To My Valentine!

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My Love,

Today is St. Valentine’s Day!

The story of St. Valentine, according to one of the legends rotates around the life of a Christian Bishop, Valentine who secretly wedded young lovers contrary to a decree by Claudias II who had banned marriage in order to preserve many able-bodied men for military service at the time the Roman Empire was crumbling.

After his defiance was exposed, Valentine was arrested and during his detention, he even dared to convert the Emperor, who was obviously offended and ordered his execution, believed to have been done on February 14, 270 AD.

We learn a few things from this story. Love involves taking risks. Imagine surrendering your life literally to someone who is not even your most distant relative. Trusting that they will treat you well. Sharing your secrets and plans with them. Believing that they wish you well. This is a huge risk, akin to Valentine’s defiance of the Emperor!

The other is that love surpasses prejudice and suppression and entails a great deal of sacrifice. We have heard sentiments to the effect that our relationship is wrong basing on tribe, religion etc. This is similar to Valentine’s time when marriage was looked at as “weakening men” and therefore unlawful. Valentine overcame this. I am so sure we shall equally overcome all the obstacles that may come our way.

I thank you for the love you have showed me since we started this emotional journey. You are all I have ever desired; a complete definition of my woman. You have stood by me during all times. This is the consistency I have always yearned for in a partner. You are so beautiful. You have made me see and feel the meaning of LOVE. Eyalama noi!!!

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When we smile…

On this day, I pledge to endlessly love you. Give all that is within my control to make you happy. I promise to make you a proud woman; a source of envy and inspiration for many.

I will always love you, Desire Ruth

From Your Valentine!

A Tribute to my good friend, Melanie Obizu

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This morning, as I was reviewing some fairly confusing Excel document in office (I hate figures!), my Facebook message notification icon pops on the computer screen. I click on it and  ka booom!!! It is a message from my Bar Course friend Melanie Obizu.

“I got da DPP job n im graduating from Tax school”, the message read. Of course the use of “im” for ‘I’m’ or ‘I am’; “da” for ‘the’;  and “n” for ‘and’—typical of many social media users would have made Timothy Kalyegira, the ‘Kampala Express’ Editor grind his teeth in disgust.

Anyway, back to Melanie. Melanie is a very good friend of mine. I met her during our pursuit of the dreaded Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice at the (in)famous Law Development Centre, Kampala.

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The author with Melanie on their Bar Course graduation day. August, 2013

Your first impressions of Melanie may that of a fun loving, less serious and ever partying chic. You may most likely talk about exotic foods—her favorite topic. She is not shy about her never disappointing appetite for food (she calls it her number one hobby). Then of course, the discussion will somehow move to relationships.  Fashion is her other topic (yes, she is an avid designer especially of African wear); she picks her clothes very carefully. Find her on a suit and you will have no option but marvel at her corporate look. If she is wearing an African design (her native proximity to Congo comes in handy here) and you will see an indigenous organic African woman in her. Then, find her in the party mood. I will spare you my explanations here but one thing is for sure, you will, by impulse notice her…… (You all know what typical African women are gifted with as opposed to their muzungu counterparts).

I am about deviate again so back to the message. Melanie is a go getter. Once we finished LDC, she worked in a law firm for some time in Kampala during which time she enrolled for a Post Graduate Diploma in Tax and Revenue Administration (PODITRA) from the East African School of Taxation. Now I did this course in 2010/2011 and one thing I can tell you is that it is not for the faint-hearted, especially if Maths is not your thing. Melanie did, passed and is now due for graduation. Congratulations dear!!!

She later got a job with a human rights agency based in her hometown Arua. Very unthinkable, if you ask me. You can easily classify Melanie as this chic who wants the finest things in life easily and thus cannot work upcountry but there she was, in Arua.

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In June, 2014, we met in a workshop at Silver Springs Hotel, Bugolobi I was facilitating organized by her then employer. The smiles are evidence of how long we had taken without physically meeting

One time she even expressed readiness to work in Karamoja, for the sake of building her career.

