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The East African : November 10th 2013
Illustration: John Nyagah 22 The EastAfrican OPINION NOVEMBER 2-8,2013 LAST WORD Making the zombie walk in Indonesia is the ultimate exp≥ession of love… Walking corpses of Indo- nesia? A bizarre ritual in a village in Toraja district of Indonesia’s South Sulawesi Province involves giving decomposed corpses a new look by exhuming them and dressing then in new clothes. Family members of the deceased exhume their ancestors’ bodies and change their clothes as a way of remembering them. They then walk the dead around the village, almost like zombies. The ritual, called Ma’nene, happens every three years to express the villagers’ love for the deceased. ... Dead man walking the ultimate stunt Ho Lung walked calmly Joachim Buwembo Why diss Ruba≥ami≥a fo≥ making up with the NRM? It’s his ≥ight quit the main opposition political party FDC, and pledged to work with the chairman of the ruling NRM party and president of the republic, Gen Yoweri Museveni. Rubaramira was one of the first high-profile Ugandans to declare his HIV status and has for many years been an activist battling to roll back the epidemic. He said he was opting to work with the NRM and its chairman because they had the most capacity to back his struggle. Tell that to the marines, many com- W mentators retorted. On social media and in public discussions, people denounced the retired major, citing his tireless support for former FDC chief Kizza Besigye’s bid to unseat Museveni in the past three general elections. In 2007, Rubaramira was publicly beaten up by a military police officer and got his spectacles broken in an incident captured by television cameras. The major was so stunned by the unexpected blows, he pitifully kept asking, “What have I done” What have I done?” Because of what he has undergone, the public cannot now understand how he can link up with the ruling party. e Ugandans can be an insensitive lot. The other day, Maj Rubaramira Ruranga (retd) apparently It appears we neither recognise the man’s right to (re)join any party of his choice nor the fact that the NRM is a lawfully registered party that has the right to woo supporters from other parties into its fold. Our insensitivity also came to the fore the same week after the Deputy Speaker of parliament Jacob Oulanya commented on his not-so-secret rivalry with his boss, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga. After he accused her of setting him up to chair controversial debates that cast him in bad light, and her rebuttal with examples to show that she chairs the most controversial ones and that her deputy only has himself to blame if he looks bad to the public, another interesting revelation arose about the strained relationship. Oulanya took his matrimonial vows recently and do you want to guess what wedding present parliament chose to give him? A portrait of the Kabaka of Buganda, so we are told. Any Ugandan hearing this for the first time will jump out of their skin. It is like giving a devout Muslim a portrait of the Pope for his wedding present. No crime committed but extremely insensitive and undiplomatic. For Oulanya comes from the northern region, and the Kabaka of Buganda is the opposite of their hero. The forcible abolition of the kingdom in 1966 that led to the Kabaka’s dying a pauper in exile in 1969, was the work of northern leaders and “their northern army.” What parliament reportedly did to Oulanya on his wedding was like giving a Muganda monarchist a portrait of Milton Obote for his wedding present. We did not stop there. In the wake of the Westgate terror strike in neighbouring Kenya, we have thrown out sensitivity to minorities’ interests in the name of security. Now security in connivance with hotel and lodge owners have stopped allowing people of the same sex to book one room. So even an impoverished gay couple has to book two rooms instead of one. How disruptive! Joachim Buwembo is a Knight Inte≥national Fellow fo≥ development jou≥nalism. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org to hospital with a 10-inch knife buried in his skull in Jilin province in northeast China. The injured man cheated death after a prank with friends went horribly wrong and he ended up with the fruit knife embedded in his brain. He was so calm that medics said the receptionist was at first not sure if it was some sort of stunt. An emergency x-ray showed that the knife blade penetrated through his skull and into his brain but had missed his main blood vessels. This allowed doctors during a three-hour operation to remove the blade without apparently causing any significant damage. Zim’s Mr Ugly has a beautiful approach Zimbabwe’s Mr Ugly 2012 has fought off stiff competition to claim a second successive title this year. William Masvinu was crowned the most “aesthetically challenged” man in the Mr Ugly Harare contest last year, but this year he beat off compe- tition from 11 other “worthy challengers,” receiving a year’s school fees for one of his children as his prize. His manager Michael Gum- bo says his client is a true pro and the little work they did on his outfit and routine was secondary to his natural talent. Born on the wrong side of the tracks indeed A newborn miraculously escaped in India after being born inside the toilet of a moving train and slipping onto the tracks. Afroza Bibi was with her pregnant daughter Rehani Bibi when they boarded the Lalgola passenger train. When the train pulled into a railway station, Rehani went to the toilet and, much to her surprise gave birth to the baby. Her surprise turned to horror when the newborn infant slipped down the toilet’s outlet and onto the train tracks below. Fellow passengers pulled together to stop the train and rescue the baby. Spending $1,500 to save $100 – and make a point A Canadian man who spent nearly $1,500 to successfully contest a $100 parking ticket said he was trying to make a point. Vic Bryant of New Westminster said he challenged the parking violation he received when his son parked in a spot determined by authorities to be too close to a driveway. Bryant, who paid nearly $1,500 in legal fees, said, “It is not the fine that is the important issue but the fact that I was unable to exercise my right of defence.” Jail b≥eak in ≥eve≥se: Man p≥otests w≥ongful ≥elease People normally protest against wrongful confinement but complaints about wrongful release from prison are unheard of. Walter Dixon knew that he was about to be relocated from a correctional facility in Chicago in December last year to begin serving a new federal drug conspiracy sentence, but instead, state officials mistakenly freed him. Dixon protested, but said he was aggressively dismissed from the premises. It was not until September this year that he was finally re-arrested and began his new sentence. Dixon was easily located because, though free, he had met regularly with his parole officer and was taking several vocational courses.
November 3rd 2013
November 18th 2013