By Asuman Odaka
On Thursday 29th January 2020, a very loathsome and dishonourable actions went viral on social and mainstream media exhibiting two Members of Parliament both of whom are my friends; the Hon. Samuel Odonga Otto, the Member of Parliament of Aruu County and Hon. Anthony Akol of Kilak County – Acholi sub-region.
Their action was dishonourable because Members of Parliament are expected and supposed to portray reasonably higher moral standard and examples that can inspire the young stars of our nation.
This episode touched me personally because Hon. Odonga Otto is one of the personalities that inspire my daughter- Odaka Salmah.
In Addition to Hon. Basalirwa Asuman (who she calls her President), Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga (her No.1 role model), Salaamu Musumba (who she thinks is the most intelligent woman alive), my daughter likes Hon. Otto for his heroic talk and commando alike style in which he stormed Parliament during the “T’ogilwatako” campaign in 2017.
MPs boxing each other is not a new thing, it’s not even unique to Uganda. It’s a daily thing in Turkey, Ghana, and South Africa and other nations.
In Uganda, during the 2017 satanic and serpent constitutional amendment debates, we saw scenarios which left some MPs like Betty Nambooze permanently disabled, Semujju Nganda left nearly naked, Gen. Katumba Wamala landed a blow on Hon. Francis Mutebi Zaake that nearly ended his life, Hon. Atiku Bernard punched the late Hon. Ibrahim Abiriga, etc. All these were treated just as disgusting behaviours of deviant of our societies not Bugandanised, or “Lugwaranised” etc.
To me, what is disgusting and sparked the jotting of this article on the “Otto vs Akol” is an attempt by some propagandists of the NRA/M to “Acholi-nise” the violent act with intentions to perpetuate the carefully constructed propaganda of the Luwero consensus to make the Nilotics/Hamites (Northerners and Easterners) be the beast of nations (Abakoko).
To justify the intended violence against the Nilotics/Nilo Hamites, the NRA consensus stratified this country into three categories;
1. The Ruling class (their real names are known)
34 years in power, the ruling class of our country are now clearly known. Huge amounts of money is their preserve, horrifying weapons of war is what protects them, specialised kind of education is what they are given, “mpenkoni” are the little cars they drive, they sleep in palaces, some of their hospitals are known but many are concealed, all powerful positions in government, contracts and tenders are designated for them. They rule over and certain positions in our society is their preserve. They think they are super human beings and want to be treated as that.
2. The Abantu
The constructed propaganda made this group ‘the human being’ – abantu. They are not the ruling class but are also not the beast. They are the inhabitants of some parts of Western Uganda, Central Uganda some parts of Eastern Uganda. These are human being (Abantu) since human beings are not able to do certain things, they are not expected to undertake inhuman missions that is why Gen. Katumba Wamala can’t be blamed for Kasese massacre.
They were told and taught that anybody who doesn’t speak their language is a “munamawanga”, “mudokolo”, mukosa-kabila”, muchope and most importantly “mukoko”
All these were words that came with the current regime either by design or plan to justify the slaughter of northerners and easterners.
Many Japadhola for example were slaughtered goat style in Kayunga- Bugerere corridor. To date, even imaginations of what transpired is still traumatising to the survivors.
3. The Abokoko the beasts, so horrifying, black dirty insects).
It is said that to kill a dog, first give it a bad name. Therefore to the Luwero consensus, we were the beasts who could face any level of slaughter, brutalities and containment because after all we are just the dirty, black, unworthy beasts.
The above two strata were brainwashed to believe that these Bakoko are the killers. To validate that, whenever there came a mission that involved bloodbath, the field commander was to be a “mukoko” (Read Kasese and others) don’t want to mention names but am sure you know.
So this is the reason the Luwero/NRA propagandists would want to amplify and perpetuate any such action to justify their negative propaganda against the “Bakoko”.
But let us contextualise the increasing violent behaviour instead of tribalizing it. 80% of Ugandans were born or grew up during the NRA regime.
NRM regime came to power through violence, those who led the violence to date are held as heroes and keep boasting on how they killed others on their way to power – so violence is heroic – so they teach us.
Look at our news outlets, see [watch] and read how the state agencies like police, army, KCCA brutalise the ordinary unarmed citizens. Think of how our police suffocate babies with teargas at minimal provocation, how journalists are treated like high level terrorists.
For 35 years, the major theory governing the country has been violence, containment and brutalities.
And since everyone harvests what they sow, the country is entering into a generation of people who resolve differences through violence. And the only person to blame here is Mr Museveni.
Secondly, what are the issues that resulted into the fight?
- Land grabbing
- Being in power forever.
On land grabbing, we have never had any regime that facilitated land grabbing like the NRA regime. Yet this is done after depriving Ugandans of every source of livelihood and identity. Therefore, we know who to blame about this too.
On corruption, there has not been any government in the history of great lakes region so openly corrupt like the NRA regime. It will be long before their record is undone. Therefore, if what caused the fight was bribery, then only Museveni should be blamed for the training.
Akol blames Otto of decampaigning him. Nobody can place the power hunger elsewhere but on NRA leader. Mr Museveni bribed MPs with shillings 5million to remove term limit and shillings 20 million to remove the age limit.
Mr Museveni’s fear of competition has made his rival, Dr. Kizza Besigye enter the genius book of record as the most arrested in the world. He brutalises opponents all in the name of fearing to leave power. T
Therefore, anyone who uses violence on those he thinks are making him exit power can only be described as a good student of Mr Museveni.
In conclusion therefore, it’s short-sighted to Acholi-nise the Otto vs Akol fights. It’s a complete “Musevenisation” of our societies and behaviours of our people.
The writer is an aspiring MP, Tororo Municipality 2021
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