Essays, poems and Stories of an African-American

Friday, 24 February 2017

Prophet Kakande of Uganda: Coins The Term "Lesbianism" and Heals It

This was the scenario that prompted the writing of this blog. Prophet Kakande healed a lesbian, who on renouncing her ways also confirmed the prophet's revelation in which he named all of her accomplices.

Pastor Kakande Samuel, a renowned Prophet in Uganda, is part of the religious who have used spiritual avenues to create comprehensive development for all people. In the case of his flock he guides them to share in the: opportunity to see a man whose thoughts are in line with God’s Word; sharing the refreshing God’s Word and Spirit to renew the strength of his followers. His outcome goals are hearts and minds filled with God's Word, who are able to talk, think, and act as beneficiaries of the Word. He is a staunch believer in renewal and submission to God’s Word and authority.


The Prophet Samuel Kakande of The Synagogue Church Of All Nations in Uganda has led his followers since late 1980’s. Those who go to his church say, he is a committed, prayerful and full of wisdom. He is a man with gifts and success to show. What many see about Prophet Kakande are three gifts namely of: prophecy, healing and loyalty. This has been the basis for his popularity in Uganda and internationally.

In a continent where social and support infrastructure run by religious or Faith-Based Organizations make up a sizable percentage it is no wonder that the religious have become important. The ones who are well established, wealthy and can provide opportunities for people to socialize and affirm their support mechanisms are symbols in those communities. 

Pastor Kakande’s Synagogue Church Of All Nations in Uganda has been in existence for over 3 decades. It is a spiritual, healing and development pilgrimage centre for many. Many miracles have been said to occur at the synagogue among them is the healing of homosexuality. It is no surprise that this place will draw bigger numbers. As we continue to face the issues that assail us in the present world, the work of the religious will no doubt have so much impact on the direction of spirituality and comprehensive development of people.





video

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Genesis: A love-hate Story

Genesis brings out five aspects for me: God’s power to create; prevailing power of God; God, the garden of Eden, animals and humans; dialogues between humans and God and their outcomes; and the outcomes of different forms of curses and blessings.

The benevolent life and experiences humans and animals go through is the result of the decisions by those who decided to create them. Humans, animals and earth only came into being because God chose it to be so. Form was created from formlessness, void, darkness and surface of the deep. It took God seven days to create: light which was called day; darkness which was called night; heaven; earth; vegetation; seasons;  waters streaming with swarms of living creatures. All plants and animals were then blessed and destined to be fruitful. The earth was able to bring forth living creatures after their kind from cattle to creeping things. Plants and animals were capable of being fruitful, multiplying and filing the earth. There was beauty to behold and even God was saw all this was good (pages 9-10). Humans held a special place in this creation plan. They were made in the image of God with power to rule over fish of the sea, bird of the air. When all creation was done, God chose to sanctify that last day and to rest. But what shows that humans were special?

Humans were provided for in a special way and were given instructions on how to live peacefully in the garden of Eden (pages 10-11). They were shown which foods to eat and the forbidden things to do like not getting anywhere near the tree of life in the middle of the garden.  Eden itself had a river which divided into four other rivers. Eden had minerals such as: gold, bdellium and Onyx. Man was given charge of this garden. He was given a helper suitable for him home he named a woman. This kind of union would turn out to make man and woman to leave their parents to be joined as couples. In Genesis, the garden of Eden is central to it.
It is in the garden of Eden that we see many dialogues between humans, animals and God. This is where Humans were prepared in executing roles of authority over bird, fish and beasts. This is where the fall occurred (pages 12-13). The serpent tempted Eve who in turn tempted Adam to eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree. This is where humans realized they were naked and did something about this nakedness. This is where God holds court with the serpent and the humans. It is where the serpent is cursed and confines it to being bruised on its head by the seeds of humans. This is where the woman is rebuked and cursed to bear her children amidst pain. This is where she is told that man will be her master. This is where man is told to always work harder for his food and that he would no longer live forever. It is at this point that they were sent out of the garden.

