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Like Uganda village drunk, Trump told uneasy truth

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THE EAST AFRICAN – In Uganda, the village drunkard plays an important social oversight role. When a person dies in the village, the drunko is deployed. Some “decent” guys buy the drunko booze and then wait for the vigil.

Our vigils are an overnight affair, where well-wishers sit around a fire in the compound and the choirs sing mournful hymns.

When one song ends, just before another starts, the drunko goes to work. Targeted for censure are close relatives who did not help the deceased with medical bills, especially if they are well-to-do children coming home from Kampala driving good cars.

As the night progresses, the drunko brings out hotter stuff. If the deceased was having an amorous relationship outside the home, beans gets spilt. Better still, if the deceased’s spouse is the one in such a relationship, the drunko names and congratulates the partner upon their “good luck” now that the competition is dead.

Everybody pays attention and then they reprimand the drunkard for saying “silly” things on a serious occasion. Chances are that those who abuse the drunkard most are the ones who supplied him both the booze and the info.

To broaden our view from the Ugandan village to the international scene, US President Donald Trump is not the most exemplary personality in the world. But he sometimes says the things that nice people would wish to say, but lack the nerve. He is like the Ugandan drunko who censures the errant relatives and friends of the dead while the nice people are praising the villains in official speeches.

Since it is nice to pretend to be nice, I will not comment about any country offended by Mr Trump’s classification that shouldn’t be printed here, except my own country. And I, of course, disagree with him.

Uganda is not what Trump said some countries are. The only problem is that more often than acceptable, we tend to behave in ways that provoke others to call us names.

Yet we do all it takes to deny the racists the “justification” to insult us by correcting a few things in conducting our public affairs.

For example, in Uganda, not once, not twice but several times, have we been forced to pay back donors money that had been given to us as development or humanitarian grants, but got stolen by our officials.

If those grant-makers didn’t call us what Trump calls us, we still know they felt the same way about us as the US president does, especially when we don’t prosecute officials who steal public funds.

In fact, one time, the British authorities arrested a Ugandan official for taking a fat bribe on a supply contract, tried him, found him guilty and duly returned the money confiscated from him to our government. It was at a public function, where they invited the press and handed over a huge dummy cheque to one of our leaders.

Must we really invite such humiliation to ourselves?

I must admit, though, that my fellow countrymen who don’t like being criticised are very good when it comes to arguing the case against the bad behaviour of the donors.

They quote several anti-aid books to prove their point. None of the books they quote is written by a Ugandan.

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