There are two, three, maybe four reasons why little should be said in this column today.
For starters, today is Sunday, and being a holy day, certain things would be completely unacceptable. Then, it is a holy month - Christians are still munching on Easter roast, while the Muslims just got Ramadhan underway. It is also a very holy month for the atheists – those that believe there is no God; their day, April 1, was celebrated recently. See?
One of my good friends in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Eli, sent me a rib-cracker of a cartoon, done by legendary Tanzanian cartoonist, Gayo, who made his name way back in his Daily Nation days, in Nairobi, Kenya.
In the cartoon, the late Tanzanian president John Pombe Magufuli is seated on a throne, spotting a huge grin, as the ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) members, one by one, dump their brains in a bucket in front of him before walking away. Clearly, Gayo seems to say, the brains would not be needed. In real life, brains are gory to behold; they don’t improve in cartoons. Yak!!
After Magufuli’s death, Gayo appears to say, there is a new order in Tanzania. The Swahili word “mapinduzi” is a derivative from “pindua” – to revolutionise. It appears from Gayo’s cartoon that the lovely new president, Samia whose other name Suluhu is the Swahili root word for solution, is living up to her name and leaving no stone unturned as she establishes a revolutionary new dispensation.
She has taken a firm line against Covid-19 and wears her mask. She has ordered respect for human rights, especially freedom of speech, thought, conscience and belief, which Magufuli had abused wantonly. CCM members, Gayo’s next cartoon shows, are lining up, under the keen watch of president Suluhu, her face exuding calm and resolve, to retrieve their brains.
The only problem, a desk assistant says, is that they are having a bit of difficulty identifying which brain belongs to whom. Delicious, if you ask me!
It appears Suluhu herself, if you listen to her speeches, never handed her brain in, when it was a prerequisite to do so.
When the holy month is over we might, on say, a Tuesday or Wednesday, be inclined to remind ourselves that the name “Pombe” means booze. We might even dare say that given the trajectory of policy action taken by the two presidents, names can be disturbingly – or sweetly- prophetic and the policies of each seem to be consistent with the name: one completely flying off the handle, and the other being a calm, healing balm; a solution to the madness that was occasioned in the previous presidency. But like I said, this is a holy month; so, for now, we shall say nothing of the sort!
At the time Eli sent me the cartoon, which was three days ago, newly elected members of Uganda’s ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) had been loaded onto buses and shuttled to Kyankwanzi, which trades or passes off as the National Leadership Institute (NALI).
For the life of me, I am at sea as to what could possibly be ‘leadership” about Kyankwanzi, given that it is a classic venue, not just for brainwashing the party faithful, to turn them into yes-men and women but it now seems, going by Gayo’s school of thought, a venue where the brains are extracted. Anyone with leadership DNA is effectually put paid to at Kyankwanzi, the altar at which values, beliefs and conscience are sacrificed to the benefit of political expediency.
Leaders are turned into something on an inglorious followers-to-zombies continuum. Little surprise, President Museveni announced that he’s okay with an MP who sleeps in Parliament, as long as they wake up and vote as instructed.
In short, as CCM MPs retrieve their brains, NRM MPs are handing over theirs for safekeeping. But then again we can’t say that because, like I said, this is a holy month.
So, why were the more experienced MPs not invited? The answer is simple; that was completely unnecessary, as they are already brain-free. Their brains were removed at the time they entered Parliament and are already in safe custody. In that Kyankwanzi.
Mr Tegulle is an advocate of the High Court of Uganda firstname.lastname@example.org