What followed after man and woman were sent out of the garden shows the different experiences they continued to face. By now they had assumed names with the man being called Adam and woman called Eve. They gave birth to Cain and Abel (pages 13-15). These two sons were in different forms of production. Cain was a land tiller and Abel a keeper of animals. During  offerings it is said Abel always brought the firstlings and fat portions. His brother however did not offer the best of his harvest and God was displeased.  This displeasure made Cain angry to such an extent that he killed Abel. And for this , Cain was cursed. He became a vagrant and wanderer. This experience led Cain to plead with God who gave Cain a protective sign so that no one killed him in revenge. He had to go and settle far away from familiar places. He gave birth to offsprings e.g.Enoch. 

Meanwhile, humans continued to multiply in large numbers and sons of God saw daughters of men as beautiful ones to be taken as their own wives. This lifestyle did not find favor in the eyes of God. He cut down on the length of life of humans. God reached the extent of regretting why He created humans. He therefore took aside one righteous person called Noah whom He asked to make a very large ark (pages 17-18). He told Noah of his plan to destroy all creation. He instructed Noah to put animals and his own family which will be saved in the ark. Time came torrential rains fell, fountains opened up and the earth was flooded. No one outside the ark survived. After sometime, Noah devised tests to check whether the floods had abated. When he found out that land was dry he let free all the animals. God made a covenant with him where He promised to never again curse the ground on account of man (pages 19-21). With time the animals were able to repopulate the earth. Noah’s family was able to multiply too. But, things happened which forever changed the course of events. 
Noah planted a vineyard and made wines of which one day took so much of. It was to such an extent that he undressed. Ham, one of his sons saw his father’s nakedness and told his brothers Shem and Japheth who restored their father’s dignity by dressing him up. Ham was cursed for seeing his father’s nakedness but Shem and Japheth were blessed. Ham’s children became slaves to those of Shem and Japheth.  The other event that changed the course of events was when the Lord created different languages. This happened when humans were attempting to build a tower to reach the skies. The place where this scattering occurred was named Babel (pages 22-23).
So, in the story of Genesis these five aspects: God’s power to create; prevailing power of God; God, the garden of Eden, animals and humans; dialogues between humans and God and their outcomes; and the different forms of curses and blessings are highlighted. It also reads like a story trying to explain why there is love side by side with hate. God lovingly created the world. But, in a fit of displeasure God curses or destroys it. In a way Genesis reads like an explanation different races and the predicaments those different races face. In Genesis one reads of explanations which justify what I see now as mere injustices and it allocates blame onto certain people. There are two kinds of people: those who are shown to carry curses into perpetuity and those who are blessed offsprings. The ideas of being a master over slaves  and servitude are celebrated and encouraged.





Saturday, 18 February 2017

Public Service, Spirituality, Leadership, Social Justice and How I can Use Them for My Personal and Professional Goals

                   Public service is both a system and a deliverable. Through this community members seek to present what they can to promote good and quality life in their communities. Public service is also a mechanism through which those with needs can meet service providers to have these needs addressed. Public service is an employment base in the hospitality sector. Being an employment base, it has to fulfill given standards such as: non-discrimination, equity, equality and equal opportunities for all. For one who is deeply spiritual this is an opportunity  to conduct oneself responsibly and accountably.
               Spirituality is an individual belief in a higher divinity and it compels many people to be accountable for their behavior; it compels people to be of service; it gives one transcendental direction and focus; and it is what enables one to be orderly, organized in personal planning and dealing with others. This ability to be organized provides outcomes such as fairness and other leadership qualities.
             Leadership is two things. First of all it springs from the qualities of a person as well as the description of duty that leader takes on. Being a leader and leadership are two different things that complement each other. The requirements of a leader are also qualities expected of such a person and these include: fairness, dependability, commitment, energetic, showing up, willingness to learn, willingness to be trained, discernment, patience, responsibility, able to guide others, experienced and friendly. These qualities are used to leverage one to conduct her/himself in different positions of duty bearing. It is these qualities that make public service an indispensable activity for communities.
            Public service may be tangible or not. It may be invisible or a visible service. But, it has to be accessible. However, not all who need it can access public service. This could be because of: social-economic, cultural, religious and physical status of the people. Or it could be because of the nature of the service itself being prohibitive and exclusionary.  In order to proactively factor in fair access, there needs to be objectives in place to reach out to those who are disenfranchised. This proactive planning that fairly distributes services to accommodate the needs of those who are discriminated is the objective of social justice. 

