Uganda: Poverty and Paris Hilton

Wednesday's Public Poverty Forum in Kampala had one blogger, Tumwijukue, asking, “Did they (re)define poverty? Did they speak of poverty of the mind? Or did they merely use the event as a networking opportunity and an excuse to miss work for the day, rushing to the organizer's table at the end of the forum for the Ushs. 50,000 delegates’ allowance?”

Comments on the post ranged from an emphatic “BURN PARLIAMENT” to “‘…poverty of the mind?’ What minds?” Magoola sardonically suggested, “We all need to just sit back, recline and wait for Bono's solution.”

A continent away, Resolve Uganda senior researcher and conflict analyst Peter Quaranto is asking an equally tough question:

For almost three years, I have been part of the growing movement to press Western governments to respond to the crisis in northern Uganda. International neglect, while aid poured into Kampala, has allowed the war to persist for two decades. Today that silence is history; world leaders from Washington to London to Brussels are speaking about the urgency of resolving the conflict.

Yet priority does not guarantee prudence. In fact, many Western officials have begun making reckless military threats that threaten to undermine the ongoing peace process. It leaves activists like myself wondering: have our efforts been counterproductive?

Meanwhile, Daniel Kalinaki censures Ugandan journalist and Africa Almanac founder Timothy Kalyegira for using the nationally published Daily Monitor, rather than a personal site, to publicize views Daniel claims “destruct and distract” Ugandans:

Tim, like many of us, has his moments of madness. The only difference is that while we spew our madness into cyberspace, Tim does so through a national newspaper…. In a nutshell (at least the way I understand it), Tim says Ugandans go abroad for master's degrees as a fad and that they have nothing to show for it in terms of changing the country when they return. This is a dangerous and false generalisation that needs to be exposed for the fallacy it is. Tim seems to have a problem, not only with higher education per se, but with higher education sought abroad, particularly in western universities. Tim has previously thumbed his nose towards Ugandans who go abroad for ‘kyeyo’ but these same folks keep people in school and food on tables in Uganda.

Lastly, Rafshizzle is deeply concerned about an issue of another kind: Paris Hilton is coming to Africa:

She told E Online: “There's so much need in that area, and I feel like if I go, it will bring more attention to what people can do to help.”

Meanwhile, a source said that Hilton would secretly sneak into Uganda before leaving for Kigali.

I'm not quite sure what the Rwandan locals will make of the beauty, better known for sex tapes, partying and one notorious prison stretch.

Perhaps life behind bars really has changed the Hilton, who vowed to do more charity work when she came out of the clink.

“I want to visit more countries where poverty and children's issues are a big concern. I know there's a lot of good I can do just by getting involved and bringing attention to these issues,” she said after her release recently and now us Ugandans and Rwandans should be proud that we are one of the people she has thought about first.

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