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The East African : Mar 30th 2015
22 The EastAfrican OPINION MARCH 28 - APRIL 3, 2015 LAST WORD Depa≥tment of Innovative Cheating: Biha≥i fathe≥s do it with pape≥ planes The most outrageous imIllustration: Patrick Gathara Joachim Buwembo Old men with iPads, young men who want to ca≥≥y thei≥ b≥iefcases K ampala’s youthful Urban TV has been running a curiously named series — All You Need is 30 years — featuring short biographies of outstanding personalities who died in their thirties after making their mark. They have featured people like Patrice Lumumba, Bob Marley, Jesus Christ, Steve Biko and Thomas Sankara. The series started at around the same time President Yoweri Museveni made a major reshuffle of his Cabinet, bringing in almost a dozen new and old faces with an age difference of up to 50 years. The new Minister for Regional Affairs Philemon Mateke is about 80 years old while his colleague, Minister for Youth Affairs Evelyn Anite, is barely 30 years old. After successfully passing the vetting by parliament’s Appointments Committee, Mateke boasted that he is younger than Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, and will have no problem picking up the modern technological skills required of an MP, now that he is an exofficio member of the legislature. These days, for instance, every MP is issued with an i-Pad to minimise the use of paper. Someone joked that a new i-Pad version called Octo-Pad should be designed for use by octogenarian ministers as we have several of these in the August House. These days, poking fun at ageing of- ficials is getting rather too common in Uganda’s media, which now predictably and unfailingly focuses on dozing min- isters on national Budget Day. I don’t know why they don’t read the boring budget in the morning when everybody is still fresh, and continue to bombard tired old men and women with statistics of the gross national product after they have had a heavy lunch on a hot afternoon. But even as these elderly leaders doze, younger Ugandans don’t seem to have woken up to the opportunity. You do not see any Lumumba, Sankara or Marley on the horizon. All that Uganda’s youth leaders seem to be good at is heckling and acting as mouthpieces for older politicians. So, the setting of the agenda for Ugan- da’s future is still very much in the hands of octogenarians, septuagenarians a in their s why toda remain a fellows. Museve was a te he start tionary f o r m Ug a n - da, beginning with a crusade help pea ants an pa s t or a ists in w ern Uga acquire land titles and start engaging in settled rather than nomadic agriculture. In his twenties, he picked up the gun and started fighting dictatorship. In his thirties, he launched the major fiveyear bush war with a score of other colleagues, mostly university graduates in their twenties and became president as he turned forty. But something has happened in the past twenty-something years and it is not good. Many of our youth finish university and immediately embark on a career of begging. They start by begging for money to throw a graduation party. At the party, every speaker tells them that there are no jobs and they should try and create their own o they proceed to beg ody they know to find a for them and continue beg somebody to buy m a smartphone, which will use to beg some- o buy them lunch… smart ones then look politicians and beg Illustration: John Nyagah allow them to carry iefcases for them. I all these ones “smart” because at least they create their own job, even if it is about begging. After some decades, they will be seen dozing in parliament after having arrived into Cabinet jobs. age of the week was a photo by the Hindustan Times showing parents in Bihar state going to great lengths to help their children cheat in the exams in broad daylight. The photos showed dozens of men clambering up the wall of a four-floor test centre in Bihar state, perched on window ledges as they folded answer sheets into paper planes flown into classrooms. “Should we shoot them?” asked Prashant Kumar Shahi, Bihar’s education minister, addressing a news conference after television news channels aired the incriminating photo and raked up the scandal. “On average, four or five persons were helping each student use unfair means,” Shahi said, adding it was impossible to curb cheating if parents encouraged their children. “Why blame only the students? Are schools imparting proper teaching? They lack quality teachers,” said Sanjeev Kumar Singh, whose son is taking the tests this year. She’s so hardworking she looks like a man An Egyptian widow lived her life as a man for 43 years so she could earn enough money to support her children and grandchildren. Sisa Abu Daooh, 65, was six months pregnant with her first child and living in a highly conservative community in the city of Luxor when her husband died. Unable to support her family as a 21-year-old single mother and unwilling to marry a man she didn’t love, Abu Daooh decided to shave her head, dress herself as a man and seek employment - first as a brick-maker and then as a shoe-shiner once she got older. Free from the threat of sexual harassment, Abu Daooh enjoyed her life as a man so much that even though she has now revealed her true gender, she says she will continue to spend the rest of her life living and dressing as a man. Penis transplants requests flood in Overwhelmed! A South Af- rican doctor, who performed the world’s first penile transplant, has been overwhelmed by requests from around the world for similar surgeries. Besides South Africa, Dr André van der Merwe has been receiving requests from countries like the US, Colombia and Russia. “I had a request from someone in the States who wanted his penis removed,” said Dr Van der Merwe, who has been invited to the US next month to give a presentation on the surgery. He said that although there were a number of people with dysfunctional penises in South Africa, “some are still not willing to come forward and have a surgery done on their penises.” My wife’s in the suitcase and we’≥e ≥eady to t≥avel A Frenchman tried to smuggle his Russian wife into the European Union by hiding her in a massive suitcase, without realising there had been no need for the would-be James Bond scheme. The size of the luggage drew the suspicion of officers, according to border guard spokesman Dariusz Sienicki. Poland’s border guards detained the man, who authorities said was in his 60s, at the railway station in Terespol, an eastern town on the border with Belarus. To their surprise, a woman in her 30s emerged. It was the Russian wife of the owner of the suitcase. Little did they know the woman would have had no trouble entering the passport-free Schengen travel zone, since non-EU citizen spouses are allowed to enter if they can prove their marital ties, so that families can stay together. The couple, who had been taking the train from Moscow to the French city of Nice, were soon released after questioning and decided to return to Belarus.
Mar 23rd 2015
Apr 6th 2015