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22nd September 2018 - EU impudence towards Uganda

Only what can easily be read as European Union impudence towards Uganda, could have stolen first place in this column’s offering from the death of our dear brother David Rubadiri! I wanted to express my repugnance of EU in the strongest possible way, where it could be spotted world-wide by the diplomatic world and rightly condemned.


While it is true that recently Uganda has undergone much worry about the way some of its citizens have undergone trauma at the hands of its Security agencies, all the known cases are now with Uganda’s Courts of Justice.
Therefore for what the EU’s report calls “European Parliament resolution of 13 September 2018 on Uganda, arrest of parliamentarians from the opposition (2018/2840 (RSP))” to have been rushed through like this points to interference in Uganda’s State affairs, the more so since all matters raised are fully in the capable hands of its Courts. My sorrow at yielding first place concerning the departure of the wonderful human being Rubadiri was, and instead substitute the EU’s regrettable behaviour to Uganda, is because Nations are bigger than individuals!
The EU resolution has a hefty eleven (11) “having regards” and fifteen (15) “whereas” before fourteen (14) “demands”, as to what it wants done. If all this is not to make Uganda’s face land heavily in the mud, I’ll eat my hat! The only half-concealed weapon is Number 11, and says: “Calls on the EU to take advantage of the political leverage provided by development aid programmes, especially budget support programmes, with a view to enhancing the defence and promotion of human rights in Uganda”. My foot!
In other words the gloves are off! If you give willingly as Government or Country, towards the helping of human beings in need, should you still lose any financial Aid if the EU Leadership decides you don’t do what it wants you to do? This surely is nakedly barbaric! Uganda is one of three leading countries worldwide in helping refugees. It is also the leading nation supplying its soldiers as Aid to Somalia’s fighting of Terrorists.
However, as it happens, Uganda Government and Bobi Wine’s “People Power” left their swords in their scabbards upon his return from America, Thursday. Why split blood before other choices are exhausted? Well done Government, the same to Kyagulanyi! Let God smile on your other endeavours!
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I first met Rubadiri when undergoing my departure from King’s College Budo to Makerere University College in 1956. This meant it was during the first term, since that is when we played Cricket (the game of which somebody said it was “like Life but more so”!) My meeting with David concerned it. He was an Old Budonian, but had already left Budo for Makerere, and finished Makerere: in other words I was following in his footsteps. To this day I recall something melancholic, almost heroically so, about his face and bearing, from that very first meeting.
I was 18, he 25 and a half. He was from Nyasaland (now Malawi), but his family had decided to send him to Uganda. Then, or soon thereafter, Dr Banda came to its power, and stayed forever, at least till nearly 100, a record which neighbouring Robert Mugabe did his worst to emulate later! Rumours said David Rubadiri was the obvious successor to Banda, and to make sure he stayed alive he managed to be sent to the UN as Malawian Ambassador. In the event he never got the top job, at which he would have been a natural. What a let-down to him, and to Malawi! He had the aura absolutely.
His poetry was very good, assured in tone, and with a quiet humour to boot; for example, I find myself forever quoting from that lovely poem: Stanley Meets Mutesa (which I am sure never happened in Life), with that only adding to its bite.
Honesty requires a sour note added, it being part of the tale. I never warmed to his one novel, No bride price. What made matters worse was that I reviewed it accordingly! I went overboard: “My only surprise is that he allowed his name on it!” The culprit I had in mind was his second of two wives, our great friend Janet Shalita, a Rwandan Ugandan; she I forgave since she’d never written anything. 
In London years after, Rubadiri said in his quiet way, “But you were very hard on my little book!” It hit me in the chest. The floor wouldn’t swallow me! Words dried. Finally I stammered, “It doesn’t fit two cheeks”, close to the Luganda: “Tekiwoomera matama abiri!” We never said more, at least to my remembrance. We met many times again though. One of the last was in the Belgian Restaurant near my house in a leafy neighbourhood of Kampala, one or two years ago.
Dear God, it was wonderful: he with his family, I with mine. Last week a Monitor reviewer got me on the phone: “Might you say a few words on late David Rubadiri?” I hadn’t yet heard! To that I add, words of a poem we sang at Budo: “They told me Heraclitus, they told me you were dead, They brought me bitter news to hear, and bitter tears to shed…” Goodbye, Rubadiri: one of a kind!  

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