“Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.”

Born in the womb of two brothas that (not only) I love, respekt en admire so, there’s a story I know that goes like El-Farouk Khaki en Troy Jackson seeded Human Positive last year, in response to the backlash that the brothas received for publicly standing in support of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, Palestinian rights, and criticising the state of Israel. Or so one version of the hadithi (story) goes…

Dis grassroots organisation has been nourished in expanding el-tawhid families (of loving ‘mis-fits’) en evolving collectives of muslim (identified) folks, and is rooted in principles of big love like salaam and ubuntu. Or so another version of the hadithi goes….

The bigger point is, big tings a gwaan with H.P’s programming for next year…..

These are some of the (s)heroes of the Q_t werd: a doc exploring (as ) many intersections of our diversity (as we can), and the possibilities of building revolushunary solidarity, in dub: in a caravan of us-people hadithi of (our vision) quests.

The riddle of the sphinx is in the connecshuns among the legends of GALCK, Human Positive, Fahamu, The People Project, Bredrin en dadas in solidarity, Nneka and Nneke Dumela

   Hii hadithi ni ya Agwambo Odera, Frederick Odhiambo, Gacheke Gachihi, George Nyongesa, Hilary Mulialia,  Onyango Oloo, Sam Ojiayo, Willy Mutunga, Tajudeen Abdul Raheem, Dedan Kimathi, Elijah Masinde, Ogun na Shango, this is a true confession, in the words of India Arie, of a live learned lesson I was sent here to share with y’all…

(excerpts from I)

introduction: reclaiming Afrika for Afrikans – Pan-Afrikanism: 1900 -1994 by Taju(deen Abdul-Raheem)

The 7th Pan-African Congress (7th PAC), held in Kampala, Uganda, from 3-8 April 1994 was organized to keep alive a tradition that has been around for about a century. The word ‘Pan-Africanism’ first entered the political lexicon in 1900, when the Trinidadian barrister, Henry Sylvester Williams, then based in London called a conference of black people to ‘…protest stealing of lands in the colonies, racial discrimination and deal with all other issues of interests to blacks’.1

It was however, in 1919 when the New Afrikan scholar and political activist, Dr. William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, convened what he called the first Pan African Congress in Paris that the Pan African Congress series, of which the 7th Pan African Congress was a continuation, came into being.

However, while the years 1900 and 1919 can be confidently cited as important reference points for the Pan African movement, the movement stretches much farther into the distant history of our people….the roots of the Pan Afrikan movement can be traced right back to the ravages of the first European slave ships to touch the Afrikan coast, some five hundred years back. In this connection, it’s not at all surprising that the founders of Pan-Afrikanism, as well as some of it’s leading warriors, have been Afrikans from the diaspora, who are descendants of the millions of Afrikans captured in the transatlantic slave trade.

Explaining the diasporan origin of Pan Africanism as a movement, W.E.B Du Bois has noted, Africans in the Diaspora tend to look to Africa as one united continent, one unit, mainly because they cannot trace their particular roots. 2

Moreover, the desire to cease being slaves was necessarily accompanied by the desire to go back home – to Africa. The precursors of Pan Afrikanism as we know it today are all the Back to Africa movements that sprung up in Ayiti, Brazil, Cuba, the US, and the rest of the Carribean during the early nineteenth century.

It was the ‘Back to Africa’ movement that for the ‘first’ time conceived of Africa as a ‘nation having socioeconomic and political problems that needed to be confronted on the basis of a Pan African strategy. At the same time, the Back to Africa movement made it imperative for the diasporan Afrikans to focus their attention on the problems of the continent. Apart from protesting the conditions of slavery under which they were living, the Back to Africa movement also called for the abolition of colonialism in Afrika.

The legendary Marcus Garvey is the most famous of the pioneers of the return to Afrika movement.3

Pan Africanism can thus be said to have its origin in the struggles of the Afrikan people against the enslavement and colonization of their people by extra Afrikan forces. Under the relenting onslaught of Pan Afrikanism, especially since the (1945) 5th Pan African Congress of Manchester, most countries on the Afrikan continent ultimately regained their independence. However, the regaining of independence did not end colonialism but only transformed it into neo-colonialism: political independence without economic independence……….

The (road to and from the) 7th Pan African Congress….if one must summarize in a few words what was significant about the 7th PAC and state what makes it distinct from all previous congresses, they must be: African women participated fully in the Congress but more than participating they formed PAWLO. From now onwards it will no longer be possible to write women out of the history of Pan Africanism. Attendance lists of previous congresses read too much like a register of an old boys’ school….but the 7th PAC (was supposed to have) changed this. We can(?) now talk of a movement that is reflective of all sectors of our society. To ensure this is permanent the women formed PAWLO, not as a rival to the global movement but as an equal partner, fighting together, striking separately, in our joint struggle.

 

Notes

1W.E.B Du Bois in ‘Origins of the Pan African movement’

2 Du Bois, ‘Origins of the Pan African movement’

3 For a summary of Marcus Garvey’s writings and his role in the Pan Afrikan movement see Amy Jacques Garvey with E.V Essienudom, Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey Vol.2, London: Frank Cass, 1977

from Pan Africanism Politics, Economy and Social Change in the Twenty-first century

[II] A People’s History of East Afrika:

Impersonating the People’s voices and the Rise of the Praetorian regime by Hilary Mulialia

Let’s start with a reality check. The Kenyan public has never been aware of itself as a people. They have never been a nation and have never acted as one.

A nation is a group of people who have common values, customs, language, origins and history. The claim to nationality stems from their possession of one or more of these aspects as “unique” to themselves.

Apart from their definition as a colonial unit of administration, “Kenyans” have nothing that is common and unique to them.

Nations are built by visionaries. Visionaries in positions of leadership who present a value so appealing that it is adopted into the hearts of the people and changes their every aspect of life, creating a new sense of identity.

It is from this identity that a “nation” speaks. It is values and principles that are the true Principals of a nation. It is these values and principles that speak for the nation.

 All the things that are now happening in the name of “Kenyans” are the machinations of a few individuals or small groups of individuals acting in the name of the people. These people have expropriated the self-determination and expression of the people unto themselves. They have conjured up ideas that work in their interests and have then used the media and the state machinery of administration to plant these ideas into the masses who then go repeating these mantras without internalizing the true meanings of the words they speak.

The individual and selfish interests of this small group are protected within a system of authoritarianism, where those who are above in the chain of command have complete authority over those below them. They work to create a strong Neo-colonial state (under the global Imperial State) where they play the role of the Praetorian Guard.

The Praetorian Guard

The Praetorian Guard was an elite unit of the Roman army whose primary responsibility was to protect the emperor and his family. They quickly became a force unto themselves, began to determine who was to become emperor and severally eliminated emperors who refused to abide by their ever growing greed for power and privilege.

Today in Kenya (and Africa in general), there has risen a class of intellectuals, lawyers, writers, editors and charismatic individuals (in the name of politicians and some pastors) who have occupied the position of the Praetorian Guard.

Their main task is to defend the ideals of Eurocentric Imperialism (European centered control) and also to create the environment it needs to thrive. They are rewarded with powerful positions in the local socio-political arena.

Even though they all work through different lines of command, they are all obligated to a central power, a center that funds all their operations and to whom they are all loyal to. As they say “he who pays the piper calls the tune”.

The top of these classes have come together to form a consortium that has full control over the masses. They regulate and direct the governance, economics, socialization and the people’s way of thinking towards the ideals of Neo-liberalism and into the clutches of Western Imperialism.

This is the true local power.

We are now under a Praetorian Regime!

 

Quick Background

There has always been a struggle, by a few conscious individuals and sometimes groups in this country, to liberate the African people from the ever evolving systems of suppression they have been under.

There is a lie going round that “Kenyans” have been fighting for reforms for the last 20 years. This ignorance is being perpetuated by those who want us to deny our sovereignty and self-efficacy (ability to effect). They want us to believe that we only started to fight for reforms when the Americans decided that we should. This is a lie.

Before we go around falsely accusing the masses of having made this or that decision, or that they want this or that article or kind of change, let’s go back to the beginning of our statehood to understand the Kenyan public and its involvement in change.

Less than a couple of years after independence, it was clear that;

  1. There were beasts inside the house. The ruling regime was a beastly ensemble of thieves and murderers who went all out to silence the likes of Pio Gama Pinto and J M Kariuki along with the remnants of the Mau Mau for trying to speak out to Kenyans and letting them know that this is not the independence that they fought for. The entire Executive had gone on a looting spree and accumulated for themselves vast resources that rightfully belonged to the masses. Other principled individuals, like Joseph Murumbi (the then vice-president), opted out of the game and engaged in his own creative aspirations.
  2. The System was fundamentally flawed. The constitution that we had adopted was an imperialist document which simply continued the colonial system of governance, the whole kit and caboodle, with the only changes being the color of the people manning the seats. In fact before independence, the main issue among the Africans was on the number of Africans being included in parliament. It was when the wave of independence from West and Franco Africa finally hit our borders that a hastily prepared Jomo Kenyatta was returned from seclusion and instated to the position of Prime Minister, a renamed Governor- under a queen, in the same mansion and all. It was only after one year of questioning that we dropped the Royal link and declared ourselves a republic with a president, even though the system of administration and the relations of power between the people and the government had remained the same.

Of course, the masses did not understand what was going on and apart from a few expressions of public anger during moments of extreme and explicit violence against their heroes; the masses went on with their lives, oblivious of their own pain.

At this point we need to ask ourselves certain important questions and answer them as we enter the next phase of our national development.

  • Where was the international community when Kenyans and other Africans were traumatized under the dictatorship of greedy brutes like Jomo Kenyatta and Mobutu Sese Seko?
  • How come there was no popular uprising in these and other African countries that would have lead to overthrows of dictatorships or at least led to the redrafting of imperial constitutions?
  • How come there is so much energy and resources available today to do these activities at a time when the urgency to do so is less than it was in “the dark days” of our advent?

Kenyatta was a feared man, and when he passed away in 1978, there was a silent sigh of relieve mixed with state orchestrated mourning in a ceremony which was overseen by Daniel Arap Moi, the Vice president who was to rise to the position of the second president of this country.

Moi was more of the same. In a short while, he had managed to consolidate power so well that the only way to remove him from power was to overthrow him.

Now, when there was a military uprising in 1982, not only were the masses not included in what many today agree was a necessary evil (to relieve us from the Draconian rule of Daniel Arap Moi), but these same masses were, of the view that the people responsible were some devil-possessed individuals who were out to destroy our “heaven of peace, love and unity”. Several individuals were held responsible and executed as the masses cheered.

The mid-eighties saw another mass-less strive for relief from totalitarianism. A group of Marxist Lecturers, under the label of “December Twelfth Movement” (DTM), started sensitizing their students on the tenets of communism. The students went ahead and organized themselves into the “Mwakenya movement” and as shouts of “people power” and greetings of “Comrade” started ringing out along the campus halls and periodically spilling out on the Nairobi streets during demos (sometimes for chapati and meatballs), the state knew exactly where to aim their clamps.

