A lot has transpired in the last two weeks, showing that despite the everyday challenges faced in Uganda, our sense of creativity thrives on.
The first event was the unsurprising, but still shocking, sacking of Amama Mbabazi, now former prime minister. We all knew that it would happen soon, but were shocked all the same! The news first trickled in from about 8am on the fateful day, and by 10am, tweets sent out by the Uganda Media Centre, plus radio announcements, confirmed that the flamboyant premier was history!
Within hours, social media was awash with all kinds of humour! WhatsApp, the free phone messaging service, and Facebook featured photos of the outgoing prime minister, ‘photo-shopped’ into all sorts of comical situations. The best was a poster of a ‘new upcoming’ thriller film entitled Dethroning the Prince of Kanungu, with PM-Designate Ruhakana Rugunda and Amama holding golden pistols, and President Museveni in their midst.
The ‘film stars’ are Jason Amama, Bruce Yoweri, John Rugunda and Richard Opondo. The poster is bright with a mainly yellow background, plus what seems like a black cross. Just below the photos of the ‘film stars’ is a ‘brewing’ fire powerful symbolism depicting the future.
There are others with plenty of humour, including one in which Amama seems to be addressing the press, sitting on the floor and dressed in the bright yellow garb synonymous with prisoners’ attire. Irony galore, because yellow is our ruling party’s dominant colour!
That very weekend, two great English Premier League teams, so loved by Ugandans, lost their matches to minnows. Another round of humour, with pictures and jokes, ensued on social media. The new manager of football giants Manchester United will continue to be at the receiving end of acidic jokes.
Many of these feature a smiling former manager, David Moyes, who was vilified for taking down the team to new lows. Despite employing a high- profile manager and signing several top players, and at a high cost, we shall continue to enjoy the dark humour at the expense of the team’s fans in Uganda.
The second piece of entertainment came from Liverpool FC’s new striker Mario Balotelli who was photographed in a peculiar position during their defeat to London strugglers, West Ham United. This one is harmless and just sheer fun. The striker is in what seems like a squat, and Photoshop-users went to work, showing him ‘riding’ his team captain and a horse.
This is followed by other poses in which he seems to launch into space, using a cloud, and diving into a swimming pool from a high- rise building or mall. Prior to Amama’s sacking, promoters of secession lost their vote in a referendum held in Scotland to determine whether it should split and break away from the United Kingdom.
As news broke that Mbabazi had been fired, Alex Salmond, leader of the ‘Yes’ campaign, conceded defeat in a powerful but solemn speech. Here in Uganda, we are not so good at conceding (in anything) and ironically, the ex-prime minister is one of a very few politicians that are articulate and can move people merely by the power of speech.
Salmond said he “accepted the verdict of the people” who had shied away from independence. However, he asserted that the process had empowered and awakened Scots to “something so valuable, it has to be cherished, preserved and built upon.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron, a key figure behind the ‘No’ campaign, responded by commending the Scottish losers and praising Salmond as, “a politician of huge talent and passion… ”
President Museveni and his former prime minister have been exchanging veiled barbs in speeches, including biblical quotes. I doubt that there will be any conciliatory messages forthcoming from either. So, whilst our creative skills in the use of images, text and online technology are growing, we may need to work some more on rhetoric and the power of speech.
US President Obama is always on hand to inspire all of us by his rousing speeches. At the latest UN’s convention on the environment, which our own President Museveni attended, he calls on fellow leaders to join hands and help destroy the terrorist group, ISIS. He argues that the world is at “a crossroads of war and peace” and that this is a “brand of evil, and a “network of evil” no one can negotiate!
The author is one of the founding Kigo Thinkers.
Source : The Observer