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HomeNATIONAL NEWSJIM SPIRE SSENTONGO: My Problem With Mwenda's Analysis

JIM SPIRE SSENTONGO: My Problem With Mwenda’s Analysis

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Andrew Mwenda’s article about the #UgandaParliamentExhibition that is making rounds is interesting and makes some insightful macro political connections. However, it mainly falls short in its implicit glorification of political cynicism and concentration on analyzing how the animal is chewing us without any moral concern over what it’s chewing – and how to stop it. He mainly labours to find the best position from where to observe how the animal is chewing and why.

He declares from the onset that “for me, this is politics”. If it’s politics, so what? First, it’s not only politics. It is politics that sustains it, but it is greed, theft and decadence. To look at it as just politics is to normalise it as just a Machiavellian game that we should understand and appreciate as such. It’s like saying: ‘Let politicians play their games’.

For him, for the public to condemn it in view of the public injustice, their ignored problems and poor service delivery; that is “self-righteous indignation”. In other words, since in one way or another we all have weaknesses somewhere, we shouldn’t raise a finger. That is blackmailing taxpayers! For our own wrongs, let us be kept accountable too. General human fallibility should not be used to gaslight those who condemn wrongs.

He says that he knew about much of the stuff that has been exposed by the exhibition. But then he starts the article by wondering why it has taken this long for the scandal to be reported. As a journalist who had all the evidence, why didn’t he report it? He says that he waited to see what the President would do. But, even then, his “usual self-righteous indignation” was put aside when he learnt from a friend that the President used to spend a lot of money on compromising Parliament than he spends now – since the Speaker is doing the job well. Is that justifiable as a reason to have stopped Mwenda from reporting the scandal!.

Between the lines, one easily reads that Mwenda writes in reverence of Museveni’s manipulative political calculations by which Parliament’s excesses are left to continue for the latter’s political benefits. He doesn’t condemn that anywhere. As a Machiavellian, for him the means are justified by the end. Thus while the animal is chewing, he is chanting on its craft in working its teeth effectively! It’s like crediting a thief for breaking in skilfully.

Even on the Speaker’s actions, he does the same. For him, her fault is “failing to manage the most important relationship with key media persons”. It is not the scandal that matters, but the fact that she allowed it to come out by not ‘managing’ journalists more effectively. This as well implies that Mwenda approves of the Speaker’s gagging and compromising Parliament journalists. For a senior journalist to incline to this is ironical.

Perhaps the most absurd is where he says that Among forgot that she has enemies who like to see her fall or, at least, publicly shamed. That she should have avoided fights with journalists like Agatha Atuhaire. This goes to downplay the concerns of the angry public and exhibitors. In other words, Agatha is only bringing out this information in jilted vengeance! I don’t know what this is meant to suggest about her.

There are people within that are really unhappy with what is going on. Some of these have volunteered information. For Mwenda, of all possible reasons for insiders’ cooperation with exhibitors, it is hatred that he points out!

Now I’m left wondering, how many more scandals is journalist Mwenda aware of that he is waiting to be broken so that he comes out to analyze them for us! To help us understand that they are just politics 101!

The Writer Is a Philosophy Teacher, Cartoonist And Columnist.

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