILE PHOTO  

By Robert Atuhairwe

What does the habit of saying or posting things that are offensive or demeaning to the president intended to achieve and what is the law regarding that intended to achieve? The basic meaning of “to annoy” is to “make (someone) a little angry; irritate” according to the online dictionary. Synonyms include “vex, anger, exasperate, irk, gall, pique”. Different people are annoyed or angered differently depending on many factors, including context and the existing relationship, but in general, irritating statements are characteristically unkind, demeaning, provocative, accusatory, vindictive, threatening and rude.

The fact of an assertion being true does not take away that it can annoy. It matters how the concerned person is addressed; the message matters equally as the content.
If, for example, I wished to accuse someone of failing to meet their part of the bargain or an accord or to respond to something they did or said about me, if I write a private email or use my phone or inbox to address such a person, the addressee, will likely understand and respond constructively while admitting the problem. He or she would have an opportunity to pour their heart out without fearing that they will be misconstrued or that their dignity will be brought into question by prying eyes. On the other hand, if I addressed the person in public, among friends, family and even strangers, the same person would be so disappointed owing to the great embarrassment among relations that they would have suffered. Remember that some of the details may be sordid or graphic!

Most serious fallouts and those that have led to acts of vengeance are those where parties involved have washed their dirty linen or said unkind things to or about others in public. Reputation is sacred and brittle - once damaged, it can be hard to restore it. Untruths or scandalous material about people run faster than truths and modest statements and when dealing with crowds, whose very judgment and rationality is difficult to quantity, it is more complex.

In the case of a president, who is the “Fountain-of-Honour,” the reputation would have been lowered, hence could affect how they execute their job. It does not matter the individual holder’s tolerance for abuse. It is the office under attack and its image and efficacy left in tatters. Usually, the best test of the annoyance inducing levels of a statement is to subject the one hurling such invectives to the same treatment. They will not like it because their intention was to cause pain to the person they hate.

To insult is to subject someone to psychological and emotional pain. What we say about others counts a lot more than the effect it has on them because we give away our ill intentions about them and place ourselves in the weighing scale as to how we were brought up, schooled, etc.

There is also an element of incitement to others. When a president is demeaned, the inference is that the entire country, which he or she leads, is what the president has been described as being. Feel sorry for the ordinary citizen who can only be regarded as much lower and undeserving of dignity and esteem!

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What does the habit of saying or posting things that are offensive or demeaning to the president intended to achieve and what is the law regarding that intended to achieve? The basic meaning of “to annoy” is to “make (someone) a little angry; irritate” according to the online dictionary. Synonyms include “vex, anger, exasperate, irk, gall, pique”. Different people are annoyed or angered differently depending on many factors, including context and the existing relationship, but in general, irritating statements are characteristically unkind, demeaning, provocative, accusatory, vindictive, threatening and rude.

The fact of an assertion being true does not take away that it can annoy. It matters how the concerned person is addressed; the message matters equally as the content.
If, for example, I wished to accuse someone of failing to meet their part of the bargain or an accord or to respond to something they did or said about me, if I write a private email or use my phone or inbox to address such a person, the addressee, will likely understand and respond constructively while admitting the problem. He or she would have an opportunity to pour their heart out without fearing that they will be misconstrued or that their dignity will be brought into question by prying eyes. On the other hand, if I addressed the person in public, among friends, family and even strangers, the same person would be so disappointed owing to the great embarrassment among relations that they would have suffered. Remember that some of the details may be sordid or graphic!

Most serious fallouts and those that have led to acts of vengeance are those where parties involved have washed their dirty linen or said unkind things to or about others in public. Reputation is sacred and brittle - once damaged, it can be hard to restore it. Untruths or scandalous material about people run faster than truths and modest statements and when dealing with crowds, whose very judgment and rationality is difficult to quantity, it is more complex.

In the case of a president, who is the “Fountain-of-Honour,” the reputation would have been lowered, hence could affect how they execute their job. It does not matter the individual holder’s tolerance for abuse. It is the office under attack and its image and efficacy left in tatters. Usually, the best test of the annoyance inducing levels of a statement is to subject the one hurling such invectives to the same treatment. They will not like it because their intention was to cause pain to the person they hate.

To insult is to subject someone to psychological and emotional pain. What we say about others counts a lot more than the effect it has on them because we give away our ill intentions about them and place ourselves in the weighing scale as to how we were brought up, schooled, etc.

There is also an element of incitement to others. When a president is demeaned, the inference is that the entire country, which he or she leads, is what the president has been described as being. Feel sorry for the ordinary citizen who can only be regarded as much lower and undeserving of dignity and esteem!

Robert Atuhairwe,
atuhairwe_robert@yahoo.com

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