               Public service connects spirituality, leadership and social Justice ideals. Through it one is able to operationalize these ideals. This internship will enable me apply my understanding of  the relation between public Service, spirituality, leadership and social Justice. It will be an opportunity to further my personal and professional goals as well as my commitment to public service.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Of the partition of Africa, Islamic Halal butcheries, Banyankole diary preservation, Baganda hospitality and Museveni’s indigenization of sense of security in Uganda; denouncing wrongs but setting records right

Politics in Africa is a lesson book for many aspects that many appreciate quietly or dispute noisily. Africa was divided up into economic plots by those who met between 1884-1885 at the Berlin Conference to provide a working understand and an opportunity to regulate European colonization and trade in Africa. This meeting was one sided and no delegate from Africa was represented. Perhaps better representation of Africans would have had other outcomes.  Presently, the borderlines seem to be intact save for some minor changes in West, East and Southern Africa where countries gained independence in later years or where conflicts still exist. When all is said and done, African countries we know today are as a result of that conference and no one is refuting that. So, many African heads may talk of the historical injustices but this one conference outcome is agreeable to them.


President Y.K. Museveni. Source twitter account of president of the republic of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni


In Uganda, Halal butcheries, may not go by that name nor do many appreciate the magnitude of the networks of Islamic-led animal slaughtering practices there. This practice was made official by the British Colonialists and gazetted by President Idi Amin Dada.  This has enabled Uganda meat products to have popular acclaim because it is the moslems who slaughter animals to be eaten by the public. This inclusive gesture toward the islamic faithfuls has four advantages: it takes in mind their taboos around the killing of animals; therefore allows them not to question procedure; it is a motivation for them to make purchases; and it is a lucrative business almost solely run by muslims. When it comes to Halal certification, Uganda is high up on the list of eligible countries by default. Halal certification, like vegetarian food choices increasingly provide a variety of choices from which to sample foods from other cultures. This is good, especially for the tourism industry in Uganda.


Uganda Ethnicities

Ugandan Cities and Towns



President Idi Amin

President Idi Amin. NB. All pictures courtesy of Google


I am a muganda man. And I want to add my voice to some misconceptions about the Baganda and our beloved president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. First off, the reference to racism thrown back and forth among many circles in Uganda is ineffective if by itself no one comes out to do something about it but just talk. Racism is like that Biblical where one has to first remove a log out of their eye before they remove a stick from that of the other.

In Uganda, talk of racism in Buganda is to be taken with a bit of salt. I always ask my friends from other tribes/ethnicities what constituted racism according to them. Are we talking of disputes over use of, say, the road or commonly used property? Most times, it boils down to use of resources. I also ask them if in their families they have had a child or two labelled as the black-sheep. If families have black-sheep, why should people be surprised at similar misunderstandings at community levels? When it comes to racist tendencies in Uganda, one should analyse if it is not an issue which can go away after mediation.  I do admit,  there are those who can be provocative and racist, but they can be as scattered as black sheep in different families.

I come from a very large family and during holidays. I looked forward to going to our ancestral home where we were helping hands at our modern large ranch with over 3,000 heads of cattle in Ntuusi. We could engage in different chores from: tagging cattle; cleaning the sheds; repairing the fences; watering the trees; to weeding and pruning.

