This is the track I was going along in a previous post when I digressed into the land of definitions and uncovered a massive scam surrounding… forget that.
What’s a coup d’etat?
A few weeks ago I found myself in yet another discussion over the woes of “Africa” with world citizens of non-African origin or residence. Why the wars, poverty, pestilence and general stupidity (not to be confused with General Mugabe), the fellows I had locked cerebral horns with asked.
For example, why has your President been in power for more than twenty years? WTF? Why are the roads not done up properly in Africa? Eh? Okay, in Uganda? Who is this Kony we hear about and why doesn’t your army just finish him? Why is the opposition not being allowed to operate? But first wait, your President has been in power twenty years?!!!
I was cornered.
“After the coup d’etat of 1985,” I began explaining…
“What’s a coup d’etat?” one chap interjected, face all afrown.
So I promptly kicked him out of the discussion, but as it was taking place in a public place that serves those who pay, I was as good as an international observer at Zimbabwe elections.
But the discussion ended anyway (as elections do in Zim, and the President goes on).
I simply refused to continue talking about serious issues in Uganda with fellows whose knowledge about our issues is overpowered and kicked into the corner of the room by their general ignorance of world affairs going back hundreds of years.
A coup d’etat, before we go further, is defined generally as “a sudden, violent and illegal seizure of power from a government.”
But even now you are not yet qualified to discuss governance in countries like Uganda, and whereas I am not going to advocate here the right of the stupid and inane to defend the indefensible, I still think it important for serious matters such as the present and future of an entire nation to be discussed only by those who have an understanding of its past.
The ignorant non-African residents of the public house in which I made the discovery that coup d’etats were not a global phenomenon in the 1970’s and 1980’s are not the only exemptees (not a real word, but feel free to add it) on my list from intelligent discussion of our issues. There are also a good number of Ugandans prominently placed on this list. Morons, mostly, who didn’t understand what the history teachers were talking about.
The point was not, ladies and gentlemen, to cram the entire list of factors that caused the collapse of the Zulu empire and be able to write down a narration of the process by which it happened within a three hour period in a poorly lit room guarded by an invigilator. The point was being able to study cause and effect, practice extrapolation and the composition of all the resulting thoughts into a decipherable format that in school was called an essay, in newspapers is called an article and in government is spread out and called a policy paper.
For example, Shaka Zulu rose through the ranks to become a great commander in Africa’s biggest empire of the time and spread the Zulu kingdom as far north as Tanzania. He developed devastating war tactics and even the most sophisticated weapons of the time, such as the Assegai and the Ikhlwa. His reign was fierce and encompassed the mfecane (the time of troubles), and he took battle and strife to lands far and wide. But his brutality and warring led to the many small groups he had alienated grouping up and his brothers joining up to rid the world of his manic self by stabbing him repeatedly to the death. (http://www.africabookcentre.com/acatalog/index.html?http%3A//www.africabookcentre.com/acatalog/Anglo_Zulu_War.html&CatalogBody)
Taking the above brief, one can create similarities between the greatness of Shaka Zulu’s empire and that of the United States, showing links between their sophisticated weapons of the time, and the mfecane in Iraq, Afghanistan and … well, anywhere there is war, and juxtaposing the final collapse of Shaka Zulu the man to the collapse of the United States economy to claim they were both results of the same factor – warring too much and spreading one’s influence far and wide will lead to collapse.
Don’t waste time punching holes in the above, this is just a blog being written because I am in a meeting.
One wouldn’t be too far off looking at Shaka Zulu to find a way of rationalising the United States of America right now. That’s what knowing history does for you.
So if you have no idea of what a coup d’etat is but want to express concern over the governance of a country that underwent about six of them in a span of 15 years, then give the history books a quick browse.
Or at least Google.
I expect thousands of newborn children have already been named Obama. I would believe that even grown-up children are being renamed Obama, and maybe even adults, if all the new Facebook profile photos are anything to go by.
This goes to the kids, though, so if you’re an adult print it out and hand it over to them.
Children, there are ways you can tell whether or not you deserve to be christened Obama:
If you are that damn kid who always hands in your homework first, wears your socks pulled up right to the knees and never hesitates to provide the teacher with the names, ages and tribes of who has been talking at the back of the class, then you can call yourself Obama.
If, in addition, you are the young brother who greets the parents in the evening with, “(Insert Big Brother’s name here) broke two cups in the kitchen while he was chasing the cat trying to catch it round the neck with your tie that you always wear to Church at Christmas…”, then you can call yourself Obama.
If you spend lots of time being adored by your aunts and grandaunts as “So cute!” in many different languages as they tickle you under the chin like some fluffy kitten, while in the meantime you accumulate lots of pocket money from spare change stuffed affectionately into your pockets by various uncles and older cousins, then you can call yourself Obama.
Should you be able to play outside with everybody else but somehow always manage to still be clean, neat and tidy at the end of the session, therefore causing all mothers in the neighbourhood to ask their children, “Why can’t you be like (insert your annoying name here)?”, then you can call yourself Obama.
And, just as your namesake, you will be loved by the majority of the people who meet and see you (such as all abovenamed) but hated by your peers will hate you.
With a deep passion.
Just as they hate him roundabout now for being such a goody two-shoes.
“WTF?!!”, thought fellow Presidents in unison when they watched the President of the world’s most powerful nation say the words, “I screwed up.” (http://www.smsmedia.ug/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=68:obama-qscrewed-upq&catid=1:news-updates) last week. “WTH?” the rest of the world has been thinking jointly since the man started speaking in public about anything.
It’s worse for the other Presidents and Heads of State, of course, than it is for ordinary chaps like everybody who is not a President or Head of State. Ordinary chaps are simply getting judged by their wives and employers by the Obama standard and ignoring the judgements because, dammit, what can I do now? I am neither Obama nor Jesus and I have already spent the last fifteen years trying to be like Jesus already, I don’t need the additional pressure!
