Musenero, missing money and when people beat up a goat for eating meat

Author, Gawaya Tegulle. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • The thieves are well-known. What Uganda needs is for Parliament to be bold.  

One of many stories I heard nearly four decades ago, from a very talkative Okoko (bless his soul) my Captain in House Billington, at Namilyango College. 

It was about this Acholi man somewhere in Palabek, who left a pack of meat in the hut that served as a kitchen and went off to the shop to buy either salt, cooking oil or whatever it was. While he was away two things happened. 

First, the family dog, on its usual run-around looking for what to eat, wisely went sniffing about the kitchen and came across the meat. He promptly ate it all up. Then, happy and satisfied, he went out to the veranda of the kitchen to take a well-earned nap as he waited for evening to come, so that he would be able to run off and chill with the boys through the night – like all proper dogs ought to.

After a while, in comes the goat, fresh from the field, and anxious to find a comfortable perch to sit down, settle and chew the cud quietly. She found a perch on the veranda of the kitchen and began to chew the cud steadily. Life was good.

By and by, the owner of the home returned from the shop and took the shopping to the kitchen; only to find that the meat was all gone! 

He picked a big stick and began looking around suspiciously to see who could have eaten the meat. He saw nothing. 

Then he moved out of the kitchen to widen his search for suspects. His eye landed on the dog on one side of the veranda, but he could see the dog was fast asleep. He didn’t bother with him. Then he turned to the other side of the veranda and saw the goat. 

He observed that she was busy chewing the cud.
He grabbed the goat and walloped her for the better part of 10 minutes.

“Why are you beating your goat like that?” asked a neighbour whose attention had been drawn by the cries of the goat, yelping at the top of her voice for mercy or help or whatever relief.

“I came back and found that someone had eaten my meat,” said the man, still walloping the poor goat.

“And how did you know it was the goat?” asked the neighbour, incredulous.

“The dog was fast asleep when I came, so he can’t be the one who ate my meat,” he explained, as he lashed the goat some more, at which the goat bleated for mercy. “It is definitely this one here: in fact I found her still eating!” 

“A goat was eating meat?” The neighbour was incredulous!
“I found her chewing,” the man explained, with another lash going down. “Clearly this was evidence sufficient.” The dog stayed on the veranda, looking on with approval as the goat was being punished.

I had actually forgotten this story until the issue of Science, Technology and Innovation minister Monica Musenero came up, with a posse of legislators on her neck for alleged responsibility for billions of shillings that seem to have been eaten. 

Parliament has a great sense of humour at times, but I didn’t think they’d go this far – until I saw a legislator, who I think needs someone to advise him, throwing invectives at the minister at the top of his voice. The sweet, soft-spoken non-politician stayed smiling at the irate legislator and said nothing. Good upbringing!

Parliament generally likes to show that it is efficient and functional and that it is fighting corruption. Problem is, they never go for where the real corruption is; because they fear to step there. 

What they do is fish around for soft targets, make a storm out of a tea cup and then scream at the top of their voices when the media shows up and cameras are rolling. 

The thieves are well-known. What Uganda needs is for Parliament to be bold and take on those that they currently fear because of their size. They impress nobody by mugging an innocent non-politician who, no matter how well you search, you won’t find stolen money.

Doesn’t make sense to beat a goat for allegedly stealing and eating the meat, when the dog is right there.

Mr Tegulle is an advocate of the High Court of Uganda     [email protected]