Many have castigated Kakwenza Rukirabashaija for having used abusive language against the person of Gen. Muhoozi. Some have said in condemnation that he engaged in body shaming. They’ve concluded that his language wasn’t justified and therefore he deserves the torture he is going through.
I have only met Kakwenza once, when I bumped into him at the National Museum. Therefore, beyond what I glean from his books and social media posts, I wouldn’t claim much knowledge of him in moral terms. However, I still think that the moral card is being simplistically and conveniently drawn by some. If we are to pass moral judgement here, we need to ask more fundamental questions and not simply focus on random acts of ‘insult’.
The bigger question to ask here is: why are more people resorting to abusive language against those deemed to be powerful in government? You do not block alternative avenues of meaningfully expressing dissent and expect the aggrieved to simply sit back. They’ll find alternative modes of expression, especially unconventional ones.
In my view, it is not immoral for one to insult their brutal oppressors (recalling that Kakwenza had earlier been tortured by them). It is wrong moral argumentation that focuses on an ‘insult’ without examining its context. ASK: What is the ‘insult’? Who has insulted? Whom have they insulted? Why? Under what circumstances? ‘Insult’ is not intrinsically wrong. Ordinarily many of us would find ‘Insult’ inappropriate, but not in each and every case. The Baganda would ask: omala okulwanira ku mwenge, nti alinyimba alindaba? (You don’t fight at the bar and threaten people against mocking you)
Ironically, many did not look at the various state killings, kidnaps and torture that have happened recently as moral issues. For them, ‘insult’ is a more serious moral case demanding a tougher response. This is to side with the oppressors through hypocritical moralization. The moralisation of Kakwenza’s case is meant to cover the actual motive behind his torture, which is: purging dissent. For even if Insult was the real issue, do you apply such a show of might, disregard for the law, and violence for someone calling you overweight? If Insult is this absolutely criminal, then should Mr Museveni be in prison without being heard for having severally called Obote a swine?
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