Ntuusi like many parts of Buganda, has a mixture of ethnicities co-existing as has been for millennia. This area has people from Rwanda, Burundi, Ankole and Buganda who have lived here for so long.  Ruzindana is one example of people who migrated from other parts of Africa to come and settle in Uganda in the late 1940's. He was my childhood friend as well as his sisters and brothers: Kabeba, Karenzi, Birimumaiso, Kamuntu, Ndayiragijje and Kyomuhangi. When we got together we shared so much from: stories, labour force, helped each other with school homework, shared bed, breakfast and bathrooms. I got to know that Kabeba meant a rat (mice) in Kinyarwanda. I was nicknamed Kamese which means rat in Luganda, by my father. I am told it was because when I was younger I could not pronounce the name Mukasa and instead I would say Kamese. Ruzindana became a medical doctor and now works with the Rwanda Ministry of Health. Kyomuhangi a sister to Kabeba is a professor at a university in the United Kingdom. We are still in touch but we lost our ranch to a more well armed and powerful hand who treated us with all the contempt and discourteousness a sane mind could behold. There have been abuses against Banyarwanda ethnicities in Uganda, but there have also been numerous instances of courteous regard toward them. I am sure, we all have stories to tell. The problem is that there seems to be no structure within which to report abuses as well as reward coexistence. Uganda is both a melting pot and tossed salad example of how ethnicities, ideologies and cultures in Africa can work together.
Baganda Women

Baganda Males

Baganda Craft work (multi-legged stool)

Baganda Cultural Entertainment Group

Banyarwanda Homestead

Banyarwanda 

Banyarwanda Cultural Entertainment Group


In Uganda, if one wants very good ghee, yoghurt and other forms of creams one needs not look farther than the products from the well practiced art by the Banyankole in diary preservation. They have polished this art to the extent that there is use for all other dairy products and minimum waste occurs.  They have taught this art to other ethnicities in Uganda and this has helped increase on the options of dairy product use in Uganda.


Banyankole women

A young Munyankole youth milking a cow

Ankole Long Horned Cows

Ankole is known for milk

Special gourds used to make ghee and yoghurt by the Banyankole


President Yoweri Museveni, has shown to many Ugandans the value of consistency and a sense of security by providing opportunities for the larger population to clearly feel that government works with them. Like President Amin before him, he has empowered many to partake of the appropriateness of indigenous practices, skills and artisanry through use of African languages and words. I counted 6 (six) commonly used words he likes to use: “Kulembeka” meaning to make preparations to tap into resources; he popularized government programmes by using words that were agreeable to grassroots (his popular term is borrowed from Swahili and it is “Wananchi”); “Bonna baggagawale”  meaning eradication of poverty. He is oft quoted correcting people to not to be comfortable with alleviating poverty but rather eradicating it because according to his own words there is nothing good about being half poor; “Tannulu” is used when he is calling upon people to endure the long wait that one has to go through before achieving a goal; “entandikwa” means the disciplined, steadily progressive, preparation before and during the start-up phase of any activity; “lubengo” this is a large flat tray on which winnowing of cereal grains such as sorghum and millet is done. He usually refers to himself as the lubengo of Uganda. In Amin’s time 2  (two) words were popular and these are “black-market” and “Kibanda.” These became so ubiquitous that their meaning was apparent to so many Ugandans. These words were reflecting the economic characteristic of Uganda then. It was very hard to import goods through direct means. The United States Dollar (USD) was strictly monitored by the government and whoever applied for it was assessed for any threat to Amin’s regime. The USD was a very rare commodity but not when one was connected to the Kibanda boys who were adept at getting it. These Kibanda boys became popular because they never asked questions and did not scrutinize anyone for threat assessment. 


