It is not uncommon for daily events in Uganda to elicit the comment “did this really happen?” Abnormal is the new normal. From church to shrines and back to public commuters and even the dogs in the home, there is not quite much that happens that many can say “this is the Uganda we want”. It’s a bat’s life in Uganda now and we are so used to it all.
But if you are the type who is always left behind and asking “what did the teacher say?” long after the class has stopped laughing at the joke, then here is the repeat to help you remove yourself from the bat’s philosophy of life and see the reality. Bats rest upside-down. In that resting position, the mammals look at what is going on beneath them and say, “Look at those imbeciles, they are walking on their heads.” And it doesn’t matter whether they are seeing Abiriga, Museveni or Besigye; we are all the same to the bats.
The first time I imagined bats’ life, I chuckled and concluded that the mammals were probably the least intelligent in our species. But looking at Uganda now, I realise the joke was on me.
The bats know how much Uganda has tried to promote rolex as a special delicacy and tourist attraction. Maria Mutagamba (God bless her soul) was hearty in promoting rolex and if she is watching from the purgatory today, she must be smiling. While she was alive, she had not envisioned the idea of adding rolex into our education curriculum, but fate has decided to take action.
The other day, the suits at Uneb headquarters were running their heads bald trying to figure out how rolex was eaten inside examination scripts. I mean, the good guys in Iganga wrapped rolex in scripts that Uneb thought was only known to them. Long before candidates had been screened for the exams, rolex had already oiled and whetted the scripts and left the rest to the mockery of the country, excitement of the candidates and pain for Uneb.
Characteristically, as the bat saw, the minister for Education was quiet. Her apologists said it was not her jurisdiction but that it will be her jurisdiction to release results of the same rolex exams…oops! I meant of the national exams. The bats agree with me. This is all so normal now. Just like our Temple of Justice turned into ‘temple of jokes’.
The bat looked down on the now daily normalcy around out jurisprudence and concluded the laws of Uganda and the custodians thereof it have seemingly agreed with the daily brutal arrests of persons they have released or acquitted from custody. There was a time these custodians put up some feeble resistance called ‘condemnation’ but feeble turned to effete and now they hardly utter a whimper.
Back in the days when bats nestled on branches facing up, Ugandans would have stepped in to demand to know why plain-clothes armed persons were brutally arresting a civilian and forcing him into a private car. That would be brutal kidnap and citizen policing means the people would have given those thugs a good beating and saved the poor guy being treated like a cadaver.
But then the bats started perching upside-down and everything changed meaning. Now we are safer watching from a distance and saying, “it’s none of my business, after all I am not related to the victim in anyway.” How long before us the onlookers are the ones being made to appreciate that the ‘Panda Gari’ or the yesteryear were kids’ pampers compared to where we are now in terms of unlawful brutal arrests?
If only bats could talk. These mammals would be the perfect creatures to turn to for consolation and understanding of how normal Sam Kutesa’s tax haven in Seychelles in this era of bats life. Before the bats lived and in the distant future where there will be no bats batting their wings into our lives, concerned authorities would be peering at Kutesa with their spectacles pulled down their nostrils like a confused doctor wondering whether to give aspirin or panadol or both to a coughing girl.
Kutesa aside, I wonder why it took many Ugandans so long to peel the layer on Ruhakana Rugunda’s façade. The man has lived grinning like a groom all his life, with the beards and diastema that accentuated some innocence, making him pass as some sort of ‘ndugu’ in the hearts of Ugandans. But now the bat has arrived and is having a hearty laughter at our expense.
I think I overheard the bat whisper something like “your lot don’t even want to admit Rugunda was the Internal Affairs minister or something-something when the ‘Temple of Justice’ was first raped, leaving Justice James Ogoola waxing poetic lines. From the 1980s, Rugunda was in the mix of things, serving juice at intervals to his Deejay boss to spin the discs. But now he is like a man angry that his efforts were not being appreciated so he has decided to come out full throttle.
A medical doctor by profession, the man is blasé to the situation that has forced doctors to lay down their tools. And lot of Ugandans are cursing and lamenting at being taken at face value for so long. The bat is chuckling.
At this rate, Ugandans might get confused on whether to first disperse the bats and kill anything like the mammals or face up to the police machinery that believes that it is only okay to organise people to discussing entrenching of the regime and anything to the contrary must face the brute force.
The bats say even the police are acting up. The normal is normal no more in police operations. And this has nothing to do with the drugs they feast on. Oh, it would be interesting to see how the police that steals drugs would be effecting the arrest of Sam Kutesa if such a world befell the bats life in Uganda or maybe CMI would have to step up.