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.

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  • Aye. Things went to hell. It's quite interesting how there was a quote of the Police Chief saying there would be no tear gas, and then it ended up in live bullets. Live friggin' bullets.

    By Blogger The 27th Comrade, at 12:30 PM  

  • Josh, hey man. Tomorrow, I will interviewing and speaking with the Chief of Police for 2 whole hours. I am so frustrated that an innocent Asian man got killed - and all the President of MY COUNTRY can do is keep this whole Big Man thing going. But then I guess that is Africa's problem. How can we even break it down to Envy, like Baz said? I am livid - as livid as a bad habit on crack can be.

    Ps. Hi.
    Ps. 2. Maybe you are already here.

    By Blogger Dennis Matanda, at 4:00 PM  

  • Will you keep us posted here? I really would like to know the details on how this progresses...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:27 AM  

  • So I interviewed the Police Chief. What a waste of space and time! All he spent the time doing is positioning and blaming the people who went on strike. He did not, even once, speak of the core of the problem - decision to give out the forest.

    I have been out of circulation for the past 5 days - on account of some disease - but I saw the papers today and found that the President's wife is actually taking the side of the people who have been assigned the forest!

    I am still in shock.How can she be so insensitive? I wonder if any of these people in power have read Dr. Arnold Ludwig's book 'King of the Mountain' which talks of insanity amongst leaders who stay in power for too long!

    By Blogger Dennis Matanda, at 1:02 PM  

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