Google+
Sunday 21st of September 2014 07:01:39 AM
 

You buy the Truth, we pay the Price
Banner
 

Monday, 15 September 2014 06:06 By Andrew M. Mwenda
Print PDF

Six reasons why Pastor Martin Sempa and his army of religious homophobes go against the teachings of Jesus

Since the Constitutional Court declared the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) unconstitutional in a case where I was a petitioner, there has been a lot of hate mail against me on Facebook. Some people claiming to be Christians have even usurped God’s power and sentenced me to hell. Critics recite the Bible chapter and verse to justify the necessity for the AHA. I am keenly aware of how people instrumentalise the Bible, the Koran and other religious teachings to justify their personal prejudices and hatreds.   For example, a gentleman came to my office after the court ruling looking distraught. He told me in a sincere manner that: “Andrew, my Christian teachings do not allow me to accept homosexuality… That is why this law is absolutely necessary.” Now I know this gentleman to cheat on his wife almost daily (adultery) and lie about it without any feeling of remorse. He reminded me of a Muslim girlfriend when I was young on Kampala’s dating circuit. She would come stay a weekend with me making love (fornication). But she would refuse to eat pork saying her Islamic teachings forbade her to do so. But then she would drink alcohol. Many critics of homosexuality commit myriad sins daily – fornication, lies, envy, greed, drunkenness, etc. But they sound holier than thou when condemning homosexuals.

However, the particular hostility to homosexuality by many Ugandans who use Christianity to justify their stance cannot be found in the teachings of Jesus Christ. First, Jesus teaches us to hate sin, but to love sinners. The Christian response to homosexuals would be to help them find spiritual salvation, not to send them to jail for life. It is an abdication of their responsibility as Christian shepherds when pastors like Martin Sempa fail (or refuse) to help homosexuals find salvation through the church and try to use the state to punish them.

 
Monday, 08 September 2014 06:00 By Andrew M. Mwenda
Print PDF

How adherence to public procurement is inflicting high costs and creating a disaster for the country

When David Jamwa was appointed Managing Director of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), he found the Fund in the final stages of procuring a contractor to build a 29-floor Pension Towers on Lumumba Avenue. Roko Construction won the tender of Shs $21m. The structure did not optimally utilize the land and its value as its rate of return was estimated at 18%.  Jamwa asked the architects to design a new structure to maximize returns from the plot.

The NSSF architect did a new design of 52 floors. It was given to a quantity surveyor who returned a sum of $55m as its likely cost, which would have increased the rate of return to 18%. Meanwhile, Roko were already on the site excavating the ground. Jamwa asked them to excavate according to the new design to create six underground parking floors instead of two as previously planned. They were willing to build the new design at the sum given by the NSSF quantity surveyor. Jamwa wrote to PPDA to give a waiver so that instead of re-tendering (which would last another two years), NSSF keeps Roko by single sourcing.

 
Monday, 01 September 2014 05:34 By Andrew M. Mwenda
Print PDF

How adherence to public procurement is inflicting high costs on the taxpayer and creating a disaster for the country

Public procurement procedures have become a noose around the neck of Uganda. Over the last 16 years, nearly every major government contract or tender has violated some procurement procedure. This often leads the Inspector General of Government (IGG), Police, State House, security services, PPDA, Parliament and the press to intervene and investigate. Once this happens, the contract gets bogged down in endless quarrels and recriminations. The State is paralyzed to act while citizens are denied the service. By the time it is resolved, it is five or six years later and the contract sum has tripled or quadrupled.

Many Ugandans think that violation of procurement procedures is a sign of a corrupt intent. This leads them to believe that adherence to the rules is a sign of an honest and transparent procurement process. Both these assumptions are only partly true. Formal procedures can be used to create opportunities for corruption. For instance, a public official can frustrate a government contractor by being excessively proceduralistic in the hope of a bribe to speed things up. The counterpoint is that violating a few rules may not always (and necessarily) be motivated by a corrupt intent but by mere pragmatism. This is because rules can sometimes be stupid, arcane and mutually contradictory.

 
Monday, 25 August 2014 05:22 By Andrew M. Mwenda
Print PDF

The opportunities and risks China faces as it begins its transition from middle income status to a rich nation

I spent the whole of last week in China literally flying from one city to another – sometimes covering two cities per day. The speed of change in China is mind boggling. I had not visited Beijing since 2008. In just six years, I could not recognise it. Even cities that I had visited in 2011 have expanded so rapidly I could not recognise them either. Skyscrapers grow like mushrooms even in rural areas where small towns are building high raised apartments to accommodate the mass of people leaving farms.

In 1984, Beijing was a city ruled by bicycles. From the video documentaries of that age that I have, you can hardly see cars on the streets. Today, China has overtaken the United States as the largest car market in the world. During rush-hour, it can take someone four hours to drive the 40km from the airport to Tiananmen Square in spite of the impressive investments in rails, highways and flyovers. Even in the small cities and municipal towns I visited, like Wei Hai and Qingdao, China’s success is evident.

 
Monday, 18 August 2014 05:20 By Andrew M. Mwenda
Print PDF

Why Africa needs trade and investment from America, not lectures on democracy and human rights

Last week, we were in Washington DC to attend the America-Africa Summit. China, the European Union, India – even Turkey – have all held summits on Africa and with African leaders to discuss how to engage our continent in trade and investment. Given that America is governed by a “black” president, and given the hope and expectations many Africa elites had in Barack Obama, it is interesting he has joined the new “scramble” for Africa this late in the game. Good that Obama thought of his “home” even belatedly.

