What’s left for a nation when a president goes tribal? Uganda’s albertine region

I have read many articles on the growing ethnic tensions that have been fuelled by the president’s words in Bunyoro over the last few months. But the latest, urging Bafuruki (migrants) not to stand for office in the oil reach Albertine region is below the belt. I don’t know how this will end as the Bafuruki are also turning the heat on the president but this should bring us to discuss fully and find solutions for tribalism before it consumes us the Kenya way. And as we see, that will not be done by government but us Ugandans in our every small way we can.

Oil exploration works going on in Uganda's Albertine region. The area is facing ethnic tensions
Oil exploration works going on in Uganda's Albertine region. The area is facing ethnic tensions

The president needs both Banyoro and Bakiga votes as he continues his rule in 2011 but we must question why the president is ever so tribal. Well the president is not a foreigner so I assume with a lot of tribalism in the country he was not lucky to escape it but what is even more lethal is applying tribal sentiments in the wake of oil exploration as if he has not known a place called the Niger delta. He wants to please two groups but it seems he knows no way how to. What he’s doing is unconstitutional but this shouldn’t be out argument for we are all aware he can easily make it constitutional. He just needs about 5 million shillings to pay to non Bakiga NRM MPs and he will have his way. So we should not rely so much on the legality of the president’s move if we are to bring to realise that his way is the one to hell but rather bring the point closer to his compound. Someone needs to tell him that by raising tribal overtones in Bunyoro leadership positions, Museveni will be siding with those who have always doubted his Ugandan origins therefore his presidency. In his Rwakitura home, the president if he’s to apply the same rule that he’s advocating for in Bunyoro, he should be treated as a Mufuruki but he goes to vote for people there some of whom are Bafuruki like him. In his government and his cabinet people like Kuteesa shouldn’t be allowed to stand for any office in Sembabule for it lies within Buganda. May be when we show him that he too is a Mufuruki and he has been able to live freely and achieve what he wanted with nobody threatening him basing his tribe, he will understand our point of view. More pressure is needed to show that his is not a solution but a catalyst to these two ethnic groups. Today he will deny the Bakiga to stand office; tomorrow he may take away their rights to vote because they are Bafuruki and trust me he can because he has a lot of time left before he clocks 75, his official retirement age, for now. Museveni’s regime has always been accused of being tribal especially in the army promotions and other security organs but taking tribalism to oil wells, Ugandans must wake up before the sectarianism consumes the nation. And the Banyoro should reject the president’s offer for it will never be a solution to their problems or to those of their sons and daughters for generations to come long after this regime.

Women that need grace

It’s just days when I left Uganda and my friends messages keep on coming in. Today I received a rather interesting one.

“Take good care of yourself, there’s a new strain of HIV am sure as you have learnt and it’s looking for more people to jump on.” This message made my day. Why? Who gets advice on HIV from a friend and in an email? It’s just not many. Well the fact that you can have someone say something that important in a casual ‘easy’ conversation tells a lot about how far my country has come in dealing with HIV whether it is about information on prevention or dealing with stigma.

In the past there was a lot of stigma that I imagine for a friend to send you such a message you would say hold on a moment does she think that am that wild to give me this advice? But things have loosened up and people know better. And I chose to cite this message because I wanted to highlight the plight of some African women and this week I call it Women who need the grace. And one such woman is an unnamed Cameroonian. She’s the first to be identified with a new strain of HIV. A new strain of HIV has been discovered in a woman from Cameroon. It differs

New strain of HIV is related to the simian virus that occurs in Gorrillas.
New strain of HIV is related to the simian virus that occurs in Gorrillas.

from the three known strains and appears to be closely related to a form of the virus recently discovered in wild gorillas, researchers reported today in the journal Nature Medicine.

The finding “highlights the continuing need to watch closely for the emergence of new HIV variants, particularly in western central Africa,” said the researchers, led by Jean-Christophe Plantier of the University of Rouen, France.

This unnamed Cameroonian woman needs the grace and I hope the new strain is contained and that it is not yet wide spread. Although there’s no HIV drug/vaccine yet, major steps have been made and that’s why we have Antiretroviral drugs which help HIV carriers’ immune systems and with increased access to drugs, places worst hit by HIV like Africa have been so hopeful.  The three previously known HIV strains are related to the simian virus that occurs in chimpanzees. The most likely explanation for the new find is gorilla-to-human transmission.

It’s still a mystery how the virus actually got to the woman and not much is known about how it will react to existing drugs so I can only imagine what this woman is going through. Many newspapers in Uganda have already given the development a lead and although it may be very scaring, it’s good for people to have this revelation as it comes. I say spread the word on this strain whichever way and keep us informed, this way we can stay at the top and save ourselves.