Keeping it in the family

I’m a Facebook nut. If you don’t know what in the world ‘Facebook’ is, then you’re either of two things- you’re a bit too old to care about social networking sites or you live in some obscure corner of Rwanda that hasn’t yet been overtaken by the Internet revolution.

I’m a Facebook nut. If you don’t know what in the world ‘Facebook’ is, then you’re either of two things- you’re a bit too old to care about social networking sites or you live in some obscure corner of Rwanda that hasn’t yet been overtaken by the Internet revolution.

Facebook is so popular because it’s such a mishmash of so many functions that it becomes a one-stop website; it is where you can see what your friends have been up to, get news via the BBC, see some of your friends photographs, chat and generally spend hours and hours doing a lot nothing-as I like to say.

One of the nifty little tools on Facebook is the ‘status’ function. This tool helps a person know either what mood you’re in, what you’ve been thinking about or anything that grabs your fancy.

It usually reads, for example, ‘Sunny (insert your name in you wish) is…… (you insert anything you choose). Well, two days ago, I signed in and one of my friends status was, and I quote, “…is wishing that she becomes Museveni’s daughter when she grows up”.

I didn’t get it until I saw a headline in the Ugandan state-owed daily, the New Vision that made my mouth drop; Reshuffle: Museveni names Janet, Awori, Jeje ministers!

I couldn’t believe it; could a president appoint a first lady as a minister? It had to be another Janet, I reasoned-nope, it was Mrs Museveni herself, and she was, confusingly enough, the new Minister of Karamoja.

I’ve been a keen observer of East and Central African politics and, as I’ve learnt through the years, whenever you think that things can’t get more comical, someone comes up and surprises you. Ugandan politics is, frankly speaking, circus-like.

Either people are dancing in the streets in dried banana, getting whipped by stick-wielding fellows or getting tear-gassed to damnation. But this one, to me, took the cake.

The President had appointed his younger brother, Gen Salim Saleh, on a couple of occasions but, at least, the fellow is, at least, a war hero and an inaugural member of the National Resistance Movement.

But his wife… that’s something that I can’t work my head around. But lets not pretend to be totally shell shocked by all this; getting your family ahead is the time honoured past time of many leaders and politicians.

Nepotism [the showing of favouritism toward relatives based upon that relationship, rather than on an objective evaluation of ability or suitability] isn’t even much a big deal if you look at it in the harsh glare of daylight.

I mean, the institution of the monarch is one prime example of it. If king or queenship was based on ability and not the genetic roulette table, many a prince would have ended a pauper.

However, I’m not a staunch-republican; in fact, I think the institution of the monarchy has a couple of good points. For what its worth, the well-meaning monarchy can be a stabilising factor.

I mean, look at Great Britain; the only proper civil war it has had to undergo was back between 1642 and 1651. That’s stability my friends.

In business, a dash of nepotism is often the difference between a successful company and a truly dynastic one. Look at the Rothschild’s family; from just one man, a world-wide institution came into being.

Why; because they were unashamedly nepotistic. The fact that a successful father can groom his offspring is one reason why quite a number of companies are older than many independent African nations.

The main raison d’etre of the republican-style form of government, in theory anyway, is the fact that each and every individual, if he/she is able, can rise to the very pinnacle of power.

Ability is everything and bloodline is of no consequence. That is why we have the son of a Kenyan goat-herd as the occupant in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

America isn’t perfect- look at Caroline Kennedy and her Uncle Ted attempt to force her way to the Senate.

Keeping power in the family like Fidel Castro, Heydar Aliyev and the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty is a betrayal of the republican ideal. But hey, if you want to rule forever, just declare yourself king and to hell with the pretence. At least then you’ll know your bloodline will be blue down the ages without the whole sham.

Contact: sunnyntayombya@hotmail.com

 

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