There followed a purge of all leftist leaning or speaking intellectuals along with their mind poisoning books and other literatures.

It was also during this time that the Nyayo House Torture Chambers became fully functional. Of its visitors, those who were lucky left with serious physical and psychological scars while the unlucky never even got the chance to re-emerge as corpses as the acid treatments they received completely pulverized their bodies. (You know, Kibaki was the vice-president during this time and as the second senior most executive in the regime, he owes Kenyans either an explanation or a prosecution of those whom he got intelligence of their involvement.)

Still no masses! Still no intervention by the international community! (They were too busy injecting neo-liberalism into our national veins in the name of Structural Adjustment Programs.)

External Dynamics

The fall of the 80s came with a global change that was to affect our internal governance for the second time in our history. At this point we need to illuminate on the relation between external causes and internal effects on the history of Kenya. We shall call this “geopolitics”. For this, we shall take a quick step back, just for clarity, before we resume.

The first geopolitical cause that resulted in a beneficial effect for the Kenyan people was the African revolution.

Now, let’s face the truth! The Mau Mau struggle had been fully contained in 1956 with the capture of Dedan Kimathi and their fate was eventually sealed by his execution in February 1957. Our destiny was on the same path as the South Africans and the Zimbabweans (and judging by the level and number of collaborators and others willing to sell their kin for profit, Kenya could have still been under colonial rule even today).

Luckily for us and many other countries, there had been an ideological battle between a collection of African minds (who included Nkrumah, Toure, Cabral) and the existing imperial ideologies which had conquered African minds. These revolutionaries united as Africans, managed to liberate the minds of their populations whose masses engaged their occupiers at the highest level of thought and this proved to the dominators that they were indeed dealing with intelligent beings capable of strategizing and ejecting them from this land.

Things then started moving very fast, though most of this movement was away from the sight and knowledge of the Kenyan masses. The Ghanaians won their right to self determination and Nkrumah immediately declared that “the independence of Ghana means nothing without the liberation of the rest of Africa”. In 1958, at the African Independent States Conference (at the time only 8 (mostly Maghreb) African countries were liberated), it was vowed by those present that Africa will not rest until all foreign occupiers leave.

It is through this actions and the resultant wave that independence landed on the Kenyan masses. This was after another 25 countries had been granted their independence in this 5 year period. The only hiccup for us is that the British selected Jomo Kenyatta, a man whose character they understood well and whom they knew was going to protect their interests at our expense. They were right!

The Second Geopolitical Cause. The end of the Cold War brought about a second shift in dynamics.

Before the dawn of the 90s, the west was strategically placing and maintaining despotic leaders over third world countries. Two main reasons;

  1. Greedy despotic leaders would be easy to compromise with kickbacks and they would readily allow for the rape of their natural and national resources by foreigners because (and we can’t over emphasize this) even though they had the intellectual capacity to understand the true value of their resources, they did not have the moral capacity to understand the damage they were doing to their people.
  2. Most importantly, in their war against communism which came with the promise of people power, the Liberal West needed to plant individuals with extreme totalitarian tendencies who would viciously crash any form of popular uprising. Communism (liberalism’s antithesis) was the biggest threat to their dominance and everything else (including the then almost half-a-century old Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was being violated by their key African partners) was secondary. Corruption or murder, nothing could stand in the way of the political goodwill and financial support that these leaders regularly received.

The events that were happening in Eastern Europe, even though totally unknown to the Kenyan masses, were about to have a serious effect on Africa and the other third world countries.

As the USSR, a key supporter of socialist and communist movements worldwide, started disintegrating, the world knew that time for change had come. The fall of the Berlin wall signaled the start of the next phase of the new world order.

Now that the immobilizing threat of communism was out of the way, the purpose of the despotic and totalitarian goons (in the names of presidents) was now over. The question that was eating at the West was now; how to rid these resource filled territories, of the old guards (literally) and bring in a new kind of supervisor who would be able to run the more advanced system of expropriation and exploitation.

Suddenly, the lonely and oppressed voices of dissidents living in foreign lands started to be heard very loudly. This was echoed within the country by a few disillusioned and now fully co-opted (read corrupted) former Marxists from the Mwakenya movement (or at least those knowledgeable in revolutionary ideology) still living in the country.

Then one morning, Kenyans woke up to a group of seven “liberators” riding on top of an old rusty “Toyota Stout” pick-up into the now famous Kamkunji grounds waving two fingers in the air and screaming something like “we must repeal section 2A of the Constitution”. The Kenyan masses had no idea what the constitution was let alone what section 2A read like.

Under the Generalship of one “rogue Ambassador” called Smith Hempstone, (a former correspondent whose views were so right- wing that he had been kicked out of several Conservative newspapers)  the Imperial powers (we can stop calling them the International Community) managed to marshal all the Kenyan dissidents to sing in chorus “multi-party now!”.

With the assistance of Hempstone’s fat pockets, the dissidents managed to marshal enough media to convince Kenyans that the repeal of Section 2A and the introduction of many parties were good for them. Soon the whole republic was chanting and waving the two-finger salute without having ever seen the document or understanding its contents. Nobody told them that parties were just cohorts of grabbers teaming up to outdo each other.

All was good and the (Imperial Powers) IPs were about to rid themselves of this unnecessary “cold war” baggage called Moi.

Now Moi, the self-made professor of politics, read into this scheme very quickly. He quickly analyzed the game and realized that the person who being prepared to replace him was none other than his own minister for foreign affairs, the eloquent speaking Robert Ouko. He had been anointed as the next leader of this country and if nothing was done about it, he was indeed going to be the next president of Kenya. This could not be allowed to happen!

His elimination created a huge vacuum in the leadership of the new rebellion, but for the right wing ambassador, there was just one emergence that he could not stand. When it became clear that the soviet trained communist called Jaramogi Odinga was now leading the line-up to replace the old despot, he quickly moved for an alternative that would prove his undoing. Remember, communism is a greater enemy to the IPs than any other form of extremism.

As they quickly settled on the first Capitalist they could think of, they hastily organized a contingent to visit and convince Kenneth Matiba, the hotel magnate who was exiled in London, to come back and replace his former torturer, Daniel Arap Moi. They soon realized that, during his detention by Moi, the man had been damaged beyond repair. Besides, he was spreading dangerous and unacceptable ideas like; ‘the Indians are over-running our economy and need to be expelled’. Unfortunately, the ball was already rolling and the now schizophrenic man was running around believing he was a messiah who had come to save the country. He was unstoppable.

Understanding the game, Mwai Kibaki, a former vice-president and close cohort of Moi, realized that he was not a target of the purge, but was actually an asset in the neo-liberal dispensation that was being advocated for. With his economic credentials at hand, he broke ranks with his former master and positioned himself as an alternative propagator of the Liberal Agenda and a recipient of funding and support from the west.

With the field of presidential candidates growing by the day, the field getting murkier and the opposition unity now a dream, Moi managed to breeze through the 1992 election with a clear lead over the divided opposition.

The masses went back to their businesses and quickly accepted their “now” reality of President Moi.

This was one strand in the string of many Imperial Powers’ failures to remove planted dictators. The other notable attempts to remove out-of-favor incumbents included Desert Storm (to remove Saddam Hussein) a couple of years earlier, and the seriously bungled Battle of Mogadishu (1993) which had them running back to their drawing boards to come up with a new strategy.

Despite losing the battle, they had won critical ground which would ease their work in the future; they had managed to insert a two-term limit on the Kenyan presidency which meant that Moi had to leave in ten years time.

Now, all they needed was patience… and planning.

The Agenda of Reforms and the Building of an Elite Guard!

There was a new game to be played and it required new players- with new skills. Soon, there was a bevy of students and “activists” flying north-west to America. Destination- Havard!

New programs were started in this and other Ivy-league schools to train a new variety of guards, this time not political despots, but as a new guard of imperial interests and ideals. They joined groups of first-draft picks from other third world countries who were being trained to be a part of the new elite. An elite who were to acquire a great hunger for everything American and would serve their Anglo-American masters unquestioningly.

These were to be the Praetorian Guards of their dominions (countries) whose main task was to plant Imperialism at the centre of our governance system, defend it as the principal governor and to implement its policies despite local interests and governments.

They were to serve as checks the local heads of state and give regular reports to the central powers. On their recommendation, presidents, judges, heads of state and leaders of other institutions were to be appointed.

They are the feelers, informers and actors of the Imperial powers in the third world countries. They run big Non-Governmental Organizations and Civil Society Organizations which act as channels for funding the neo-liberal agenda on the ground. These organizations as a network command a lot of power since they receive a lot of intelligence from the grassroots organizations in the name of project proposals and reports.

Members of the Praetorian Guard were also to serve as heads of donor institutions such as the Ford Foundation, Action Aid, USAID and even United Nations programs. By directing the billions of shillings which go through these institutions, they have managed to muster unbelievable clout.

They were later to serve as heads of permanent commissions set up inside neo-colonial governments as part of the “conditionalities” of foreign funding, and it is through these in-government foreign controlled institutions that the Imperial Powers have managed to wrestle local governments to sub-mission. Not only do they have massive intelligence from the grassroots organizations, they also have relatively good access to government intelligence. This considered, they have more intelligence about this (or any other third world) country than the official government does. As we know, intelligence is key to governance and is the most protected institution within any state.

They were also to manifest as writers and editors. Their opinion articles are guaranteed publishing in the commercial print as all media houses are guaranteed fat cheques if they run their (press) statements as headline news.

They were also to co-opt other highly skilled members of the public, including corrupted intellectuals, into their regime. One of these intellectuals was to later rise to the position of Prefect, the Head of the Praetorian Guard.

New Strategy: Control/Create public opinion, control the state.

As the fresh guards started streaming back into the country in the mid-nineties, the cries of reform started getting louder and reached a crescendo in 1997 when the American trained choir was leading the country in the chorus of “No Reform, No Election”.

One of the tools they had learnt to use was that of propaganda.

The eyes see, the ears hear… the mind believes!

They started engaging their campaign through the media. The consuming masses did not have the platform to interrogate these new forces and verify the truth or substance of their statements. The guards grew as a virtual force, without ever really touching the ground.

Used well, propaganda plants ideas into the masses’ minds. With time and persistence, these ideas gain familiarity and soon enough, the receiver becomes the idea and the receiver becomes the transmitter. (There have been great advancements in mass control from the days of Edward Bernays “Propaganda” to more sophisticated discoveries such as Pavlovian Conditioning and Memetics . Not to forget other techniques used in modern day advertising which creates irrational impulses and compulsive behaviors.)

They then create a force among the public which is what is known as “public pressure”.

On getting this cue, the so called international community then acts as if to respond to the cries of the people, though they know very well that they are the initiators of the sentiments through their local propaganda machinery. (What about you… what informs your opinions?)

Bowing to international pressure (the usual threats of stopped donor funding) and the hail of fire coming in from the new public relations strategy, the incumbent agreed to the reform package that had been put together by the Inter-Parties Parliamentary group which had been convened the previous year. Gauging by some of the demands presented in the package, which included “fast-tracking the registration of more political parties”, Moi knew that these guys were not ready to unite. He called for the elections… and won!

