Last Saturday, I was present at Kitara Poets’ Recital at Bayimba Festival, “Tokuba Totta” in memoriam of Revence Kalibwani, a young father, software specialist, self-proclaimed communist, Jesus lover, blogger and more. The enigmatic Rev lost his life in what will yet be another unsolved murder around the premises of Café Javas. The reporting of the event, the handling of the case by the Police, the judgement of Rev by those said to be his friends was sad because nothing was consistent. He was called mad. He was called a terrorist and all sorts of things but the worst thing is the Police’s indifference.
Lule Raymond in one of his poems as a tribute to the comrade, spoke as a policeman and said “Oyo yeetuze” meaning he has killed himself. The poem itself spoke of how inert, selfish, and callous the police were generally. As regards Rev, it was another person they had no time for in light of other Ugandans who mattered. His father retold the experience, of how Rev was accused of arson, but none of the petrol or knives he had were ever displayed in the media. How Javas Management talked about the event on television and later denied it was at Javas but rather on the other side of the building. Personally I noticed, the police first announced Rev as an arsonist, then later told his family it was a case of mistaken identity and were investigating. Little of their second statement came to the public but still, investigations up to today have bought no fruition.
“Oyo yeetuze!” Lule, dressed as the policeman said. And sometimes that’s how it feels like. Ugandans are killing themselves by being Ugandans. Unable to depend on or trust the police or those mandated to serve them. A suspect in the Entebbe killings is currently operating his businesses freely, an Entebbe resident tells me they thought he would be condemned but no. For example being a Ugandan woman means you can be catcalled, ogled and not have the right to protest because that’s the way it is. Protesting a billboard that sexualises femininity is a risk because someone might start a hashtag against you while a defrocked Christian minister is busy installing Porn committees and machines, and using 2bn of taxpayer money while at it. It won’t be surprising hearing a fellow woman tell you to dress better to avoid rape, yet rape is done by rapists, not people who fail to “dress better.”
If you can afford the police, the better, if you cannot, God forbid you’re in trouble and need them.
It’s not just the police. It’s the entire August House showing up in numbers to award themselves more and more benefits while the man at the bottom scrapes by for 100 for a drink in a kaveera. However, one can say the issue of term and age limits is foundational and it is good seeing them present. However, what if it is too late?
25 MPs have been suspended from the Parliament for 3 sittings, those include Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine whose statements about defending the constitution almost got him arrested recently. He said “We must defend the Constitution before it’s too weak to defend us.” Unfortunately, for too long, many of us Ugandans have been defending our right to comfort and it seems like it is too late to defend the constitution.
It was a matter of time after the term limits were removed that age limits would be removed. If I am not mistaken, there is also a motion in Parliament for a bill that gives the President immunity from prosecution after he retires. To be honest, these are things to worry about, more especially that the biggest Party in Uganda is aiding and abetting a return to erstwhile days using “legal” means like the Parliament but of course with the help of state institutions like the Police, the Army, Uganda Communications Commission etc.
Of course people will say things like “there are no age limits in USA”, “there are no term limits in Germany”…but do people ever consider the histories of these countries? The contexts? Anyway, 1995 is a long time ago. Perhaps the future is here. The promises of new leadership are gone. If we thought the people had power to make laws…
The power has been taken, now we wait for what’s next. Like Lule Raymond said, “Oyo yeetuze”. All who would want some change for the country, positive change, have killed themselves. They are powerless. It is better to dress up like a banana, pee on the street while pledging allegiance to the “Party”.