But Presidents and Heads of State? They DO need that pressure. They need to measure themselves and be measured against Barack Hussein Obama – NOT because he is the world’s strongest President, but because he seems to be the world’s most intelligent, charismatic, down-to-earth, realistic, empathetic, fatherly, kind, hopeful, supportive (continue this list later with positive adjectives, children. An Adjective is a descriptive word).
This Kenyan orphan now running the United States of America, with his pauper to prince and rags to riches story, and his young-dashing-David-who-so-obviously-had-McCain-and-his-Goliath-backers-whipped-from-the-get-go-but-still-rode-the-race-with-a-polite-humility-that-allowed-the-white-haired-old-man-the-dignity-of-‘losing’-rather-than-being-pulverised poise, and his sharp-dressing, clear-thinking, eloquent, slam-dunking and three-pointer-shooting, apologising on global TV, non-beer-belly-carrying black AFRICAN American, bookseller-writing, hard-talking, sense-making stimulus plan pushing press conferences… DAMN, I am foaming at the mouth.
Which makes me realise what all the other Presidents and World Leaders need to do forthwith: Each and every one of you Heads of State, from Azerbaijan to Zim…no, Mugabe, just resign…from Azerbaijan to Zambia (yes, there might be a country called Zenda, but focus on the issue at hand please!!). Each of you Heads of States needs to consider the following question every morning as soon as you wake up, every night before you go to sleep, every ten minutes just before a meeting, and every time you open your mouths to speak: What Would Obama Do?
All the Time.
WWOD? (What Would Obama Do?)
The rest of us are asking…
Yesterday afternoon I went down to the generally quiet and considerably comfortable smoking lounge on the fifth floor to do a bit of private reading ahead of an important meeting, but two minutes into my preparation notes, a young fellow sat smack next to me across the counter and lit up a Lucky Strike.
Being naturally incapable of rudely continuing to read and therefore allowing him to smoke in peace and quiet, I looked up from my book and invited conversation, resulting in a vibrant thirty minute chat during which we established that: 1. He was fond of travelling and had been around quite a bit on his annual (he was European after all) holiday. 2. He had never been to Africa. 3. He was keenly interested in hunting and, barring the opportunity to do so, as I informed him strongly that Uganda did not accept that sort of thing, he would be equally enthusiastic about fishing. 4. He was scared to death of contracting malaria. 5. His next holiday was planned for Thailand, and even though I threw tough warnings in his direction over the recent uprisings and conflicts in that very country, he was not convinced it was as bad as most African countries.
With my usual vim and panache, I convinced him that: 1. Most countries in Africa were safe to travel to, but most especially Uganda since we had so much to offer (google Uganda and ignore any link that shows up talking about Joseph Kony, LRA and HIV) – which he realised quickly was an impression that had been lurking at the back of his mind because all he had heard about Uganda before (and he was really surprised to realise that he had actually heard about Uganda before speaking with me but the idea hadn’t really sunk!) was positive. 2. There was a lot more to a holiday involving game than shooting at it – and I pledged to send him my photos of wild animals in the national park, taken on routine trips en route to farmers upcountry. 3. Malaria only kills if you don’t take the right treatment for it, and that were I to hold equivalent fears then I would not have come to Europe for fear that I would die of an overdose of some recreational drug or at the large end of a neo-Nazi’s spiked club. 4. If he still believed Thailand was safe after all he had seen on TV just because he had been there before, then it might be wise to visit a country like Uganda before deciding it would be the death of him.
And immediately after our chit chat, to the further detriment of the important meeting I had set out to read for, I sent him a couple of pics taken at random in the Kabalega National Park by yours truly, and he replied with a thoroughly impressed, “Wow, we gotta do this some time. HOOK IT UP!!!!!”
Two hours later, my important meeting successfully concluded but with fewer sparks than I would have otherwise conjured up had it not been for God and My Country, I hit the internet to pick up on some news from Uganda only to find the headline, “Crocodiles eat five people every month” (My http://www.monitor.co.ug/artman/publish/regional-special)
Damn this! The fellow above was probably reading the very same shitty article.
Shitty not because it reveals this mildly alarming fact (at the rate of five people per month, crocs are nothing compared to boda-bodas), but because of the content and authorities quoted:
“Shortage of fish in Lake Victoria has turned hungry crocodiles on the hunt for human beings for food on the shores of the lake in Mayuge District.” Shortage of fish? How many fish are there or are there not in Lake Victoria? The reporter does not at any time try to support this ‘fact’, and understandably so because all he relies on is ‘the district vermin control officer’:
“Reports from the vermin control department in the district indicate that at least five people are eaten by crocodiles every month. The district vermin control offficer said crocodiles have resorted to eating humans due to the current scarcity of fish caused by the use of undersized nets to harvest immature fish.
Mr Francis Ongom was reacting to reports concerning an LC 1 official from Mukono District who was on January 25 eaten by a crocodile while fishing.”
What is this? The usual nonsense of any public official making any statement that then becomes news across the globe with an impact on the entire nation – especially this same daft public official who will be complaining around a malwa pot in the near future that the government does not provide enough funds to run the ‘vermin control department’.
Meanwhile, the rest of the story reveals that contrary to the impression that the crocodile had turned up at the restaurant counter and ordered for fish,
“The LC 1 Vice chairman for Katonga village Peter Higenyi was fishing in the waters close to Lingira Island in Mayuge when the incident occurred. According to a witnesses, Higenyi was caught by the crocodile when he jumped off the boat he was using and tried to swim on seeing Beach Management Unit operatives hunting those using illegal nets.”
Oh Uganda, May God Uphold Thee…