The next five years were to see major realignments as parties shifted in and out of the government and individuals in and out of the parties, as it became clear that there were no principles, values or morals involved and that the game was a “no holds barred” scramble for executive seats.

Moi was ready to bow out, but not before securing his property rights by preparing to install as president, his protégé and son of the first president; one Uhuru Kenyatta. There was a breakout in the ruling party camp and an exodus of disgruntled “handover hopefuls”, led by a suspected socialist, Raila Odinga.

Uniting the Opposition

Intervention was required. In came the prefect of the Praetorian Guard (He is currently the head of one of the American donor agencies. His movements are strictly behind the scenes where he is known by all those who seek power in this country. In public, he rears his head as an opinion columnist in the Saturday Standard under the pseudonym “Cabral Pinto”, a play on the names of two Africa revolutionaries- Amilcar Cabral of Guinea-Bissau and Pio Gama Pinto of Kenya. Will the real Cabral Pinto please stand up!)

With the weight of the Imperial Powers behind his back, he had managed to bring together the three main opposition candidates at that time. The first MOU, which was never publicized, divided power between Mwai Kibaki of the Democratic Party (DP), Charity Ngilu of the Social Democratic Party (SDP)and Michael “Kijana” Wamalwa. This agreement created the National Alliance of Kenya (NAK) party and was witnessed by the PG prefect on behalf of the Anglo-Americans. A united opposition was an almost guaranteed win (and change of regime).

When Raila entered the opposition scene, he threatened to split the opposition vote and somehow he had to be reeled in. Another MOU was quickly drawn up to accommodate the new members that he had managed to drag out of the KANU regime. They drew up a new constitution between themselves, a power sharing agreement that saw the creation of new positions in government.

The reserved positions were President and Vice-President, Prime-Minister and two Deputy Prime-Ministers. These are the positions that were to be “constitutionalized”. The Prefect was again present to guarantee the backing of the Imperial powers, who would ensure that the MOU would be adhered to the letter. All the members present, who represented the eight provinces of this country, were to form the central and advisory committee to be known as the “Summit”.

As this outfit was presented to the world as the “Second Liberation”, it escaped everyone’s attention that apart from one of them, the rest of the members were once a core part of the oppressive KANU regime and that they were in fact using money stolen from the public to start off their campaigns.

They were also mortgaging the nation’s assets to foreigners whom they would have to pay back by giving them undue advantage over local players in the name of “foreign Investors”. They were after all comprador bourgeoisies (local interest holders of the International Capitalists) who were already partnering with finance capital holders from the Imperial centre on their exploitation ventures.

This group had no common values or interests. They were only brought together by their common greed and “Moi Must Go” was their only common objective. Sure enough with this self-hypnotic mantra, they swept through the country in a euphoric wave that admittedly caught every one off guard.

They had made numerous promises of which the most outstanding was “a new constitution in 100 days”.

Here we will make a note which Kenyan History has been dying to forget. A very principled man called Joe Donde, submitted himself as a presidential candidate. This was a man who, slightly more than a year earlier, had single handedly taken on the banks and financial institutions in this country. Under the liberalized markets, the banks had loosed themselves of any kind of regulation and were raising interest rates arbitrarily. People who had borrowed (mostly by mortgaging their homes) at 8% found themselves facing 40% interest rates, with the principles literally doubling every two years.

Homes were lost, businesses closed down, marriages and families broken, hopes killed. Those in government were not willing to act since they were the same ones who owned these banks or were political patrons of the same. Only a brave man could dare stand up to these financial ogres.

Even as Donde stood up for the people and presented what came to be known as the Donde bill, he faced massive resistance from a combination of banking industry lobbyists and bank share-holder who were members of the house. He fought bravely but was no match for the billions of shillings which were openly exchanged in the parliament corridors to shoot down the bill.

He lost the motion. Believing that he had proved his heart and capacity, he declared his interest for the presidency. When he looked around, he realized that he was alone. Other than James Orengo, his tribes-mate, there was no one within sight of their campaign. No NGOs supporting his righteousness and his move to help the poor masses improve their lives substantially. No foundations donating towards his campaign. No churches saying that here stands a man with the “spirit of good” who has laid down his life so that you may sleep in a stone house. No media support… nothing.

His crimes…? He did not submit himself to the praetorian command and had threatened the interest and stability of the financial institutions.

They do not care about good, only about complete control on behalf of their imperial masters.

A New Executive Officer

2002

Moi’s protégé lost and the world joined Kenya in celebrating the victory over oppression. It wasn’t long before the Objective Reality started sinking in; Mwai Kibaki was an opportunistic exploiter who had no drop of honor in him. He had no sense of “national good”.

He violated all agreements between himself and the summit, himself and the constitution, and even between himself and morality. All agreements were thrown to the wolves as some members of his “Kitchen Cabinet” (made up of his drinking buddies and which had replaced the summit) went on record in public gatherings saying that; they never meant to change anything, it was all a ploy to get Moi out of power.

Nothing changed. Even the masses who had started acting out change on the streets by resisting corruption soon found themselves alone in the venture. Corruption was still rife, all the way to the top, and soon the masses found themselves back where they began.

The constitution making process, which had until now been a low profile event (with the departure of the tyrant), was once again brought to the fore as Raila Odinga picked it as a battering ram to force his way to his promised position of Prime-Minister.

As Yash Pal Ghai, the head of the Constitutional making process, once admitted, the process was yanked off its tracks and out of his control as the two powerful forces mobilized their troops and ripped it apart as the battle for the control of the state shifted to this platform.

The bone of contention was the “non-executive prime-minister”. Raila felt he was being denied his promised position of “Executive prime-minister” as per the MOU. He showed his might by splitting the country into two. He declared it was 41 tribes against 1 tribe.

First Referendum

2005

 In came the masses! People who could not figure out, which is the right side of the road to walk on while going to look for a non-mental job at the farm or in the in un-dignifying Indian-run factories suddenly had very strong opinions on whether this country needs a Prime-Minister with executive powers, a Ceremonial head of state or a parliamentary system with a separate calendar and the powers to impeach the president.

What came out very clearly was that the Kenyan people have at their core, tribal identities which overcome all their other identities including spiritual or educational. Their opinions were- almost to the last man- based on their tribal affinities. It didn’t matter, fish-monger or professor, those from the western part of Kenya thought that the constitution was bad and needed to be done away with. Around the mountain, it was the opposite, priest or pauper, they all supported the proposed constitution.

The Praetorian Guard, which was duty bound to support the MOU it had facilitated, had been instrumental in ensuring it was captured in the first draft, which had been known as the “Bomas Draft”. They supported the “No” campaign which had become synonymous with supporting the “Bomas” position of an “Executive prime-minister”.

Despite having all the state machinery at its disposal, the sitting government of Kibaki and his Mount Kenya cronies were no match for the praetorian led Imperial forces who managed to twist the public in Railas favor.

Well, the referendum failed to pass the proposed constitution and it was soon forgotten about as the groups that had been formed around the two campaigns became “movements”, with one even adopting its campaign name for a party name. Since these movements had no ideals but the grabbing of power, the greed and mistrust in their midst caused the key players to take off in different routes.

Important note!

The Praetorian Guard and the Imperial powers don’t really care who takes power between Kibaki, Raila, Musyoka or any other politician who holds a substantial interest in the current economic dispensation. They know that these individuals would not jeopardize their interests by changing the foundations of the system. For as long as the ‘Title Deed’ is held sacred, then their land holdings shall remain protected. For as long as long as the person in power has retained some wealth in the stock markets, no law shall interfere with Bonds and Stocks. Once one has tasted the easy money of being a local partner (protector) of a foreign investment, they will always be open to new opportunities of commodifying critical aspects of the people’s lives and selling them to these foreigners for a minimal profit.

Once one has been corrupted, they always stand to be corrupted some more. To survive and rise in this corrupted system, one has to be corrupt. The Praetorian Guards are masters at corruption. It is their primary weapon of control.

What is important for them is that they identify those with power, or with potential for power, induct them into the principles of liberalism, bind them with material trappings (easy money to change their lifestyles irreversibly) and give them a stake in the capitalist system. Once they are in, fund their activities (and eventually their campaigns), create strong strings of control, then shove them into the political playing field.

Today, almost all the faces that make it to the public’s attention especially through the mass media, have been made by the Praetorian Guard. Those who have tried to make their way through other channels e.g. media personalities, have found the political field tough and have either agreed to fall under the praetorian’s command or have found themselves in the cold. Even their previous ventures have been destroyed.

This is the nature of the Praetorian Regime.

2007

 As the masses were driven into a frenzy over the elections, the Imperial Powers strategically placed themselves behind all campaigns. The three paramount chiefs Mwai Kibaki, Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka, were seen criss-crossing Europe and North America pledging their loyalty to whoever will fund their campaigns. Upon their every return they were greeted as “descending gods” by their fully supplicated tribal followers.

Through the direction of the local guard, the Global powers channeled their support for the different campaigns through the different corporations and foundations which exist for such purposes. A lot of the financing and support also went to the media who besides running campaigns for these three horses, also ran separate campaigns for the election process itself. Anyone refusing to be caught up in this madness was labeled an “unpatriotic idiot”.

There was pressure from every angle. Expectations were unrealistic. Turn-outs were impressive. There was only one way to go…

2008

What we will never know for sure is who won the 2007 Kenya Presidential elections.

What we now know for sure is the greed for power that all our leaders possess. They engaged the highest level of brinkmanship that saw all players hold their positions at the expense of the rising death toll and displacement of the naïve masses.

With Kibaki unleashing uniformed and armed thugs on the masses and Raila pushing the same masses to go out to the streets to fight for him, Kenya exploded into a thousand social pieces with community turning on community in blind anger.

Even though in the beginning it was chaotic with every man and woman for hirself, it quickly transformed itself into a tribal (as was now being reported in the international media) conflict but just as quickly, it became a struggle about “Haki yetu!”

Soon Haki Yetu wasn’t about Raila, it was about land and resources as the disenfranchised grabbed at whatever they felt was rightfully theirs. The land wars were especially ugly in the Rift Valley where Kikuyus who had been perceived as encroachers were now being rounded up and expelled or killed.

It then started turning revolutionary.

As a diplomat from Latin America, experienced in revolutions, pointed out; “the objective conditions (the ground) are ideal for a revolution but the subjective conditions (ideals and capacities) are lacking”.

Two things led to the quick response from the Imperial Powers (remember that these are the same guys who sat back and watched over a million Rwandese die before even their media bothered to point a camera).

  1. The revolutionary nature of the conflict. There are a number of Kenyan youth who are “conscious” and educated in ideology and were soon organizing and emphasizing on the class nature of their problems. Remember that the battles were being fought in the poor and lumpen-ised parts of the country.
  2. The Americans had lost a major strategic battle in 2007 over the location of the US AFRICOM. All African countries, apart from their puppet government of Liberia, had refused to allow the Military Command to be built on their land. The Americans had beaten a tactical retreat by stationing it in Stuttgart, Germany, while waiting for an opportune time to land it in Africa.

