Will fishermen sacrifice Uganda to a crocodile god?

Author: Alan Tacca. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • My worry was that the ‘fishermen’ might overreach themselves and drown. Even worse, they may themselves be evolving into crocodiles.

Now… now… I don’t know whether I am clever enough to pull this one off. But I don’t fear failure. Even Jesus, who reputedly once walked on water, would probably fail if he tried walking on eggs.
I am going to proceed very delicately. Eggs.

President Museveni has a presidential media adviser, Tamale Mirundi, whose voice and antics are all over the place. Radio, television talk shows, a hammer, acid and booklets.

Mirundi is almost incapable of lasting a talk show without cursing his enemies, insulting Museveni’s political opponents and repeating his own proclamation that he is an intellectual.

Mirundi vividly describes a shockingly rotten government and gives many arguments showing why Mr Museveni should no longer be in power. But in the same breath, Mirundi vows to do whatever he can to prolong Museveni’s rule, or push for Museveni’s son to inherit state power.

President Museveni has another presidential adviser (I believe on literary matters), Prof Timothy Wangusa, and of a rather different temperament. 

Wangusa is not a ruffian. He is a warm civilised man who does not ram his brain down your throat. Sometimes you may think he is not there. The result is that you can breathe and enjoy the wit that reflects his intellect.

I have not read or heard Wangusa saying anywhere that the right thing for Museveni is to leave office, or to cling to power. So, when an article by him appeared in this paper last Sunday (a rare event nowadays), I was very curious to take another glimpse into Wangusa’s enigmatic mind.

Titled ‘A Human Sacrifice to end Drought and Famine’, Wangusa’s article recounts a magico-religious theme in (Kenyan writer) Grace Ogot’s The Rain Came. 

In drought-baked ancient Luoland, the chief’s beloved daughter, Oganda, is to be sacrificed to the crocodilian monster lake god for the benefaction of rain. 

First, a disclaimer. I have not read Grace Ogot’s The Rain Came, for which of course you are free to dismiss me as illiterate. But I was intrigued by the monstrous image of the rain god. My head raced to Zimbabwe, where the current ruler, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has been associated with the predatorial instincts of the crocodile from the days of Robert Mugabe.

Then I recalled the many real-life stories in which Ugandans have been literally devoured or mutilated by crocodiles.

But now you have such a blood-thirsty monster on the scale of a god! And so compelling is this god’s power that even the chief cannot find an escape route for his own child, Oganda.

How many Tarzans or Indiana Jones’ would it take to bring down such a leviathan?
In Ogot’s story, the girl, Oganda, is apparently rescued by the blessing and courage of a lover. And it is the defeat and misery of the monster god that brings rain and prosperity back to the land!

Listening to the voices of the ‘fishermen’ and ‘fisherwomen’ now running around in the illusion that President Museveni has given them power to run his show; watching their greed, their incompetence – see the parish development circus – or the obscenity of their by-elections, I sometimes shudder. 
My worry was that they might overreach themselves and drown. I have now added another worry.

Like me, and (maybe) like Wangusa, they may not know whether or not they are steering Uganda into the jaws of a monster god. And if we do not nurture the blessing of love, the monster may devour the nation.
Even worse, they may themselves be evolving into crocodiles.

Mr Alan Tacca is a novelist, socio-political commentator.
[email protected]

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