I was struck by exhaustion and spent much of my time on a drip in hospital than at the summit. However, I was impressed that Obama avoided bringing in the issue of governance (democracy, human rights blah blah blah) on the agenda and hence focused on common interests through trade with investment. I was pleased not because I think governance issues are not important – I think they are very, very important – but because they should be left to local players. If Africans want democracy, they should fight and sacrifice for it and not outsource it to Americans.

 
Sunday, 10 August 2014 21:45 By Andrew M. Mwenda
Print PDF

Will the anti gay community try to write a new bill and mobilise quorum in parliament to pass a new law?

Last week, the Constitutional Court in Uganda declared the Anti Homosexuality Act null and void because it was passed illegally i.e. without quorum. Since then, a chorus of Western media has been arguing that the courts did this because of pressure from their governments via suspending and withholding aid. Equally baffling was the claim that the decision of the court was delivered at the time it happened in order to help President Yoweri Museveni arrive in Washington DC for the America-Africa summit in order to meet Barack Obama with a better face.

Western society has increasingly grown arrogant and self-obsessed. For them nothing happens elsewhere in the world, but most especially in Africa, which is not a reflection of what they have dictated. In our struggle for democracy, it is not the voice and sacrifice of domestic actors that count but rather the pressures and demands of Brussels, Washington, Paris and London. Even in economic policy change, it is not the interests of locals but the pressures of World Bank and IMF that will be credited for reform. Thus, from the perspective of the Western media, the efforts and courage of progressive intellectuals, journalists, lawyers, judges and gay activists amounted to nothing in the struggle for gay rights in Uganda.

 
Sunday, 03 August 2014 21:52 By Andrew M. Mwenda
Print PDF

How power sharing in Rwanda has worked and the lessons Ugandan politicians can draw from it for our good

Just imagine that you wake up tomorrow morning and find the following in Uganda: Yoweri Museveni is still president of the country. His vice president is Mugisha Muntu. The speaker of parliament is Olara Otunnu. Museveni has just reshuffled cabinet and replaced Amama Mbabazi with Nobert Mao as prime minister. The deputy speaker of parliament is Nandala Mafabi. And Kahinda Otafiire is deputy prime minister. All these men are not yelling and shouting at each other. Well this is because of the above power-sharing arrangement. To make it work, there is something called a Political Parties Forum where differences between the different political parties over public policy are debated and final positions are adopted entirely through consensus.

In this forum, all political parties regardless of size have equal representation and the chairmanship rotates among each one of them every month. No voting is allowed. If there is a dispute over a given policy, they are required to sit and negotiate until a compromise is reached. They can hold as many meetings as possible until a compromise is arrived at.

When you interview the leaders of these different parties, they say they accept this approach to national politics. They argue that this is because the winner-take-all political competition among different parties almost tore the country apart. They say now the country needs to heal wounds and achieve a minimum political consensus in order to achieve shared objectives.

 
Monday, 28 July 2014 04:26 By Andrew M. Mwenda
Print PDF

How the internet has led to the growth of radicalism and the erosion of restraints associated with democracy

The growth of social media has created an important avenue for people to express themselves to audiences freely without the restraining hand of the governance structures of traditional media – newspapers, television and radio. These governance structures involve a hierarchy of power through which information is collected, processed (verified and assessed) and finally published and broadcast.

Usually, at the top sits the executive editor and below him/her are editors of all ranks down to the reporter in a hierarchy governed by a set of editorial rules and ethics that ensure every story meets a particular standard. This governance process allows a rigorous sieving of news to establish truth, accuracy, fairness, balance, integrity, context etc.  But as Karl Popper said decades ago, human society is inherently imperfect and a perfect society is impossible to create. So we have to content ourselves with an imperfect society.  So all too often, the governance structure of traditional media has failed us – untrue stories are published or broadcast, unfair and unbalanced attacks are made on individuals and organisations.

 
Sunday, 20 July 2014 21:21 By Andrew M. Mwenda
Print PDF

Although bar gossip and street rumours can be true, here is why journalists should always look for proof

Yusuf Serunkuma is a PhD candidate at Makerere University’s Institute of Social Research. In that capacity he also teaches students. He regularly writes commentaries in newspapers and features on radio and television discussions on major national issues. He is loved, admired and respected by his family, friends, colleagues and the wider Ugandan newspaper-reading public. Quite often international organisations seek his advice on public policy by hiring him as a consultant.

Haggai Matsiko is a 25-years old reporter with The Independent, a newspaper that is read by Uganda’s elite and aspirational classes, ambassadors, business leaders and the academia. While in a bar with friends, the discussion (kaboozi) comes down to Serunkuma. Joseph Ekomoloit, a friend of Matsiko, claims that Serunkuma is a very unethical lecturer who gives female students high marks in exchange for sex. Ekomoloit claims he has spoken to many students at Makerere who have told him this story.

 

Page 1 of 35

  • «
  •  Start 
  •  Prev 
  •  1 
  •  2 
  •  3 
  •  4 
  •  5 
  •  6 
  •  7 
  •  8 
  •  9 
  •  10 
  •  Next 
  •  End 
  • »
 
 
 

NTV Newsnight

 
COMMENT