(US African Command is to be the US foreign policy implementer as they shift their imperial approach from manipulation and coercion to explicit militaristic force as they are already doing in the Middle East. The objectives of the command are clearly stated as securing and coordinating American interests in Africa… read more on US AFRICOM).

They need to plant a stooge in Kenya to allow them access to Kenya, which is a major port into Africa, not just for Ships (like the slave ship which is currently being loaded with dehumanized Africans), but also for ideas such as liberalism and capitalism.

Kenya is central to the expansionist interest of the Anglo-American Imperial Powers. Even without the military command, there are already major installations located in this country especially the United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON) not to mention the military bases and Multi National Corporation’s (MNC) region offices.

The Takeover

The Praetorian Guards quickly pulled themselves together. Fed with the experiences of guards from other countries, they saw an opportunity to entrench themselves in the system and to take over control from the lack of leadership that was immediately experienced.

Under the banner of Kenyans for Peace, Truth, Justice and Reconciliation (KPTJ), they created an information network which temporarily expanded the guard by bringing in new cadets, even though on a temporary basis. Those outside the information network but under the command of the guards now started being referred to as “Human Rights Defenders” (HRD).

(A lot of the lower rank HRDs don’t understand the game and most are driven by good intentions. The influential ones are identified through their activities and quickly co-opted into the paid ranks. Co-option usually means compromising your agency of Utu and agreeing to become an agent of Imperialism. They also introduce money as the motive behind your actions and a sense of immobility in the absence of money.)

The senior guards were soon flying around the world consulting with their Imperial heads on the seriousness of the situation, its threat to their interests and more importantly, the tactics to be assumed in cementing their control over the political class.

First… to contain the chaos.

There was a flurry of events as the Imperial Powers brought out there key diplomats to restore the situation to its previous state (what they called a state of “Normalcy”).  While former UN Sectretary-General and now Africa Chief, Kofi Annan was in the country as mediator, the US Secretary of State, Condolezza Rice was seen dropping in during moments of stalled negotiations as the US president George Bush was turning neighboring Tanzania into a podium for issuing threats and ultimatums to the two Kenyan principals.

With a stern reminder of how the popular Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, was declared an abomination by the Media Machine before being executed in public, the leaders were forced to sign a document they knew was impractical, lest the same happens to them. They shook hands in front of the cameras as a signal for their troops to withdraw. They did!

The IP had usurped Kenya’s sovereignty and placed it in the hands of the Praetorian Guard. Their control was now public as they became the overseers of the pact. Any problems were reported to them. Where they were unable to address the situation, a simple call to Kofi Annan saw our two principals running around trying to placate the African chief.

The new hook of control was the International Criminal Court. Known for its ability to prosecute sitting presidents, it cast a shadow of death over the political landscape in the forms of; the UN rights violations investigator, Phillip Alston and the ICC prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, who were regularly reported to be flying in and out of the country.

Then there was a list. Anyone’s name could have been in that list. Everyone behaved.

The leadership was now fully under the control of the Imperial Powers.

Silencing the Cries

Now, to silence the noise of change that was coming from a few conscious elements…

The resistance on the ground was organizing itself into a people’s movement. The masses were being educated on their interests. The “people” were becoming political. This needed to be stopped.

The machine that they had created to remove dictator Moi was now starting to work against them. It needed to be decommissioned. The “Reform” agenda had to be put to rest.

A committee of experts was quickly engineered with a make up that was fully donor-dependent almost to the last man and woman. Comprising some of their best international legal “mercenaries” as foreign experts, the Imperial Powers created a committee from their list of “consultants” and NGO heads that was itself fully donor supported.

The draft they came up introduced nothing new. It wasn’t meant to!

It simply converted to legal jargon the existing governance framework and changed the name of a few institutions and positions just for confusion purposes.

It had also attempted to constitutionalise the Imperial controlled commissions but this was checked by a few MPs who didn’t understand the game.

The cosmetic changes in the so-called Bill of Rights means nothing if power is not devolved to the grassroots and people allowed to organize their own democratic government at the village level. Central power MUST be totally contained. Focus must be shifted. (This decentralization will be addressed in subsequent articles.)

The Americans (at the centre of imperialism) don’t want change. They have fought to maintain the same structure of government which they understand very well is anti-people and regressive. This is a new document but not a new constitution.

Despite this, they have directed their guards to shut down any dissenting voices.

Using the same tactic of shutting down communications during times of possible rebellion, they have created a state of emergency which has seen them gazette a draconian act which threatens to lock anyone whose “free expression” on the electronic is contrary to their position.

They have further shut down Mombasa for 100 days under the guise of a drug crack down.

The NGO and CSO have been excessively funded to campaign for this document in the name of “civic education” which in truth is a process of herding the masses to accept this deception.

The media have become so partisan in the ongoing debate that one can’t help see that they are acting out of interest instead of Media objectivity. Here too, dissenting voices are not given any space.

The politicians are fully checked… what with the hovering ghost of the post-election violence threatening to imprison their principals. To boot, Luis Ocampo, the ICC prosecutor jets in just to remind agenda resistors what lays ahead for them if they refuse to toe the line.

And the people… the people have been quiet… until now.

(Can the Argentine Lawyer, Luis Moreno Ocampo, also look north from his home to the US and in the same spirit with which he investigated Omar Bashir [a sitting president of a non-signatory country of the Rome Statute] to also investigate George Bush and his partners in the Military Industrial Complex for starting a war on a false premise and being responsible for the deaths of over 1.2 million (and counting) Iraqis to date. It should be easier to arrest him since he is no longer the sitting president.

UN Special Investigator, Phillip Alston, Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, can you first investigate your nation-mate on the same said atrocities? Or will being a beneficiary of the Iraqi oil-output that the US now controls tint the view on your spectacles of justice. We as Africans will have more faith in what you are doing if we see that you are truly objective. As our fathers told us “kill the snake in your house before you call yourself a snake-hunter!”)

Why Do They Want Us To Accept This Document?

The infamous Berlin Conference treaty included what is called the Principle of Effectivity.

The Principle of Effectivity stated that powers could hold colonies only if they actually possessed them: in other words, if they had treaties with local chiefs, if they flew their flag there, and if they established an administration in the territory to govern it with a police force to keep order (Uti Possidetis- Latin for “as you possess”, is a principle in international law that territory and other property remains with its possessor at the end of a conflict, unless provided for by treaty). The colonial power also had to make use of the colony economically. If the colonial power did not do these things, another power could do so and take over the territory. It therefore became important to get chiefs to sign a protectorate treaty and to have a presence sufficient to police the area.

As the Americans move in to control our state, they have satisfied almost all the conditions of this principle. Their flag (the logo of USAID with their flag) is present in almost all government departments and parastatals that they already control (also in NGOs and CBOs). They have established an administration in the name of “Civil Society Organisations”. A covert police force (and informers) so powerful, that our highest political officer dares not offend lest he is taken to the International courts (this is besides the terrorist police who are already operating despite the failure of the Anti-terrorism bill that was supposed to usher them in officially).

And now for the clincher- They want the masses (who are the sovereign in the country) to sign a document that binds them to a system of governance where a small group of people preside over a disempowered public. A document the people will be unable to change or replace. A document that goes against the principle of bottoms-up approach to power that is a true people government.

A document that creates an Imperial structure (with a throne), where the Praetorian Guard will determine who the puppet-king shall be. A puppet who like Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (of Liberia), will say yes to the re-occupation of Africa by foreign forces (and values).

The same trinkets given in the 19th century to planted African “chiefs” to sell their people and heritage are today being given in the form of aid and project funding.

Are we more conscious than we were back then? Or is it true that Africans are indeed gullible apes?

You decide!

What is to be done?

We must reject this foreign backed process and document.

We speak not out of hate for anyone, but from Utu, the Spirit and Sense of unity, within which there is true love for humanity and for the equality and dignity of all.

We must be very clear that we are not siding with the likes of Ruto and Moi (who are defending their ill-gotten wealth) but that we are acting out of consciousness, understanding (of our history) and most of all, a deep love for our motherland.

We must then immediately start organizing ourselves.

We must organize in every village and neighborhood.

We must bring the people together in forums and peoples parliaments, where each and every person will have the space to express themselves.

We must express our most urgent needs as a people. We must listen to each others greatest fears, passions and inspirations.

We must solve our most immediate problems- First!

Let us contend on how will use all our land to feed our starving selves and not on how long we will lease it to foreigners.

Let us contend on how we will house each and every young couple in a permanent abode and not on how we will kill their babies cause they have nowhere to take them.

Let us discuss how will build a new nation on new values and identities and not let foreign religious ideologies that separate brother from brother.

Let us build families and communities; communities where your neighbor is your brother/sista regardless of which background they come from.

Then out of the communities, let us build a new nation. A nation of people, bound by the spirit of Utu!

Let the nation form the state. A state run by a people’s government!

A government of the people, for the people and by the People!

A nation of love!

blogger’s note: I know (many) stories of super/s/heroes that are changing tings on the ground in their communities….

The Q werd is starting with the ones that we’re familiar with, because if we don’t cherish en honour our own, then who will (do it better)?

Until we listen to the lionesses, the tales of hunting will be weak,

These are some of the (many) stars of the Q werd. The people are real. Na hadithi ni kweli pia….leo ni ya Millicent Gaika, Anelisa Mfo na Ndumie Funda of LulekiSizwe LBT

check out http://www.lulekisizwe.com 

 

A lesbian was allegedly beaten and raped repeatedly for five hours by a man who told her he wanted to “turn her into a woman”.

With both eyes swollen and bruised, stitches above her left eye and open wounds on her neck, Millicent Gaika, 30, of Gugulethu, haltingly told how a man she had known for years attacked and raped her repeatedly on Friday night. Her voice was husky from screaming.

Gaika alleged her attacker “acted like an animal who wanted to kill”.

He has been arrested and will appear in the Philippi Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

On Friday just after 10pm Gaika and her friends were walking home after spending the evening at a friend’s house in NY1. As they approached their home, a man, one of many tenants on the site, apparently asked Gaika for a cigarette.

She stayed to smoke with him while her friends walked on. A few minutes later, the man refused to pass the cigarette to Gaika and walked into his room.

When she followed him he allegedly locked the door. “He started hitting me and I fought back. Then he started doing what he did to me. He pulled off my clothes and pushed me down on the bed. He did it more than once. He was holding me down, strangling me and pushing his hands hard on to my neck.

“I thought he was going to kill me; he was like an animal. And he kept saying: ‘I know you are a lesbian. You are not a man, you think you are, but I am going to show you, you are a woman. I am going to make you pregnant. I am going to kill you.'”

Gaika said the man had never openly objected to her sexuality before. “He was very nice to me – I’d known him for years. I hate him now. I am just angry. I was swearing at him while he was doing this to me. I just wished I could die. I hate what he has done, he makes me sick.”

About 4am, after five hours of Gaika being raped, a neighbour knocked on the man’s door and demanded to know who was in the room with him.

