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30th March 2019 - Not to suffer fools gladly

For some reason I awoke at 5 am on Sunday with the phrase “Not to suffer fools gladly” ringing in my mind.

I was born on 25 April 1938 at Gahini, in Ruanda-Urundi (so-called by its “owner” then, Belgium). Now it is Rwanda, and has long been separated from Burundi. (Incidentally the phrase offering today’s title was originally used by St Paul in his second letter to the Church at Corinth.)
Jump eight decades on and Rwanda now pulsates constantly in my brain, for its closing its border with us in Uganda. Leaders of the two nations weren’t around in ’38, but that never stops either of them from being unable to “suffer fools or indeed foolish notions gladly”. In this they could be twins! This time round it has been the older man (and at one stage the boss of the other) who has swiftly stepped off his high horse, and written a very friendly public letter to the other, explaining relationships with some Rwandans which the other might have considered as “over-friendly”. Your columnist considers both Leaders heroes in the way they have saved their nations from utter ruin.
Many years ago, when Uganda and Rwanda went to London a few times for some kind of refereeing, I was once seated at the top table where both Presidents were seated, with the British minister between them. So much was the minister taken by the Ugandan Leader that he swivelled right round to chat with him, leaving the other unattended. I happened to be seated next to High Commissioner to Uganda Wood that I whispered to him to save the situation by writing a note to his boss. It made him very nervous but he finally did so.
The Minister restarted talking to both Leaders swiftly! At the drinks afterwards the very tall Rwandan Leader saw above the crowd where I was standing and made his way there, asking how I was doing! The next time I saw him, quite a few years afterwards, was at my birthplace. Sam Kutesa was re-burying his father, who had worked with my Dad to bring the Gospel to Rwanda and Rwandans. Soon as I was near enough to the President I said I had a message for him from Dar es Salaam.
My wish to say it was quickly granted. I then seized the opportunity to ask for a future interview which I could use for this Column, also immediately granted. Four or five years have elapsed, without using my opportunity but now, with some cold winds between Rwanda and Uganda, might prove a good chance. If granted, I would swallow it more quickly than I’ve done to the amber liquid, but I’d try my all to help my birth place, plus also the land of my ancestors!                  
English is not most Ugandans’ first language, but we shouldn’t daily murder its vocabulary! But for Uganda’s best newspaper, the New Vision, to write about one of our junior Ministers that she was in the path of an assassination attempt is too much to bear! Only huge VIPs, say Presidents of Nations, are chosen for Assassinations. “Murder” would do for the rest of us. Yet, according to Vision she told her bodyguard, twice, to kill the assassinators: and at first he refused. How did she know they were out to kill her? Did she know them? Finally one, of two on a motorcycle,   was shot dead. It was said he was in handcuffs! In his bag there were foodstuffs he was taking to his kids at school.
Our whole nation was aghast, rightly so. This police crime stinks. The Police spokesperson, affable Fred Enanga, apologised to the family for the murder: “It is true that the deceased was removed from the pick-up and instantly shot dead by our officer. It was a straightforward case of murder, conspiracy and professional misconduct.” I am sure we shall witness a protracted case of unravelling what really happened to the victim, the more so since he was almost certainly innocent, apart from wearing handcuffs! Uganda might give some latitude to Police shooting armed robbers if that’s the only way out. But shooting dead a person because they were speeding close to a ministerial vehicle is altogether another matter!
As if that wasn’t enough, came aviation news that Uganda Airways, which had collapsed to nothing, but which Government in its wisdom now wanted to resuscitate, for which obviously a great deal of money would be required, had only now discovered a serious hitch. Apparently a Ugandan owned all the shares but two: it sounded fishy. Even fishier was the story the very next day when Government miraculously achieved all the shareholding! But that wasn’t quite the end of the pantomime. Two individuals held 1.9 million shares, leaving only two shares to Uganda Government! The two individuals’ names? Matia Kasajja and Monica Azuba Ntege, respectively Minister of Finance and Minister of Works and Transport.
Don’t forget that at the same time Uganda is poised to invest, as a debt, around half a billion US dollars to have built for it, and managed, a really fabulous hospital, by Italians. Here’s hoping they aren’t those Italians who break all your bones if you don’t repay on time!  

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