As manic as a beat poetry gathering in New York or a circumcision ceremony in eastern Uganda, last Thursday's Ugandan Blogger Happy Hour was a mirthful gathering of creativity and wit. Poetry was recited, radical political doctrines defended, and blogging obsessions confessed. The first gathering of its kind in Uganda, the event laid the groundwork for the relationships necessary to establish a strong, meaningful and vibrant Ugandan blogging community.The event will take place monthly in Kampala, and there are plans to feature ‘Uganda Best of Blogs’ awards:
At last week's Uganda Bloggers Happy Hour, I may at one point have been so overcome with spirited enthusiasm that I declared an upcoming blogging competition without real regard to who would organize, sponsor or regulate such a competition.
The topics of conversation at Thursday night's Inaugural Uganda Bloggers Happy Hour ranged from cell phones to Alice Lakwena to the transvestitical possibilities of Philip Seymour Hoffman. The Jabberwocky was recited, blogging addictions were confessed, heaven was declared to be just like North Korea, and the Ugandan blogosphere gained a fanboy. Also, we unanimously agreed that Inktus is hot.
Northern Uganda and the Horn of Africa
In Uganda, stories about foreign relations with countries from East Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and America dominate the headlines and the blogs.
As Juba peace talks between the Government and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) continue to stall, the LRA's colorful and enigmatic spokesman in Nairobi called for the talks to be moved from Sudan to Kenya, citing bias on the part of the Government of Southern Sudan.
While the partners in the talks squabble over location, the people of northern Uganda held their first joyous New Year's celebration in two decades, celebrating the fact that at least one million displaced persons were able to return home in 2006. However, the first weeks of the new year brought increased fear that the blundering of the peace talks would lead to a return of abductions and violence in the North.
On to the Horn of Africa, where a conversation between President Museveni and President Bush led to the Ugandan announcement that they would take a lead in a peace keeping mission in Somalia, following the routing of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) by the Ethiopians over Christmas. In an African Minute weighs in on whether Uganda is ready to send its troops to foreign lands:
So is it a good idea that Uganda, at the urging of American Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice, recently pledged over 1,000 troops for stabilizing the region?
Well, it depends. Anarchy in Somali ports, a major port of entry for small arms, is one major reason that the Horn and East Africa are so destabilized. Guns from Somali ports feed the most dilapidated war zones in the world: southern Sudan, northern Uganda and eastern DRC. Also, no one in the region benefits from a Somali led by Islamists with extremists leanings, who enjoy basking in the support of Saudi Arabia and Iran instead of promoting a moderate image that assures the international community that they will not turn Somalia into a Al-Qaeda training ground.
Ugandan Mercenaries in Iraq and Re-colonization of Africa
According to various sources, Ugandan servicemen serving private military companies in Iraq have a good reputation. Their command of English offers an advantage over Asian and other competitors for non-combat guarding jobs. However in this billion-dollar industry, Ugandans’ share of the booty is being shared by the lack of malpractices at home- and the need for better regulatory oversight.
Also on Sub-Saharan African Roundtable, a well-written but intensely provocative and perhaps evasively satirical unsigned piece calls for the re-colonization of Africa:
I would like to recommend that instead of wasting our time and wringing our hands in helplessness while the rest of the world slowly but surely gets numb to our pain and leaves us behind even faster, we should let these good white folk come back to actually and effectively run our African countries and affairs. Yes – we know that white people control our budgets behind those curtains of donor aid and NGO’s – but they give momentary power to uninstitutionalized Africans – who can, in less than a heart beat, do more damage to a good and viable project than 1,000 barracudas can do to a ton of succulent lean beef!