A friend of Gaika’s who asked not to be named said: “The neighbour heard something and he insisted that the man open the door. Then he broke the window and the two men started fighting. Other neighbours came and eventually broke down the door and saw what was happening. The rapist wanted to run away, but we kept him there until the police came. Millicent was on the bed. She was only wearing her sweater and it was full of blood.”

The attack was not the first one. After she was raped by four men in 2002, Gaika told herself that it would never happen again and got her life back on track.

 Gaika said the four men had been convicted and were sentenced to between 10 and 15 years. “But after a few years, they got out and that was too little time… I saw them walking around here in Gugulethu again. I was angry but I got through it and I wasn’t scared. But this time it was worse, much worse. Now I am scared, I don’t trust men. I don’t know if I am ever going to be okay after this because I thought I was going to die.”

Ndumi Funda, the founder and director of Lulekisiswe Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Women’s Project in Nyanga, was at Gaika’s house (yesterday) and said she was “deeply hurt and traumatised” by the news.

“This needs to be stopped. We know of so many that this happens to and nothing is done about it. How many more young lesbian women must die?”

The project was formed more than two years ago and has various awareness programmes. It also has a centre to help women like Gaika.

It was started after Funda’s fiancee and other lesbians they knew died of Aids-related illnesses; they had contracted HIV in homophobic attacks.

Last month, Weekend Argus reported that the rape and murder of gays and lesbians had taken on “crisis proportions” and was not restricted to townships.

According to a report by international group ActionAid, there were reports of 10 new cases of lesbians being raped every week in Cape Town alone.

Gugulethu police spokesman Captain Elliot Sinyangana confirmed the incident and said a 40-year-old man had been arrested.

He will remain in custody until his court appearance.

Written by melanie Nathan in San Francisco

http://lezgetreal.com/?p=31434

 

blogger’s note: corrective rape, out here in the West, is usually associated with South Africa, and conjures talk on the discrimination & fear that African lesbians face in their lives, couched in human rights frameworks en (not-so) critical analysis …..there are very few I’ve talked with who’ve  associated the term with say, Pride Toronto, but I think what they’re doing to queers of Afrikan descent is, depending on one’s subjective perspective ofcourse, is worse.

bredrin (one of the warriors who’s featured in the Q werd) posted on facebook recently….. Pride Toronto doesn’t give a fuck about black people. And I say, amen! to that. 

See when (the devil in) the man was ‘allegedly’ assaulting Millicent Gaika, he ripped her apart like he said he wanted to, he told her exactly what he thought, that he wanted to turn her into a woman, that she was a slut, he fucking RAPED her, en it’s ‘signified’ as corrective. At least we know him for the devil that he is….and we can agree, without a doubt, that shit ain’t kosher.

Now Pride Toronto, that’s a much more sinister story, a case of  devils we know masque(e)rading as leaders of the community, hardly even bothering with camouflage, a corporate-ized story of class divides and white supremacist ideologies  that are couched in token nominations [read: as necessary as Victor Mukasa’s nomination last year was its rendered superfluous by all the ways that the Committee HASN’T  come through for the queer/trans Afrikan communities in Tdot…….like, look at the ongoing dispute over Blockorama, and we’ll definitely be talking back about  OUR experiences at Pride last year]

The truth is, most of the organising for queer/trans rights in Afrika is being done by people of Afrikan descent, and there are still many gaps to be filled, and conscious allies to be recruited.

For many in the movement on the continent, the issues are simpler and  more direct, than the fragmented post-modern queer theorising dykes en fags who will systematically get paid way more (en creatively) to sustain their professional queer-ism.

For many of us on the continent,  it’s a matter of being able to survive while doing this work, as in concretely (as necessary as it is for more afrikans to take up space in discourse on gender & sexuality), no lengthy dissertations on the wear en tear on the soul or preferred acronyms in our rainbow soup of identities.  We need food to eat, money to travel from Point A to C (en back again), safe spaces, allies who are willing to do hard work themselves, we need to be decriminalised and protected by the State, and our issues need to be framed in our own words.  And as necessary as all the talk is, to make it plain, we need more than empathy, encouragement, tolerance or worse yet, charity & sympathy.

And we are not JUST advocating for queer/trans rights, many (more) of us are struggling for the liberation of ALL Afrikan peoples, and it’s been critically analysed to heaven and back….we need to work on our OWN  unity first. Fafanua.

Drawing attention to oneself is an act of courage and one that cannot be emphasized enough, especially if the victim is one whose rape is termed   “corrective rape” where the odds are, that the victim could be re-victimized again and again.  Years ago, Lesbians would never have come forward to tell their stories, but now with the unrelenting support and loving assistance from an extraordinary human being, Ndumie Funda, a lesbian woman living in a South African Township, near Cape Town, women and lesbians are telling their stories, willing to be named, photographed and to stand up on our pages to say:- “This is what happened to me!”

In 2007, Anelisa Mfo then a 23 year old lesbian mother from Emkonto, an informal settlement in South Africa, was walking in along a street in Nyanga when she was attacked by a man who pointed a gun at her yelling “slut ,bitch” –while he brutally raped her with a gun to her head.  Anelisa is agreeable to her name being published and story being told. There are many heroes in this story…

Anelisa together with two friends courageously identified and pursued charges and the perpetrator was caught and sent to prison for ten years.  After her HIV test proved negative in a country where HIV/AIDS is epidemic, Anelisa felt much relief even though still suffering from the cruelty of the crime.   While Anelisa was dealing with this trauma she had no idea that her five year old daughter was also raped in the Eastern Cape, by her sister’s boyfriend.

At the time Anelisa had no shelter, no employment, no money, no job, was disowned by her family because of her sexuality and a child who suffered so unimaginably.

In September, 2008, on the anniversary of her attack, Anelisa tried to kill herself. She poured paraffin over her entire whole body and set herself alight.

When LulekiSizwe LBT, Womyns Project, which had recently formed to help lesbian victims of rape, heard about her story the small unfunded group ran to the hospital in JOOSTER, where Anelisa lay clinging to life in an ICU, with no friends and no family to help.

“Because we don’t have resources yet we went to Triangle Project , they help us with counseling for Anelisa and her daughter pay for transport for Ndumie and Anelisa to travel to hospital and food parcel,” Ndumie Funda, founding Director of LulekiSizwe, informed Lezgetreal.  “We then approached IAM for a shelter and they were also a good help. Now the tough part comes who can look after her? There was no one, but I have looked her since that day,” said Ndumie the director of LulekiSizwe LBT volunteered herself to look after Anelisa.    “Like a nurse doing everything for her, feeding, cooking, washing Anelisa and her laundry- not to forget the good team of us that we have at LulekiSizwe LBT every day to relieve me.”

We received donations from the straight community at the time and so we could hire a nurse who was also helping with the dressings.

“Now,” says Ndumie, “Through prayers and care, Anelisa has recovered from her burns and has her daughter with her. We are currently trying to get some funding to get Anelisa and her daughter a home.”

Anelisa is breathing through a pipe – she cannot use her nose anymore – this is the very sad story of ANELISA.

Donations for LulekeSizwe to –

c/o Melanie Nathan
nathan@privatecourts.com
Private Courts, Inc
P.O. Box  1108
Woodacre, CA 94973

to be continued……kesho, on resistance from the margins

(on) fiya rituals

So here we are,

(we) finally made it,

en aI,

somehow for the first time, after several years in Tdot,

and after only one year en a moon, struggling, back home…

I’m (getting) grounded and healing, en loving the winter.

I love the way that my (chosen) family has nurtured and transformed me,

I love their minds, bodies en souls

I love hir sacredness & truth,

I love me,

en I love this earth.

It’s simple really…

noticing is more important than under/standing what you notice….

love and sharing will grow in you,

as will the creative fire to find the means of expressing them.

fire melts and tempers;

let the fire of love do the same with you.

  

Spirits of Fire: To Honor The Earth

  

2007 – 2009, as another dada, proclaimed in her reflection of the past, was one of challenges and (dire) material straits….

it has also been a year of blessings & sacrifices

now….like bennu rising from the ashes,

I/we are re/building communities with holistic visions of love & soul.

We pay respect to the passing of (some of the ) great kings & queens of africa in the last 13 moons. 

Lamya. Oscar Kamau King’ara. “GPO” John Paul Oulu. Tajudeen Abdul Raheem. Michael Jackson. Bernie Mac. Percy E. Sutton….

We witness the (re) birthing of our (ancient) connection with the source..

[attributes of fire:

In the indigenous mind, fiya kindles and sustains an animating and pervasive energy in all that lives.

It is in the wota that runs, it is in the trees, the rocks, the earth, and in ourselves.

It is the mediator between worlds since it is very close to the purest form of energy.

Any connection with ancestors, spirits and the Other World is mediated by fire.

A complete over/standing of fiya requires a serious relationship with death, and the dead.

The tension referred to here is like a charge of energy about to burst.

 

Those who carry such energy are being prepared for energetic action that reflects, and is the result of,

a touch of the Other World…..

 

fiya burns (also) within us…..

the fiya within connects us to our real family – the people we are always drawn to when we see them – en causes them to recognise us.

 

This fiya originates in the Other World and connects us always to the ancestors

 

[excerpt/ed from Healing Wisdom of Africa – Patrice Malidoma Some]

so this technically won’t be the last post in this series of 16 days of activism against gender violence, which is the bigger point of reposting all these alerts….

activism doesn’t lie within any particular sector, like ‘civil’ society, and isn’t publicised just in december.

Like Black History month and International Women’s day…the symbolism is powerful, but just a small part of a bigger, everyday struggle of all peoples to change (hopefully for the betta) & liberate themselves…..

today I’mma dedicate this space to sheroes that inspire me.

it’s about 2 women in particular.

Pouline Kimani & Sylvia Tamale.

they are symbolic of many many wom(b)en who have been significant in my growth and survival.

like the 1 woman who stepped out of her comfort zone to loan me money for the ticket that got me to tdot in the summer. marta jimenez.

and the women that reach/ed out, in Tdot, to mobilise the necessary resources to support queer/trans communities in East Afrika. Notisha Massaquoi. Allison Duke. Amai Kuda. Judith. Teo.Verlia. Omisoore. Aje. Roberta. Mercedes.Gie. Jamilah. Ayo. Francesca.Toki San. Debs. Rehanna. Wangui.Brandy………there are many more SISTAS in  SOLIDARITY….don’t want to exclude the brothers….allies like MindBender & Wassun, teach me that we can expect for straight/afrikans to take responsibility for bridging the gaps between our communities

but I digress…today the point is symbolising our efforts to defend & promote human rights with just 2 examples.

who is pouline? in her own werds, she is a young, black, queer, liberal feminist.

in my own werds, she is a soul/dada/comrade/teacher,

a soldier of love….

according to FIDH,  she works for them on “AFRICA FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS”
a campaign launched by regional and international human rights and women’s rights organisations present throughout Africa. The campaign’s aim is to call on African states to RATIFY international and regional women’s human rights protection instruments and to RESPECT them in law and practice. 

It’s timely that Pouline Kimani  received the Oustanding Lives Award this week.

