Stella Nyanzi and decay of the republic

Sunday August 11 2019


By Alan Tacca

Last Tuesday, an ‘apostle’ on Impact FM opined that non-believers should not talk or write about difficulties in Uganda’s Pentecostal churches.
I doubt whether the ‘apostle’ understands that he was playing with a fascist idea; one step from prohibiting ideas about religion by non-believers.

Uganda’s Pentecostal preachers cite more stories from the Old Testament than from the Gospels. Why? Because in the Old Testament God was more overtly a totalitarian Lord.

And the people who worshipped Him had unfettered freedom to dispossess, displace and slaughter those worshipping other gods.
The idealised barbarism and acquisitiveness of the ancient Israelite kings appeal more to our Pentecostal preachers than the more self-denying Christ.

The apostle’s ilk have always assumed a right – indeed a duty – to invade the spaces occupied by non-believers and followers of alternative faiths. With their integrity now clearly not proportional to the posturing, and the very identity of their churches on the line, a caller into the radio programme expressed the frustration of his fellow believers. He asked, rhetorically, how snakes (the older preachers as mentors) could breed younger preachers who were not snakes.

The ‘apostle’ was unsettled, and his prescription of internal solutions could only maintain the old vicious circle.
That is why outsiders – even the godless – may be pigeons (rather than frogs) carrying messages that could save some of these decaying faith groups teeming with betrayed souls.

But decay is also masquerading as salvation elsewhere.
You have seen the generals; the survivors and harvesters of spoils from battlefields where the gallant died. They have forgotten how heroes of independence struggles and liberation wars become villains. They want a little more impunity. Just a little. Then a tiny bit more. Is that too much? It’s just like their Chief. A little bit longer in control. Is he asking for a thousand years in power? Nooo…! Patience. You have waited for Jesus for 2,000 years, and may wait forever in vain.


The Chief is not so inconsiderate. At the very most, he wants a lifetime. Surely, a bearable yoke.
Decay has its reasonableness! But at a certain point it makes some minds stop. And pent-up anger sometimes explodes.
Our MPs… Ignore. You can buy 317 cabbages instead.

Ah, that is an insult!
The police… Leave them alone with their weevils.
Insults have been big in NRM communication since the NRA defeated the swine.
I recently heard RDC Kyeyune Senyonjo eagerly endorsing a caller who challenged the Mengo establishment to condemn Stella Nyanzi’s antics.

But Mengo cannot be in this. The Kabaka, the Katikkiro et al have been regularly insulted by the President’s men on Pentecostal radio stations. The Kabaka is too dignified to respond directly to gutter-level mouths. And neither the President nor God have restrained the offenders.

Although the President’s men usually hit above the neck, while Stella Nyanzi concentrates below the waist, they are all porno grade. And that curious beast called ‘the public’ simultaneously demands decency and enjoys pornography. The Majangwa syndrome.
Being outside social media, I am not sure how online junkies in a decaying society become abnormal.

But for the penny my opinion is worth, at bottom, the problem of Ms Nyanzi is not of a moral kind, but of neurosis. Her interpretation may run counter to what she actually needs. That happens. So the authorities have a very fragile individual who thinks she is very strong. A regime of psychiatric attention might, therefore, stand a better chance of preventing re-offending than a long spell in prison.

Mr Tacca is a novelist, socio-political commentator.