The Dark Side of Mobilization
Today is one of those days I wish I was back in Kampala so I could cover the Mabira Forest Controversy first hand. To recap, the Government wants to hand over one of the nation's most prominent tropical forest to Kakira Sugar Works, a subsidiary of a huge Asian-owned conglomerate. This week, a massive, grassroots environmental campaign was launched (mostly through SMS campaign) to block the deal.
Last week, we wondered what the results of such a massive mobilization would be. Western observers may be saddened that the results may be far from positive, and even catastrophic. A peaceful protest march in Kampala gave way to anti-Asian riots which resulted in three deaths, including one Asian who was stoned to deal in the streets. The riots, as often is the case in mayhem below Kampala road, had nothing to do with the original cause of the protest. Baz put it cynically, yet probably accurately: "Envy has turned into racism, which has turned into murder."
On the positive side, a coalition of concern environmentalists presented a petition to the Parliament to halt the proposed land give away. We will have to wait and see what happens next.
Note to Uganda bloggers:
Jackfruity has malaria, but I bet we can cure her by leaving get well soon comments on her blog.