A powerful symbol of all the possibilities there are in building solidarity across space & communities……

How appropriate that the city/country I chose to reside in, recognised the dedication & sacrifices of one of the activists at the forefront of the LGBTTIQQ  movement in East Afrika.

and what about sylvia tamale?

Dr Tamale is a human rights defender and activist, academic, writer and grassroots mobiliser who has influenced critical thinking at national and international levels. She is one of Africa’s leading feminist scholars. Her book ‘When hens Begin To Crow; Gender and Parliamentary Politics in Uganda’ published in 1999 has been recognised internationally as a landmark piece. Her keen and sharp analysis, puts her at the cutting edge of human rights discourse.. In July 2003, Dr Tamale was awarded the University of Minnesota Distinguished Leadership award for Internationals.

blogger’s note: this is an excerpt from the article “honouring sylvia tamale” in pambazuka news from 5 years ago, she was recognised as an outstanding contributor to advancement of women’s rights…during another series for 16 days of activism against gender violence.

I thought I’d share a speech she delivered last month….

finish this off with another illustration of allies & working on our own unity first.

 

A HUMAN RIGHTS IMPACT ASSESSMENT OF THE ANTI-HOMOSEXUALITY BILL

[Public Dialogue November 18, 2009, Makerere University]

 

I would like to thank the Human Rights and Peace Centre for inviting me here this afternoon to share my views on this bill.  It is great that HURIPEC organized this to be a dialogue and not a debate because debates have a tendency to polarize and divide along irrational gut-level responses.  A dialogue, on the other hand, usefully sets the stage for people to listen to each other with understanding, tolerance and helps build bridges.  I hope that this public dialogue will mark the first stepping stone for all of us to embark on a rewarding journey of mutual respect, simple decency and fairness.

Mr. Chairperson—

My brief talk this afternoon is divided into four sections:

  1. First, I will address issues of mutual concern that I share with Hon. Bahati;
  2. Secondly, I will open the window of history and offer us a glimpse of the politics of hatred and discrimination that has affected the struggle for human rights over the years;
  3. Third, I will highlight the social meaning of the bill; and
  4. Finally, I shall put on my legal hat and outline the legal implications that this bill holds for our country if passed into law.

 

  1. I.                   Common Issues of Concern

I have scrutinized the bill thoroughly and the Honourable Member of Parliament David Bahati will be surprised to learn that I share some of his convictions.  For example, Hon. Bahati I share your desires as expressed in the preamble to the bill:

  1. To strengthen the nation’s capacity to deal with emerging internal and external threats to the family unit.  It is nevertheless important to point out that most of these can hardly be realized through the regulatory mechanism of the law.
  2. To protect the cherished culture of the people of Uganda, particularly the positive aspects of it.
  3. To protect Ugandan children and youth who are vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation—whether the abuse is hetero and homosexual.

 

I do not have the time and space this afternoon to engage in a detailed sociological discussion of the concept that the bill refers to as the “Traditional African Family.”  However, it is my humble opinion that the concept needs to be unpacked and scrutinized.  Mr. Chairperson as you very well know, Africa is a vast continent with an extremely rich and diverse cultural history.  Indeed it would be next to impossible to mark a particular institution as the one and only “Traditional African Family”. 

I will cite just a few examples to demonstrate that matrimonial relations among various African communities have differed a great deal:-

a)      While marriage between first cousins was traditionally taboo among the Baganda, marriages among blood-related kin were considered the best unions among the Bahima here in Uganda; 

b)      There is the phenomenon of chigadzamapfihwa where the family of a barren wife among the Ndaus of Zimbabwe would ‘donate’ her brother’s daughter to her husband to become a co-wife and bear children on behalf of the barren woman;

c)      Practices of non-sexual woman-to-woman marriages among various African customs e.g., the Nandi and Kisii of Kenya, the Igbo of Nigeria, the Nuer of Sudan and the Kuria of Tanzania for purposes of coping with various reproductive, social and economic problems;  and

d)      Levirate marriages where a man inherits his dead brother’s wife were a customary requirement in many African communities.  

While these may have been cultural practices at some point in our history, it is also important to recognize that family institutions all over the world are undergoing rapid transformation.  The changes that we see in this basic unit of society are the result of many factors including, economic crises, an increasing number of working mothers, technological advancements, armed conflicts, natural disasters, globalization, migration, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, etc.  Many of these changes and indeed the evolution of culture cannot be halted, certainly not through law. 

Perhaps the undisputed value that is a common denominator in all traditional institutions of the family in Africa is the group solidarity that we have embedded in our extended family networks.  Unfortunately, the support, stability, love and respect that were the hallmark of this family model are rapidly being eroded and will soon become history.

Thus, while I agree with you Hon. Bahati that we must seek ways of dealing with issues that threaten our families, I do not agree that homosexuality is one of those issues.  Mr. Chairperson, Ladies and gentlemen, what issues currently threaten our families here in Uganda?  I will name a few:

a)      Blood thirsty Ugandans and traditional healers that believe that their good fortune will multiply through rituals of child sacrifice.

b)      Rapists and child molesters who pounce on unsuspecting family members.  Research undertaken by the NGO, Hope after Rape (HAR) shows that over 50% of child sexual abuse reports involve children below 10 years of age, and the perpetrators are heterosexual men who are known to the victims.[1]

c)      Sexual predators that breach the trust placed in them as fathers, teachers, religious leaders, doctors, uncles and sexually exploit young girls and boys.  A 2005 report by Raising Voices and Save the Children revealed that 90% of Ugandan children experienced domestic violence and defilement.[2]

d)      Abusive partners who engage in domestic violence whether physical, sexual or emotional.  The 2006 national study on Domestic Violence by the Law Reform Commission confirmed the DV was pervasive in our communities.  66% of people in all regions of Uganda reported that DV occurred in their homes and the majority of the perpetrators were “male heads of households.”[3]  The Uganda Demographic Health Survey of 2006 put the figure slightly higher at 68%.[4]

e)      Parents who force their 14-year old daughters to get married in exchange for bride price and marriage gifts.

f)       A whole generation of children who were either born and bred in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps or abducted by the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) in the northern sub-region of Kitgum, Gulu and Pader districts.

g)      The millions of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.  The Uganda Aids Commission puts the cumulative number of orphans due to AIDS at 2 million.[5]

h)      The all powerful patriarchs that demand total submission and rule their households with an iron hand.

i)        Rising poverty levels and growing food insecurity which lead to hunger, disease, suffering and undignified living.  Figures from the latest report from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics show that over 60% of Ugandans living in rural areas live below the poverty line.[6]

I do not see how two people who are in a loving relationship and harming no one pose a threat to the family simply because they happen to be of the same sex.  The argument that homosexuality is a threat to the continuity of humankind and that it will lead to the extinction of human beings in the world simply does not hold water because there are too many heterosexuals in the world for that to become a reality.  How many of you in this room would “convert” to homosexuality any time soon?…  So, just as the priests, nuns and monks who are sworn to a life of celibacy will not cause the extinction of humanity, homosexuals will not either. 

  1. II.                Lessons from History

Anyone who cares to read history books knows very well that in times of crisis, when people at the locus of power are feeling vulnerable and their power is being threatened, they will turn against the weaker groups in society.  They will pick out a weak voiceless group on whom to heap blame for all society’s troubles—refugees, displaced populations, stateless persons aka illegal immigrants, minorities with no status, children, the poor, the homeless, commercial sex workers, etc.  I will offer a few examples to illustrate this point:

  • In Uganda, colonialists at various times blamed traditional chiefs and elders as well as Muslims as the main impediments to progress and civilization.
  • Dictator Idi Amin blamed Asians for Uganda’s dire economic problems and expelled all Indians in the early 1970s.
  • When Milton Obote’s political power was threatened during his second regime in the early 1980s he embarked on a deliberate campaign of hostility towards refugees in Uganda, particularly those of Rwandese extract.  Obote’s persecution of the Banyarwanda in Uganda and the whipping up of anti-Rwandese sentiments included the constant reference to his political opponent, Yoweri Museveni as a “foreigner from Rwanda.”
  • In the 20 years that northern Uganda faced armed conflict, the NRM administration pointed fingers at Kony and the LRA was blamed for all the atrocities and suffering of the people in the north.
  • The transmission of HIV/AIDS at various points in our history has been blamed on different “weak” constituents including commercial sex workers, truck drivers, young women aged 15-23, and mothers to babies.
  • When native South Africans faced dire economic crisis they turned against black “foreigners”, blaming them for the high unemployment rates and sparking off brutal xenophobic attacks against helpless immigrants/migrants and refugees in May 2008.

 

The lesson drawn from these chapters in our recent history is that today it is homosexuals under attack; tomorrow it will be another exaggerated minority.

Homosexuality has troubled people for a very long time.  Some religions find it distressing and there are many debates around it.  Mr. Chairperson and distinguished participants where did the idea of destroying homosexuality come from?  As his excellency President Museveni pointed out at the inaugural Young Achievers Awards Ceremony last weekend, homosexuals existed prior to the coming of Europeans to Uganda.  According to the President:  “They were not persecuted but were not encouraged either” (Daily Monitor Nov 16, 2009 at p.2).  The idea of destroying homosexuality came from colonialists.  In other words, homosexuality was not introduced to Africa from Europe as many would want us to believe.  Rather, Europe imported legalized homophobia to Africa. 

Homosexuality was introduced as an offence in Uganda directly through laws that were imported from Britain during colonialism.  And what did these same colonialists think of the “African traditional family” in Uganda?  They certainly did not introduce sodomy laws in order to protect the traditional African family.  In fact they believed that the traditional African family was inferior to their nuclear monogamous one and considered the former barbarous and ‘repugnant to good conscience and morality.’  This colonial attitude was well exemplified in the infamous 1917 case of R. v. Amkeyo, in which Justice Hamilton dismissed customary marriages as mere ‘wife purchase.’

Today, with all the economic, social and political crises facing Uganda, homosexuals present a convenient group to point fingers at as the “biggest threat” or the “real problem” to society.  Mr. Chairperson, ladies and gentlemen, the re-criminalisation of homosexuality is meant to distract the attention of Ugandans from the real issues that harm us.  It conveniently diverts the attention of the millions of Ugandans who have been walking the streets for years with their college certificates and no jobs on offer.  Ladies and gentlemen, homosexuals have nothing to do with the hundreds of thousands of families that sleep without a meal or the millions of children who die unnecessarily every day from preventable or treatable diseases such as malaria, diarrhea, measles, pneumonia, etc.  Homosexuals are not the ones responsible for the lack of drugs and supplies at primary health care centres. 

 

  1. III.             The Social Implications of the Bill to the Average Ugandan

You may think that this bill targets only homosexual individuals.  However, homosexuality is defined in such a broad fashion as to include “touching another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality.”   This is a provision highly prone to abuse and puts all citizens (both hetero and homosexuals) at great risk.   Such a provision would make it very easy for a person to witch-hunt or bring false accusations against their enemies simply to “destroy” their reputations and cause scandal.  We all have not forgotten what happened to Pastor Kayanja and other men of God in the recent past.