President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, doing community work

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni meeting the people

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni with medical doctors at an Army-run Hospital



The power of inclusiveness, the ability to localize upliftment practices, the creation of jobs and a culture of co-existing are some of the cues of sense of security. If exploited well by Ugandan leaders will be an opportunity to empower communities to become forces of effective development. Ugandans are capable enablers in their own progressive move toward a quality life and wellness.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Computerizing medicalized health; Lessons for Africa


It all depends. What gaps do we need to close ? It is like pointing out the real purpose of having  a car which does 350 MPH. In very rare occasions does one need to get the gauge to 350 MPH! The same applies to the internet! It will be very useful when it increases on the critical number of Africans who can be categorized as "informed patients." There is the disease and illness side to any ailment. The internet will help get many people in Africa aware of diseases. With interactive facilities, these people will add their own experiences of the "disease." This experience is called illness. Africa needs technologies that create interactive patient forms. It needs to make her health care workers savvy enough. It needs to make her care facilities computerized.  Most health workers are trained to diagnose diseases. Salaries are attached to disease groups. This explains the gap between what the health care workers prescribe and how patients make sense of things. If this disparity can be closed by the internet, Africa will begin to post quality care reports in large numbers. However, on the illness side, it is upon the skills and competence of the patient to break through the communication competence barriers that tend to arise in a doctor-patient relation. When patients become "informed patients" and are able to write or talk about their illnesses competently, we shall see a rise in the number of those who voluntarily seek quality life and wellness practices. All this is possible when Africa rises as one and invests in technologies that create interactive patient forms. It needs to make her health care workers savvy enough. It needs to make her care facilities computerized.

Anger among Ugandans has nothing to do with President Y.K. Museveni; it has everything to do with planned common resource development, sharing and use

It is symptomatic, it is historical, it is cumulative and has been undiagnosed since 1962. The fuel is:  internal unrest between 1966-1971, the debauched war to topple Amin, the international embargo against Uganda during Amin's regime, the devaluation of the Uganda shilling with promise to compensate people that was not fulfilled, the 1979 war, the 1983 Bush war, the promises to compensate those who lost property in the wars which were fulfilled for some and not others and the impact of HIV.


My late grandfather served as one of the first chiropractor-medical assistant in various places in Uganda including Mbarara and Masaka. He retired in the 60's. His children were educated in various schools. My father won an Engineering scholarship which took him first to Britain, Italy, Germany and then Brazil. In Britain, he excelled at the Guy-Leyland Industry, in Italy he beat the computer at assembling a Fiat engine. He helped improve circulation and reuse of oil in diesel engines. He was enticed to remain in Europe but chose to come back to Uganda. The Amin regime did not agree well with his types. He was unceremoniously asked to leave his job as the Government Vehicle Inspector. No compensation was made. He was forced to start afresh. I am sure there are many stories like these in Uganda. 

I can pointedly say more anger among Ugandans was furiously and fiercely stalked or reignited  by the occurrences between 1979-1986. HIV brought its strain of anger. This anger has never been fully assuaged. The early collective mind of a Ugandan black African in the early days of the HIV disease took on a multi-faceted dimension. In the earlier days (early 1980's) following the 1979 Liberation war many things happened simultaneously. 

A regime change that ushered in the road to democratic governance. People who committed atrocities were brought to trial. Others were not. Some who lost property, were compensated but others were not.  There were rumours of a disease far away from Kampala City Authority's comfortable zones. Othering those who had the disease became the norm. A vacuum and disconnect between those who were to provide services and recipients opened up. 5 litre jerry cans of herbal medicines that cost a limb became the symbols of self care in many a homes. It was a field day for unregulated herbalists. My own father sold all his 6 Bunga-Ggaba estate mansions plus the sprawling well manicured 8 acre land attached as he fought for his and the life of the wives. An insurance supported by government would have helped but, it was non existent. Today, the case of access to ARV's warrants an entire article on its own.
Meanwhile, it is still open market for the herbalist and other providers who promised cures which are not real.