From these few illustrations, I have concluded that Melanie is one of the few  focused, visionary, hardworking, humble, daring, confident, professional and down-to-earth female friends I have ever met. I am so proud of my friend and more proud to be your friend.

As you join the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, all I ask of you is never to ashame our generation. That office has had its fair share of scandals, intrigue, corruption, to mention but a few. We the youth have always criticized the elderly for being backward and less progressive. So I expect nothing but competence from you. Do not step on people’s toes; respect your superiors, go the extra mile in your assignments, make as many friends as you can but most importantly, be and stay PROFESSIONAL.

I Wish you the very best, buddy!!!

Why I am Disappointed to be A Youth Today!

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“You Want Another Rap”
This will go in Uganda’s election history as one of the wittiest inventions by then NRM Presidential flag bearer Gen Y.K. Museveni in the 2011 elections. This song took the country by storm. From night clubs, FM and TV stations to phones, social networks etc, Mzee stole the show!!!

Despite its irrelevance to Uganda’s contemporary issues, political commentators opined that the hiphop-oriented track was designed to appeal to the country’s largest constituency–the youth! Early this year, I met one of the brains behind this song and they confirmed this notion.

Naturally, by constituting over 70% of Uganda’s population, the youth have the numerical strength to shape the political, social and economic destiny of this country. In fact, I have argued that under ideal circumstances, it should be the youth dishing out affirmative-action packages to other “special” groups in Uganda, especially the elderly basing on their numbers.

Furthermore, their (in)famous ‘fresh blood’ connotes novel ideas and perspectives to Uganda’s problems. Being tech-savvy strategically positions them to research and analyze the country’s challenges and propose conceptually-reasoned, innovative, contemporary and world class solutions to these problems unlike the elders who can hardly hold a mouse of a computer.

The youth are energetic. Being below 35 years means more zeal and energy to work. They seldom suffer age-related health complications like diabetes, blood pressure, heart complications, etc. Their brains are fully functional and can work for long hours. Thus, they are in position to channel much energy to national issues unlike the unhealthy, sleepy, worked-out and tired old people.

Lastly, the youth are risk takers. By having less accumulated wealth, probably no family etc., they are well positioned to take Ugandans to the biblical Promised Land. This is because majority of them have less personal interests at stake (businesses, family, property etc.). Literally, they have nothing to lose as opposed to the oldies that have to worry about their (ill-gotten) wealth, huge families, reputation, social class etc.

In one public lecture, Norbert Mao, the President General of the Democratic Party stated that he is more proud of the things he did as a youth—defeating a Cabinet Minister and later leading a censure move against another, opposing the sale of UCB etc.

As a matter of fact, most of the NRM fighters were youth (Gen. Saleh started fighting at 16) and they held big positions when they were below 35 (Muntu, Mayombo, Besigye, et al) and the country, it can be argued was doing well. Same can be said of the Independence heroes who were mostly young people.

But what is the reality in Uganda today? The youth are the ones taking part in divisive politics; soliciting or giving bribes; being used to fight other people’s wars; filling up space in our Prisons; asking for representation in Parliament as “Special Interest Group” (can you imagine?); engaging in street violence, etc. Completely misguided!

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A section of youth kneel down to show their support for a certain candidate (Internet Photo)

This has led me to one realization—vulnerability is not about numbers but rather about status. Mere being the majority does not necessarily translate into being a powerhouse. Little wonder, any loaded old man/woman, can literally arm twist an entire hoard of youth to tow his/her line—in most cases, to their detriment.

I am not saying the youth should not be ruled by the aged or that the elderly are bad people. Even a forest has both young and old trees (as some politician argued last year). My issue with the youth is their failure, despite their comparative advantage over the aged, to organize themselves into a bigger force to shape the national agenda in all spheres of the country. Instead, they are the most disorganized, abused and misguided lot this country has arguably produced.

I regret being a youth today!!!