Moreover, the bill imposes a stiff fine and term of imprisonment for up to three years for any person in authority over a homosexual who fails to report the offender within 24 hours of acquiring such knowledge.  Hence the bill requires family members to “spy” on one another.  This provision obviously does not strengthen the family unit in the manner that Hon. Bahati claims his bill wants to do, but rather promotes the breaking up of the family.  This provision further threatens relationships beyond family members.  What do I mean?  If a gay person talks to his priest or his doctor in confidence, seeking advice, the bill requires that such person breaches their trust and confidentiality with the gay individual and immediately hands them over to the police within 24 hours.  Failure to do so draws the risk of arrest to themselves.  Or a mother who is trying to come to terms with her child’s sexual orientation may be dragged to police cells for not turning in her child to the authorities.  The same fate would befall teachers, priests, local councilors, counselors, doctors, landlords, elders, employers, MPs, lawyers, etc. 

Furthermore, if your job is in any way related to human rights activism, advocacy, education and training, research, capacity building, and related issues this bill should be a cause for serious alarm.  In a very undemocratic and unconstitutional fashion, the bill seeks to silence human rights activists, academics, students, donors and non-governmental organizations.  If passed into law it will stifle the space of civil society.  The bill also undermines the pivotal role of the media to report freely on any issue.  The point I am trying to make is that we are all potential victims of this draconian bill.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told us many years ago, “Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.”  Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights instructs us: “All Human Beings are Born Free and Equal in Dignity and Rights.”   Many great people that we respect and admire have spoken out for the rights of homosexuals.  These include international award winners and champions of freedom and humanity—President Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and President Barack Obama.  Just yesterday, it was reported that former president of Botswana, Festus Mogae added his voice to those who have come out in opposition to the Bahati Bill (Daily Monitor, November 17, 2009 at p.10).

We must remember that the principal message at the heart of all religions is one of LOVE (And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love– 1 Corinthians 13: 13).  All religions teach the virtues of tolerance and urge their followers to desist from passing judgment.  Ladies and gentlemen, this bill promotes hatred, intolerance, superiority and violence.  Even if you believe that homosexuality is a sin, this bill is not the best method to address the issue.  It is valid to have religious and spiritual anxieties but our jurisprudence has a long history of separating the institutions of religion from the law.  The law, Mr. Chairperson, does not seek to ally any legal principle with a particular religion.  Mr. Stephen Langa is free to deliver his lectures on morality but it is unacceptable to reduce what his is preaching into law.  In my final submission I want to turn to a legal analysis of this bill.

 

  1. IV.              The Legal Implications of the Bill

Mr. Chairperson, ladies and gentlemen, the Anti-Homosexuality bill has a total of 18 clauses.  12 of these 18 clauses (i.e., 67%) are not new at all as they simply replicate what we already have on our law books.  So the first point I want to highlight is that Parliament has been given a bill two-thirds of whose content duplicates existing laws. 

So, let us examine the content of the remaining 6 clauses that introduce new legal provisions. 

  • Clauses 6 provides for the recognition of the right to privacy and confidentiality for the victim of homosexual assaults.  This is a procedural issue that no one can dispute and it can easily be inserted in the Penal Code provisions that criminalize rape and aggravated defilement.

 

Nevertheless, the remaining 5 clauses are extremely problematic from a legal point of view.  They violate Uganda’s constitution and many other regional and international instruments that Uganda has ratified.

  • The interpretation section (Clause 1) replicates several definitions that are provided for elsewhere.  Its novel provisions lie in the attempt to define homosexuality and its related activities.  I have already alluded to the potential danger that Ugandans face in the threatening and broad fashion that the bill defines a “homosexual act.”

 

  • Clause 13 which attempts to outlaw the “Promotion of Homosexuality” is very problematic as it introduces widespread censorship and undermines fundamental freedoms such as the rights to free speech, expression, association and assembly.  Under this provision an unscrupulous person aspiring to unseat a member of parliament can easily send the incumbent MP unsolicited material via e-mail or text messaging, implicating the latter as one “promoting homosexuality.”  After being framed in that way, it will be very difficult for the victim to shake free of the “stigma.”  Secondly, by criminalizing the “funding and sponsoring of homosexuality and related activities,” the bill deals a major blow to Uganda’s public health policies and efforts.  Take for example, the Most At Risk Populations’ Initiative (MARPI) introduced by the Ministry of Health in 2008, which targets specific populations in a comprehensive manner to curb the HIV/AIDS scourge.   If this bill becomes law, health practitioners as well as those that have put money into this exemplary initiative will automatically be liable to imprisonment for seven years!  The clause further undermines civil society activities by threatening the fundamental rights of NGOs and the use of intimidating tactics to shackle their directors and managers.

 

  • Clause 14 introduces the crime of “Failure to Disclose the Offence” of homosexuality.  As I have noted above, under this provision any person in authority is obliged to report a homosexual to the relevant authorities within 24 hours of acquiring such knowledge.  Not only does this infringe on the right to privacy but it is practically unenforceable.  It dangerously opens up room for potential abuse, blackmail, witch-hunting, etc.  Do we really want to move sexual acts between consenting adults into the public realm?
  • Clause 16 relates to extra-territorial jurisdiction, and basically confers authority on Ugandan law enforcers to arrest and charge a Ugandan citizen or permanent resident who engages in homosexual activities outside the borders of Uganda.  This law enforcement model is normally used in international crimes such as money laundering, terrorism, etc.  The Ugandan Penal Code already provides for crimes that call for extra-territoriality.  All these touch on the security of the state e.g., treason, terrorism and war mongering (see S.4 of the PCA).

When it comes to offences committed partly within and partly outside Uganda, the Penal Code provides:

When an act which, if wholly done within the jurisdiction of the court, would be an offence against this Code is done partly within and partly beyond the jurisdiction, every person who within the jurisdiction does or makes any part of such act may be tried and punished under this Code in the same manner as if such act had been done wholly within the jurisdiction. [Section 5—Emphasis added]

Note that clause16 of the Bill employs the disjunctive “or” which gives it wider reach than S.5 of the Penal Code that uses the conjunctive “and”.  Therefore, what the Bill proposes to do is to elevate homosexual acts to a position of such importance that they appear to be at an even higher plane than murder, rape or grievous bodily harm for which no such provision is made.  It is difficult to see any rational basis for such inordinate attention to homosexuality.  And how exactly will they enforce this provision?  Is the government going to storm the bedrooms of consenting adults, or deploy spies to follow them when they travel abroad in order to establish who they have slept with and how they did it?  Does this include heterosexual couples that engage in anal sex?  What about our constitutional right to privacy?  In short, this provision of the Bill is a gross abuse of the principle of extra-territoriality.  But more importantly, the bill carries hidden venom that is bound to spread beyond persons that engage in homosexuality.

  • Perhaps the most shocking aspect of this bill is Clause 18, which requires Uganda to opt out of any international treaty that we have previously ratified that goes against the spirit of the bill.   Article 287 of the Constitution obliges Uganda to fully subscribe to all its international treaties obligations ratified prior to the passing of the 2005 constitution.  We cannot legislate or simply wish these obligations away.  Indeed, international law prohibits us from doing such a thing.  Article 26 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties clearly sets out the pacta sunt servanda rule which requires that “Every treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith.”  

Article 123 (1), a provision deliberately placed in Chapter Seven of the Constitution (dealing with the powers of the Executive) says:

The President or a person authorised by the President may make treaties, conventions, agreements, or other arrangements between Uganda and any other country or between Uganda and any international organisation or body, in respect of any matter.

This is a wide power that can only be limited by express language under the Constitution itself. A major procedural limitation is found in the next clause of the same article, which provides:

Parliament shall make laws to govern ratification of treaties, conventions, agreements or other arrangements made under clause (1) of this article.  (Art. 123.2)

Another substantive limitation is to be found in the Bill of Rights found in Chapter 4.  In effect, the President cannot by the mechanism of Article 123(1) sign treaties whose effect would be to amend the Constitution. Indeed, any such treaty would be, as a matter of municipal law, null and void to the extent of such inconsistency, in terms of Article 2 (2) of the Constitution.

Parliament therefore has only a procedural role to incorporate treaties into Ugandan law – and that is the full extent of its powers. It cannot purport to proscribe ex ante (before the fact) the limit of the President’s treaty making powers.  Nor indeed, can parliament bind its own future action by purporting to exercise in advance its power to scrutinize treaties signed by the President and determine which of them to ratify.  All that Parliament can do is to either ratify or refuse to ratify a treaty after it is signed, and in the latter case such treaty does not become part of Ugandan law.  This is the balance of executive power and democratic input achieved by Article 123, and one that clause 18 of the Bill is incompetent to amend.

Mr. Chairperson, distinguished participants, I wish to end by appealing to members of parliament and all Ugandans that believe in human rights and the dignity of all human beings to reject the Anti-homosexuality bill.  I am imploring Hon. Bahati to withdraw his private members bill.  Do we really in our hearts of hearts want our country to be the first on the continent to demand that mothers spy on their children, that teachers refuse to talk about what is, after all, “out there” and that our gay and lesbian citizens are systematically and legally terrorized into suicide?  Ladies and gentlemen, you may strongly disagree with the phenomenon of same-sex erotics; you may be repulsed by what you imagine homosexuals do behind their bedroom doors; you may think that all homosexuals deserve to burn in hell.  However, it is quite clear that this Bill will cause more problems around the issue of homosexuality than it will solve.  I suggest that Hon. Bahati’s bill be quietly forgotten.  It is no more or less than an embarrassment to our intelligence, our sense of justice and our hearts.

Thank you for your attention.

Response after the Q & A Session

Mr. Chairperson, in the interest of time I will respond to only three issues:

  • “Mad people” “like bats seeing the world upside down” “animals” “wicked”… These are some of the words used to describe homosexuals by the audience.  All the heckling and vicious jeering…  Mr. Bahati you commenced your talk this afternoon by saying, “We are not in the hate campaign.”  Well, if you were in any doubt about the fact that your bill is whipping up hatred and violence against homosexuals, just reflect back on the discourse that transpired in the room this afternoon. 

 

  • Secondly, Mr. Chairperson I think it is the height of paternalism and arrogance for Hon. Bahati and Mr. Langa to stand here and say they are legislating against homosexuals because they love them, they feel sorry for them, they face the risk of cancer, their lives are reduced by 20 years, etc.  Homosexuals are not asking for your pity, love, approval or redemption.  They only want you to affirm their humanness and their right to exist and be different.

 

  • Finally, Mr. Chairperson, Hon. Bahati asked the question, “Tamale, do you support homosexuality?”  I would like to tell Hon. Bahati that I am a simple woman that recognizes all human beings as worthy of dignity and rights and I am not obsessed with how people have sex in the privacy of their bedrooms.  I support the rights of all human beings regardless of how and with whom they have sex as long as they are adults and are not harming anyone.  So, the question should not be whether I support homosexuality, or heterosexuality for that matter.

 

Thank you very much Mr. Chairperson


[1]                  Study cited in Uganda Youth Development Link, Report on Sectoral Study on Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Uganda, Commissioned by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (January 2004).

