On Stella Nyanzi’s tirade against the First Lady
Under normal circumstances, my political views and thoughts on the situation in Uganda today are similar to those held by the commentator Stella Nyanzi.
I am usually more in agreement in that regard with Nyanzi than I am with Janet Museveni.
I think the NRM government led by President Yoweri Museveni has been greatly insensitive to the ordinary Ugandan.
I’ll add, though, that some aspects of governance might have been too complex for the NRM and would have been tough for any other Ugandan government, the more I research and study Ugandan history.
It has not been an easy thing for African governments to create or maintain administrative systems of the kind the European colonial governments created.
An FDC, DP or Jeema government would not be too different in day-to-day administration from the NRM government (although none of them would be as outrageous in their corruption as the NRM.)
Secondly, I think Janet Museveni is more personally sensitive to ordinary people and their suffering and more grateful to people than her husband is, and some of that came across in her 2011 autobiography “My Life’s Journey”.
In her book she gave credit to and remembered personal favours show her by leaders like Paulo Muwanga, Tito Okello and others, something Yoweri Museveni would never do.
Where President Museveni is different from the First Lady is that he is personally much more casual about himself than she is about herself.
He can tolerate much more ridicule and caricaturing than she can.
I think Mrs. Museveni unconsciously views herself as royalty and much of the way she is addressed, the sense of herself as one with a special calling in life reflects this.
But one could argue that most of us have a slightly exaggerated view of ourselves, as can be seen in the heroic way thousands of obscure people describe themselves on Facebook and Twitter.
There is also a sense in which I think Mrs. Museveni is somewhat out of touch with present reality in Uganda, though that would take a different post to explain in detail.
For example she might not realise that a food flask, even one that costs 20,000 shillings, is out of reach of most rural-based Ugandans. It’s not just the price but the perception of “good things”.
Most village families would have a hard time affording a food flask for each of their four or five school going children.
I don’t think Janet Museveni, who travels in an almost presidential convoy, genuinely understands what it means to struggle to find 20,000 shillings.
In that regard, Stella Nyanzi had a point.
Having said all this, when Stella Nyanzi attacked the First Lady in her typical trashy-erotic way that is always the hallmark of Nyanzi writing, I decided to side with Janet Museveni over Nyanzi on this.
Even in liberal America, the country that gave the world Playboy and Penthouse magazines, X-rated Hip-Hop music and films, it would still shock and offend most Americans if a university don attacked the U.S. First Lady with the language Nyanzi used on Mrs. Museveni.
Just the hint of demeaning references to women’s looks during the Republican Party primary debates by Donald Trump offended many Americans and one of the main reasons so many Americans and Europeans have a problem with President Trump is his history of demeaning language and personal attacks.
So we can’t say the objection by many Ugandans to Nyanzi’s salty language is because Ugandans are conservative and “unexposed” to modern free speech.
The irony in these things is that feminists like Nyanzi have always accused men of referring to women in the same kind of demeaning terms she uses on people and in this case, Mrs. Museveni.
The other irony is that Stella Nyanzi a few weeks ago claimed I called her “mad” (I doubt I ever did, but she could be right) and it appears that hurt her deeply.
I found that interesting, when one thinks that to be called “mad” is fairly common in Uganda and one would have thought the name-calling Stella Nyanzi had a skin much thicker than that.
So she too is a vulnerable human being, with feelings that can be hurt.
(Some of us, in fact, think that this very vulnerability is what in the first place turned Stella Nyanzi into this overly-aggressive woman who takes nothing lying down and who protects herself by lashing out at everyone deemed an enemy.)
Just to say on this matter of Stella Nyanzi I am in full support of Janet Museveni over Nyanzi.
I would have sided with Nyanzi over the First Lady had Nyanzi written her criticism of Mrs. Museveni in the courteous wording that we all know she is capable of.
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