Between 1979-1986, Uganda experienced tensions at political, social and cultural levels which in turn affected the way people experienced life and decided on what to prioritise. A mass austerity automatically kicked in even without the government's say so. People made austerity practices that affected food provision, sleeping arrangement, mobility, choices for wellness and investing in quality life. People became a dumping ground for trauma characterized by severe deprivation and living in squalid conditions. This has gone on even after it has been established that Uganda has one of the best government systems in Africa today. Somehow, this trauma has demotivated many from taking initiative. Not even "entandikwa," "ennyongeza" "bonna baggagawale," and other programmes can be carrot or stick enough. But, this does not give Uganda any excuse not to provide ways to addressing many unmet past recession, depression and austerity episodes. Another article will explain the meaning of President Y.K. Museveni's remark: "...I am not any body's servant. Me, I am a freedom fighter...." But quickly and as a scholar of intercultural communication. This message was not meant to posture or position himself as an isolationist. In fact, he was a proud elder about to surprise a clan with a bull roasting feast. It was a preamble! But, let me not digress. We were talking about Uganda's need to adorn the mantle of a true welfare state now that she has Oil.

Courtesy: Andrew Mwenda

Other countries went through periods of recession, depression and austerity because of war, cataclysm or government policy. Ireland, Germany, U.S. (What was 'The Great Recession') and many African countries come to mind. Austerity with hope in a government that will come around to address historical wrongs in all the spheres at political, community and household level is galvanizing. The U.S. has gone through periods of austerity and two come to mind: The Depression, the 2008 recession and the 2013 government shutdown did not stop the The U.S. social systems to provide a minimum redress. This gives people hope.

Hopefully Uganda which has gone through traumatizing events can use say, Oil, to heal wounds and provide spaces of hope for diverse communities. It will be possible to help many who may privately be grieving not only for HIV but loss of property due to wars. This grief followed the 1979 war, the "war in the bush" and HIV/AIDS.



Sunday, 1 January 2017

Uplifting words have prophetic and catalytic empowerment; sayer beware

We need about 10,000 or more of us to indeed find time to read and write about Africa. We need that critical narrative by Africans about Africa and the World. Sometimes I wonder if the term "poor" has not corrupted some of us into complacency. Uplifting words have prophetic and catalytic empowerment. 


While in Uganda, I mostly worked in the regional health districts, urban areas, on the big islands, rural areas and in emergency situations like the two Ebola episodes we had. I saw more pyrexia of unknown origin, idiopathic, neurological, trauma, mental health, physiotherapy and psychological cases that went unaddressed. It is no wonder that many patients see our hospitals or clinics as "death destinations that need not be embarked upon." 


Medicalizing medicine and the practicing of medicine in Uganda (perhaps in Africa too) have created power structures. I have closely followed African country-based health outputs as far as the Millennium Development Goals/Sustainable Development Goals go. I have written comparison reports and shared with people from other continents. 


I am a member of the International AIDS Society and Africa AIDS Society. In those capacities, it is my opinion that integration is the way to go. A change of mindset was due by 1970. This means we have to redefine our sense of health by imagining a spectrum. At one extreme, we should have any parameter defining a condition e.g., maternal mortality. At another end we can have wellness measures such as how many people are able to afford full antimalarials; have shuttered (with good ventilation, windows and doors) homes; can afford to control or avoid mosquito bites and other aspects. 


Health is so immediate a context and we need to define the good and problematic parameters equally if we are to talk of progress. It comes as no surprise when it stirs different emotions and criticisms. Who wouldn't want want first class care?  We need to combine the medical and social aspects, evidence-based medicine and contextualize the belief models experienced by Africans. Hospitals or clinics should not be shaming spaces for patients who want to take the after-birth back with them and place it at a sacred place in their home gardens. We should look into the patterns of African empathy and how these add to the numbers of people who visit loved one in the hospitals. We should use statistical reports to predict trends in demand and supply. We can motivate health workers through provision of better work conditions, task shifting and proper housing. We may have solutions to overcrowding, drug stock-outs and absenteeism. 


Lastly, I still think in place of words like "poor" or "backward," we can actually borrow from social science research or theories and contextualize African situations in a more proactive way with a goal of upliftment. I posit the following adjectival epithet: "low resource context countries" instead of "poor." Thanks for adding a narration to what matters in Africa and other low resource context countries.