[2]                  See Raising Voices and Save the Children (edited by Dipak Naker), Violence Against Children: The Voices of Ugandan Children and Adults. (2005).  Available at http://www.raisingvoices.org/files/VACuganda.RV.pdf

[3]                  See Law Reform Commission, A Study Report on Domestic Violence, April 2006 at p.112

[4]                  See http://www.measuredhs.com/pubs/pdf/FR194/FR194.pdf

[5]                  See Report by the Office of the Auditor General, Value for Money Audit Report on Uganda AIDS Control Project, October 2007.  Available at http://www.oag.go.ug/docs/UACauditreport.pdf

[6]                  See UBOS, Spatial Trends of Poverty and Inequality in Uganda: 2002-2005, February 2009.

for the 5 th installment of this series for 16 days of activism…..

we’re using werd on the ground to re-examine the necessity of safe spaces,

and the particular responsibility that allies bear in creating and maintaining positive space….

like the kptj listserv for example, one of those where I maintain a dubious silence.

I’ve only ever posted one piece on that listserv, and the backlash I got was silent and pervasive,

but at least there were a few that voiced their support for the issues we were advocating for….then,

still many more remained silent, and, reiterated their solidarity in our ‘private’ conversations,

it is always ‘u people’ or them that’s the problem……

that was then…

now, with recent events, more are voicing the shift in the boundaries to be drawn,

it’s the ripple effect in the story of that butterfly that flapped it’s wings, and like a bill that was drawn by bahati,

it seems the winds are changing,

even though this statement is from one of our strongest allies in Kenya, and thankfully, to be expected, it’s posting needs to be examined in the context within which our rights are being re-shaped….there has been much more public debate on sexuality,and unfortunately, on the ground, it’s still being led by homophobes & well-meaning ignorant folk…..so everytime our rights are re-asserted in a simple & direct way, it’s something to acknolwedge and respect.

Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) Position on Rights related to Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation
 
 
The KHRC is concerned by ongoing expressions of prejudice about and stereotyping of Kenyans due to their gender identity or sexual orientation. Prejudice and stereotyping, when not consciously addressed, feed the discrimination, harassment and violence experienced by Kenyans because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.
 
Some sections of Kenyan media, particularly uninformed radio presenters, have led this frenzy of disinformation and hate speech. Being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or intersex is not ‘un-African’—Africa’s history is replete with examples of how those of different gender identities and sexual orientations were named and addressed by various communities. Even if it were not, the fact that some Kenyans now identify as being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or intersex openly makes being so African.
 
Being lesbian, gay or bisexual is simply the sexual orientation of some Kenyans—nothing more than where some Kenyans happen to be on the continuum of human sexuality. Being transsexual or intersex is simply the gender orientation of some Kenyans—nothing more than the fact that some Kenyans find themselves at odds with the biological binary of being ‘male’ or ‘female’. Kenyans who happen to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or intersex continue to be, as all Kenyans are, subjects of legal protections provided by our Constitution and African and international human rights standards we are signatory too.
 
All Kenyans are entitled to equality under the law—and to be free from discrimination in education, in employment, in health care provision, in housing and so on. All Kenyans are entitled to security of the person—and to be free from violence. All Kenyans are entitled to privacy—and to be free from arbitrary and illegal intrusions on this privacy. Regardless of what prejudices and stereotypes persist about Kenyans who happen to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or intersex, these entitlements stand.
 
Yet some sections of the media—supported by some conservative religious organisations—continue to bombard the Kenyan public with messages implying that those entitlements exist only for some Kenyans. In declaring themselves defenders of “authentic” (though often invented) African cultural traditions, they pit “culture/African family values/morality” against human rights and attempt to subject sexuality to restrictive state control.
 
The KHRC strongly opposes efforts to reduce this debate to one of “culture, family values or morality.” It is a debate about human rights—freedom of expression, equality, security of the person and privacy in particular. The KHRC strongly opposes discrimination against, harassment of, violence against or prosecution and punishment of all Kenyans, including on the grounds of gender identity and sexual orientation.
 
Kenya is at a critical moment in our construction of a democracy inclusive of diversity and based on respect for human rights. We urge all involved in drafting the new Constitution to take all the necessary measures to ensure all Kenyans full citizenship and protection from non-discrimination—by including gender identity and sexual orientation as protected grounds in the equality rights section. We urge all public service providers, the police and the judiciary to act with respect for the Constitution to protect gender and sexual minorities from discrimination, harassment and violence.
 
The KHRC firmly believes that dialogue is key to understanding gender identity and sexual orientation. We urge the Kenyan media to enable such dialogue while desisting from prejudicial and stereotypical hate speech. The dialogue is not about creating new human rights, but about acknowledging that all Kenyans have the same human rights, regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation.
 
Makau Mutua
Chair
 
Board of Directors
Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
 
The KHRC works towards the observance, protection and support of all human rights for all people irrespective of sexual orientation, ethnicity, social origin, economic status, gender, political belief or because of their religious or other conscientiously held beliefs. 

and while we’re on the tip of acknowledging, how’s this for direct response from allies?

this piece is also taken from the kptj listserv

Dear Beatrice

The issue is not whether we agree or not. The list has always been open to the expression of diverse opinions.

But expressing diverse opinions is one thing. The expression of abuse, violent language, and other forms of attacks on people of other persuasions is not acceptable on this list. The right of Omtatah and others to express their views has to be assessed in relation to their call for the repression of those of different sexual preferences to organise and live without fear of aggression or calls for the suppression of their views.

I have no hesitation therefore in banning such antisocial behaviour from this list.

Firoze

For the first time at a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, at CHOGM in Trinidad & Tobago, there was significant representation of GLBTQ (gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender/queer) activists among civil society participants, and a concerted effort to highlight issues of sexual citizenship and rights.

A delegation of GLBTQ activists from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean participated actively in the thematic assembly discussions and drafting process in the November 22-25, 2009 Commonwealth People’s Forum (CPF), a gathering of civil society organizations that meets in advance of, and sends a statement to, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

Working in partnership with gender, disabilities and other human rights advocates, they achieved visibility for a number of key concerns, and won inclusion of these issues in the broad civil society agenda for the Commonwealth.

 

The issues cut a wide swath: repealing laws criminalizing non-normative sexualities and gender expression; preventing and prosecuting bias-related murders and violence, including punitive rape of Lesbians; ending discrimination in accessing health services; creating safety in the school system from violence and bullying; addressing the need for support and resources for parents; and developing training and sensitization for a range of public servants and service providers.

Both scheduled speakers and participants from the floor made moving contributions related to human rights violations on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in Commonwealth member countries.

Especially powerful speeches came from Ashily Dior, a Transgender activist from Trinidad;

Canadian Stephen Lewis, co-director of AIDS Free World

and former UN Special Envoy on HIV in Africa; and Robert Carr, director of the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition.

Together, contributors raised a comprehensive range of concerns in several of the assemblies, particularly those focused on Gender; Health, HIV and AIDS; and Human Rights.

 

The final Port of Spain Civil Society Statement to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting includes language calling on “Commonwealth Member States and Institutions” to “recognize and protect the human rights of all individuals without discrimination on the grounds of…sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression”; to “repeal legislation that leads to discrimination, such as the criminalisation of same sex sexual relationships”; and for “the Commonwealth Foundation to facilitate a technical review of such of laws”.

(blogger’s translation: for queer/trans afrikan communities this means more funding for more administrative and research positions, more money chanelled through  HIV/AIDS  health networks, more token nominations, and more assistance to escape and possibly attain refugee status based on grounds of sexual orientation and/or gender identity…)

Further, it issues a call for “Commonwealth Member States to ensure universal access to basic” health “services for marginalised and vulnerable groups”, including “sexual and gender minorities”, and to “work to actively remove and prevent the establishment of legislation which undermines evidence-based effective HIV prevention, treatment and care available to marginalised and vulnerable groups, such as sexual minorities”.

Its Gender section includes a distinct item on “Transgenders, Gays and Lesbians” (“We call on Commonwealth Member States to include gender and sexuality as a specific theme on sexualities, sexual and gender minorities, related violence and discrimination, making them no longer invisible”) and echoes the recognition in the human rights section “that gender equity implies equality for all and therefore issues related to non-normative sexualities, such as sexual and gender minorities”.

 

The Statement also makes reference to proposed “Anti-Homosexuality” legislation introduced in the Parliament of Uganda, home of current CHOGM Chair President Yoweri Museveni. The legislation would require reporting of homosexuals, provide a sentence of life imprisonment for homosexual touching or sex, and the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”, if the offender is HIV-positive.

In remarks in more than one CPF assembly and in a special press conference, Lewis, Carr and a representative of the Caribbean HIV & AIDS Alliance, spoke out forcefully against the legislation, asking Museveni to take a clear position on it, and calling on others to condemn it. The Trinidad & Tobago Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation joined these voices, asking its own Prime Minister Patrick Manning, who will assume the chairmanship of CHOGM, and other CARICOM leaders, to do the same.

 

Eighty-six countries in the world currently have legislation criminalizing same-sex conduct between consenting adults as well as other non normative sexual and gender behaviours and identities; half of them are Commonwealth member states. Criminal provisions in these countries may target same sex sexual conduct, men who have sex with men specifically, or more generally any sexual behaviour considered “unnatural”.

Some countries criminalize other non normative behaviours, such as cross-dressing, or utilize criminal provisions on indecency or debauchery, among others, to target individuals on their real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

hese criminal provisions not only constitute a violation of civil and political rights in and of themselves because they violate key provisions established by international human rights law; they also have significant human rights implications, representing a serious risk for the exercise of other fundamental rights, such as the right to association, the right to assembly, and the right to expression, the right to health, the principle of non discrimination, to mention a few.

Furthermore, the mere existence of these laws is in many countries is an avenue for other human rights violations by state and non-state actors.

 We acknowledge and welcome the civil society consensus on the above mentioned issues, and call on Commonwealth member states, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth Foundation to implement the recommendations of the Commonwealth People’s Forum.

  You can access the Port of Spain Civil Society Statement to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 25 November at: http://www.commonwealthfoundation.com/governancedemocracy/CPF2009/NewPublicationsCPF/

 

·     Alternative Law Forum (ALF) – India

·     Center for Popular Education and Human Rights Ghana (CEPEHRG)  – Ghana

·     Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO) – Trinidad & Tobago

·     Gay and Lesbian coalition of Kenya (GALCK) – Kenya

·     GrenCHAP – Grenada

·     Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays – (J-FLAG) – Jamaica

·     Knowledge and Rights with Young People through Safer Spaces (KRYSS) – Malaysia

·     Lesbians and Gays Bisexuals Botswana (LEGABIBO) – Botswana

·     People Like Us (PLU) – Singapore

·     Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) – Guyana

·     The Independent Project (TIP) – Nigeria

·     United and Strong – St Lucia

·     United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) – Belize

·     United Gays and Lesbians against AIDS Barbados (UGLAAB) – Barbados

·     Global Rights

·     International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC