Tuesday, January 29, 2019

SPAM MAIL

Many times we get spam (unsolicited) mail or mail which has been sent to the wrong address(which happens to be ours.)  Spam mail can be quite irritating and attempts to block it often encourage more spam mail  In case one is not desirous to spend money on a Spam blocker, one ends us relocating it to another folder only for the said folder to build up and clog our mailboxes.  Before long, one is unable to receive any more useful mail because the inbox is full.  We have tried various solutions like blocking each mail as soon as it comes, but that can be quite tedious especially when one is away, only to find it clogged.  I have on occasion had to open another mailbox but its gets too laborious inform everyone about the new address.  Others simply purchase a mail blocking software but some simply bring in more viruses and additional spam mail.


Inevitably, our efforts are often not enough until we seek out the experts who show us what to do. Some of these experts do not even charge for their services because of the simplicity of what has to be done.  Indeed, sometimes they will ask us to block some mails or take some form of action, but it is much easier to do when you are being guided than trying out so many frustrating things on your own.  More often than not , all that will be required of us is much lighter than we think.   This might include increasing the frequency with which our spam mail box deletes its contents, or deleting some mails of those unnecessary mails have read them or after an event is over. If we followed some of these instructions, which we often ignore or are too careless or lazy to do, we end up with clogged mail.

So it is with our lives: We might make a bad financial or emotional decision or ignore to treat a wound that will then fester.  Sometimes we try to treat ourselves or resolve it on our own, but we often lack the expertise or support that we need.  On Day 16 of Season 21, we were enriched by Pr. Chris Nsubuga who preached about how Hezekiah received mail from the King of the Assyrians, one Sennacherib threatening to destroy Jerusalem ( 2 Kings 19 : 14). 





 Hezekiah had earlier tried to appease Sennacherib by apologising and paying him off with silver that was in the house of the Lord !! (Verse 14 – 16). However, the Assyrian King remained adamant and even insulted the Kingdom of Judah (Verse 17 – 25).  It was clear that Hezekiah had failed in his efforts just as we often fail when we try to please the crowd or the boss or our loved one by doing things that we ideally should not do in the first place.  This time round however, Hezekiah decided not to take things in his own hands for he knew that the battle belongs to the Lord as is stated in 2 Chronicles 20:15  (NKJV) 15 And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.

So Hezekiah decided to take this letter to the Lord in the temple.  The amazing story is that he tells God, in Verse 16 that “ Lord, bow down Your Ear, and hear; open Lord, Your Eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib...to reproach the Living God”. In essence, Hezekiah was saying that *God, you have got mail. Then God sent His Prophet Isaiah to tell Hezekiah that he will be delivered ( Verse 20 – 34) and by verse 37, Sennacherib was a dead man at the hand of his own sons.

So it is with us – we have all received many kinds of mails, both solicited (self inflicted wounds) and unsolicited. Mails that are in the form of eviction notices, threats to shame and embarrass us for what we have done wrong, demand notes to clear some indebtedness, threats to our lives, mail telling us that we worthless, that we are ugly, that we are poor, that we are less than the other, etc  - all types of mail – including that which inflates our ego and makes us forget God, or that causes us to become anxious about the health of a loved one or a loan that has gone bad, mail that is totally unsolicited about the condemnation for a sin that has been long forgiven[1] and forgotten[2], etc

It is simple – we need to just re-direct all this mail to the Father, Our Lord, The Alpha and the Omega. For we are the apple of His eye, we are His Children. He will sort it out. He never fails. Sometimes it might look like it has delayed, but he says He will come through and He always does. For His anger is but for a moment,


His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning. [3

Do you have spam or any other unsolicited mail? Please redirect it to its owner – JESUS




AMEN.


1] For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8:12-13 New King James Version (NKJV)
[2] “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins. Isaiah 43:25  (NKJV) 

[3] Psalm 30:5 (NKJV)

Monday, January 28, 2019

The PIG versus the CAT


In my recent conversations with my lovely quiver, I was trying to explain how I hoped our babies should live and behave. As I expounded on these points, I noticed a cat walking through the compound.  That there was the muse I wanted and I explained thus

There are two animals I would like to talk about: The Cat and the Pig. 

The Cat is a clean animal – period. It is always licking its fur squeaky clean and always chooses carefully where and how to rest.  It will most likely look for the most cozy place to lie down and still keep cleaning its fur.  It walks as though it is tiptoeing – never interested in making a sound. No wonder there is a thing called the CatWalk.  Those who want to excel in it had better watch the cat.  The Cat is always sharpening its claws, ever ready for the kill.  Right from its youth, the cat will always be trained on how to make surprise attacks, how to roll, jump and run away.  Those who own cats know that if you don’t provide a piece of wood for them to sharpen their claws, they will start the timber in your our couch to do that. It is rare to find a cat that is obese like the famed cartoon creature Garfield or as careless as Tom in the famous Tom and Jerry series.  It will ensure that it eats up its entire kill and still lick itself clean.  You might not realise it has eaten.  It is very rare to find a misplaced bit of fur on a cat.   

 

The Cat is also a creature of habit. Choosing one specific place to rest or to ease itself.  The cat doesn’t litter at all.  Even when it wants to “use the bathroom”, the cat will dig up a hole, does its thing, and then covers it up.  Those who stay in apartments know that they need to provide a litter box for their cats. Others will leave a small flap door for the cats to go in and out  of the apartment whenever they feel the need to ease themselves or explore the world.  If you  don’t do this, you will have to hire a professional to find out where the cat has littered.  I wish you luck on that. The cat, claws sharpened and all, will also never rush to catch its dinner.  It is a very patient animal and will not rush to catch its meal. Often, one will notice a cat intently looking at a place and wondering what it is up to. Most likely, it is waiting patiently for the rat or any other rodent to make a mistake, and then it will spring so quickly and catch the unsuspecting prey in clean one swoop like the eagle.  

The Cat also knows where its bread is buttered – for those of us who have lived with cats, we can attest that it will swoon over those it loves or those it knows care for it.  It will avoid the nasty people.  Even when it is about to deliver its young, the cat will look for the most comfortable place – including handbags, suits cases or freshly pressed bed sheets to do so.  In sum therefore, the cat is an animal of class, elegance and royalty.  It has over the centuries been equated to being at the top of society and there is reason for this.

The Pig on the other hand is almost the opposite of the cat.  It is noisy and dirty.  It is also extremely greedy and selfish.  The Pig doesn’t clean up after itself and will even bath in the dirtiest of water.  It lays to rest in the most filthy of places and doesn’t seem to mind whether its excreta is right in front of its nose.  From its infancy, the Pig is always gobbling up anything placed before it and like Oliver Twist, is always asking for more. It will even eat up a cement if it has to.  The Pig is a scavenger and will not lose a minute in eating up anything laid before it. The Pig is ever demanding and ever hungry.  It will eat its young if it feels too hungry.  The Pig has no decorum, no style, no self worth. Nothing.  In my primary School those kids who never wanted to share their eats with others were often referred to as Greedy Pigs. 

No wonder the Bible says in Proverbs 11:22 (NKJV) As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, So is a lovely woman who lacks [a]discretion.  It is no wonder the Pigs is often used to symbolize politicians who seek to satisfy their needs instead of the needs of others.

I challenged my children, after narrating this story that they ought to decide for themselves what they will be – Are they Cats or they are Pigs? Do they treat themselves with dignity? Do they value themselves the way the Lord values them? Do they know that there is  GOD who has given them all things pertaining to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3)?  Do they treat one another as royals or as paupers?  Are they greedy and selfish? Do they know that just as we watched the cat, outside the window, God is also watching them?  I then encouraged them that in my book, they are  Cats. They are far more precious than rubies (Proverbs 3:15), they are the apple of God’s eye (Zechariah 2:8)[1], they are royalty just like the cat is often pictured with royals (1 Peter 2:9)[2]  

Dear Reader, who are you?

Are you a Pig or a Cat?
This post reminds me of Walt Disney's ARISTOCATS

Everybody wants to be a cat
Because a cat's the only cat
Who knows where it's at






[1] For thus says the Lord of hosts: “He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the [a]apple of His eye.

[2] 1 Peter 2:9-10  (NKJV)  But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.



THE QUIVER

A few days ago, I had a chat with my daughters about a number of things. I explained to them why it is important for us (as their parents) to give them the best opportunities and experiences possible, so as to ensure that they reach their maximum potential of innovation and ability.

It is the purpose of the parents, I noted, to ensure that they set off their children to cover a wider path and go beyond the level which any parent can go or accomplish. I explained to these two lovely beauties that while my mother walked barefoot and long distances to go to school, she ensured that we had shoes for school.  We might have walked to and from school at some time, but our parents made it possible for us to have access to public transport means.  Later in life, we also had a vehicle that would ferry us to and from School.  As their parents therefore, we too are trying to ensure that they have, not only shoes, but also a vehicle to take them to school.  My mother might not have had much to eat during school break, save for the occasional mango of the tree, or the groundnuts that her mother ( bless her soul) prepared for her to pack, but she ensured that we had some snacks packed for us.  We on the other hand are making sure that our children are able to benefit from the meals provided by the school. Aluta Continua.


As I looked deep into the eyes of our babies, I further explained that they are our arrows which we shoot out to achieve what we envision for them.  This is because we are stewards,  entrusted to look after them in the best and safest way possible becase they belong to our Master Jesus Christ. Therefore as obedient servants/ co-workers/ joint heirs with Christ, we do our best to ensure that HE is pleased with us.  Just like Jesus prepared the 12 disciples and mentored them to go out in to the world and cause a revolution, we too prepare our children.   Like the archer, we prepare our arrows ( read children) and get them ready to do \ exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in them ( Ephesians 3: 20)

The Bible says in Psalm 127:3-5 New King James Version (NKJV)
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

Our children therefore are our arrows.  With the help of Him who entrusted them to us, we ought to and indeed shall do our best to make them sturdy, strong and valiant to be able to pull down any strongholds that are in their path and in the end, achieve their fullest potential

Amen.

We Still need a Regulatory Impact Assessment before a Religious and Faith Based Organisations Policy (RFBOP)




On Saturday 19.01.2019, I had the privilege to moderate a conversation on the aforementioned proposed Religious and Faith Based Organisations Policy.  The conversation was organised under the auspices of the Fellowship of Christian Unions (FOCUS).  It was held at Piato Restaurant. FOCUS normally has monthly meetings and this was one of them.

The main presentation was made by Mr. Shem Byakagaba who has been hired as a Consultant for the Directorate of Ethics and Integrity. Rev. Canon Aaron Mwesigye under whose docket this policy falls, was also in attendance. The discussants were Pr. Michael Kyazze and Mr. Edward Sekabanja (President Emeritus of the Uganda Christian Lawyers Fraternity).We then had a plenary.
Various reasons were given for the need to have this policy. Key amongst these was the fact that Section 2.2 of the NGO Policy 2010, mandated the State to come up with a policy. It states -
Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs) which until now have been obliged to register as NGOs, shall not fall under the ambit of NGO Policy. However, where an FBO is engaged in NGO – type activities as defined herein, the FBO shall be required to comply with the provisions governing the activities of NGOs in Uganda. Until Government takes measures to provide an appropriate separate framework for promoting coordination of the spiritual activities of Faith Based Organizations in the country, the existing arrangements shall obtain.
These reasons were also stated in a document entitled “CONCEPT NOTE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE NATIONAL POLICY ON RELIGIOUS AND FAITH-BASED ORGANISATIONS IN UGANDA, 2016.”[1]  Namely; that there was need for one law under which the RFBOs should operate (so as to make it easier to coordinate and monitor them);  that there is “significant disharmony within and among various RFBOs and, therefore, the need to regulate RFBOs in order to protect citizens’ rights and promote harmonious co-existence.”  It was also stated that “there has been reported lack of accountability and transparency in the management of RFBOs which if not mitigated could lead to gross exploitation and manipulation of the citizens”[2] thus making it “practically impossible to harmonize, regulate and monitor the operations of RFBOs under the current legal framework.”[3]
Alot of comments were made from those in attendance and I will highlight a few  -

         §        Must there be regulation by government or shouldn’t there be self regulation? In any case, what exactly is the need for “engagement with government” and what forms will it take?
         §        What exactly are the reasons for the policy?  Is lack of co-ordination amongst the RFBOs the actual problem or can lack of a single law be a problem?
         §        How will GOU be able to coordinate spiritual activities, let alone  regulate conduct which is really part and parcel of spirituality?
         §        Who is pushing for the Policy? Isn’t it an up down concept and yet it should be a down up policy? (Meaning that the stakeholders should be the ones to push for it and not the government)
         §        Who finally decides what the policy should contain? Government or the stakeholders? How will it be implemented in any case when most legislation is hardly ever implemented?
         §        Matters of faith and religion remain with my heart. State will not be able to regulate them
         §        Criminal laws are wide enough to cover any criminality
         §        What exactly is the definition of a religious and faith based organisations?
         §        Will it cater for the Uganda traditional healers, e.g Mama Fiina, or cults like Bishaaka, etc? What about “traditional” religions like the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church? The Orthodox Church? etc
         §        Have there been complaints from the stakeholders? What exactly are the complaints?
         §        How will government be able to legislate against conduct and not against faith yet the two go hand in hand?
         §        Are  Faith based organisations the same as Religious organisations?
         §        Were the ministries under which the current registration is being done consulted first? Is NGO Board complaining?
         §        Freedom of worship includes obnoxious worship and the same goes for freedom of speech. It must protect all – even the most obnoxious.  Freedom of association includes the freedom not to associate – the smallest church has the right not to associate.  There will always be good and bad churches. Beware about the separation of church and state vis avis the push for  a state religion
         §        There is dishonesty in the way the policy is being fronted. There is even a Private members Bill on the same issue in the corridors of Parliament
         §        Freedom of Religion ICCPR and UDHR and – includes monist, theistic, atheistic beliefs – has that been considered yet?  There is a distinction between freedom of thought and belief and their manifestation in Article 18. The manifestation is what is subject to regulations and policies.  There is need to clarify between the two;
         §        The most important form of government is self government. The bigger the government, the more trouble. There is sufficient law in this country – Government is silent about the traditional religion –

The above views, are but a summary of many other views that were expressed during the plenary session. I am sure there will be a proper record of the same.
                         
However, the above views, and the largely unsatisfactory responses to them simply reiterated my previous opinion/blog that there is need for a Regulatory Impact Assessment that clears the air on many of these issues.  As long as it is not done, it will be very difficult for the stakeholders to have a buy in on this proposed policy and equally difficult for the proposers to not only convince their stakeholders, but also themselves about the way to package this Policy.



[1] The document is allegedly prepared by: The Directorate for Ethics and Integrity, Office of the President, P. O. Box 7142, Kampala dated April 2016. However, Rev. Canon Aaron Mwesigye seemed to indicate that this concept note was not the final version. He noted that the additional documents availabe are the Draft Policy 2015, a Consultation Report of 2017, a  Study Research Report 2018 and a Retreat Report 2019 which is yet to be released

[2] ibid
[3] ibid

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Land Justice or Injustice


Land Justice or Injustice

By D.R.Ruhweza

Recently, I attended the funeral service of my relative. It was a sad event especially in light of the fact that she left three young boys.  I cannot help but think about the challenges of growing without one’s biological mother and the impact this has on the psyche of a child.  Whereas I do acknowledge that some of the challenges of being an orphan can (and have been) ameliorated by having other relatives take over the responsibilities to nurture and raise the child, I couldn’t help to imagine how these young boys would turn out in future.  That however is a story for another day

The second thought that crossed my mind as I watched my relative’s coffin lie still and quietly in the compound (as speeches were being delivered) is the land on which she was going to be laid to rest.  My thoughts trailed to the land question in Uganda generally.  While carrying out research on land justice two years ago, I was made alive to the fact that land and culture are so deeply entwined.  The research report was entitled "Without Land, there is No Living."

According to our research, the young boys who have been left behind by my sister would ideally not inherit the land of their maternal ancestors.  Rather, this patriarchal society expected that the young lads would seek to have a piece of the land that was left by their paternal ancestors.  In cases where the mother had left the father under very unpleasant circumstances, the young boys would remain at the mercy of their maternal relatives, often being chased away as soon as they had reached the age of maturity.  The girl child was and is often not seen as one of those who would benefit from the land of her father whether she was married and had left the home, or not.  This situation is now changing with more and more courts applying the human rights standards to apportion equal share among children in such circumstances.  This doesn’t mean that the conflicts / cultural have now ceased or ended.  The fight is still on.  One success story after another.

As my relative was being laid to rest, I watched as one of my nephews broke down in tears. He was inconsolable.  As the funeral rites settle, it is most likely that he will be raised by his maternal grandmother.  More importantly, as his maternal relatives, may we be willing to let him and his brothers inherit his mother's portion of the land of her father, knowing very well that we have the choice to share this land equally and to leave a legacy of love and human kindness.  This is the land, where she grew up.  This is the land where she played, and danced, and jumped and made merry, and found love and begat her children and is now buried.  This is the land where love has been conquered and forgiveness triumphed.  It has also been the cause of hope and faith in humanity.  We are born to fight for it, till it, own it, share it or give it away. We have the duty to create a legacy of human kindness or else we shall also leave it behind for the others to prowl and quarrel in a vicious cycle of ingratitude and selfishness.

P.S. My musings have not been caused by any conflict or disagreement over this specific land. They are but musings.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

What they will not teach you at Law School – Building Social Capital

She walks into my office and confidently greets me.  We exchange pleasantries.  She is in familiar territory because I know her well.  This is my former student. She finished law school and is pursuing professional studies elsewhere. My mind quickly runs back to a recent graduation ceremony I attended. The person who invited me to witness his graduation celebration is yet another familiar face. The details might be for another post. However, the other person who is jointly celebrating the successful completion of the same degree is totally new to me. I would easily have passed her on the streets.  My mind wonders back to the current visitor who is seated before me.

I notice that this rookie lawyer is confident and comfortable in the visitor’s seat.  The young lawyer is talking about plans for the future and other relevant information. We discuss the rationale for a continuation of the Manhood Vs Maleness conversations. “Most students go through law school unnoticed and ineffectual” my young visitor says.  I agree.  It unfortunately is a story for many a young lawyer from our Universities today.  This reality hits home when the lawyer returns to their alma-mater seeking for a recommendation - either for a job or for further studies. They tiptoe from office to office, knocking fearfully and prayerfully, hoping to find a former lecturer in a good mood who will not try to ask too many questions.  Unfortunately, most law lecturers are by nature or design, very inquisitive.  They will hesitate to recommend a candidate they hardly know because their reputation is at stake.  So the applicant has to knock at the next door, trying to remember the name of another outgoing student with whom they shared a class

Applicant:                                  I was classmates with Bwesigye Brian ( now called   Bwesigye Bwa Mwesigire- real name by the way)

Alleged Former Lecturer:               Yes. I recall Mr. Bwesigye but unfortunately i don’t recall you

Applicant:                                         ... but you did teach me Constitutional Law

Alleged Former Lecturer:               Well that is what you say but I have no recollection of doing that and I am unable to professionally start conjuring up information about who you are as required by the recommendation form. Isn’t there any Lecturer you know?

Applicant:                                         No Sir (or Madam). I have just run away from the office 
                                                 and I really need to submit this today.  (Meaning that the student has arrived at the last moment and their emergency must suddenly become yours)

Alleged Former Lecturer:               Unfortunately am unable to help you

This type of conversation will occur again and again until the student either gives up or finds a lecturer that will remember them. 

The above scenario is obviously avoidable.  It is so easy to catch the attention of the lecturer(s) by either being active in class, having stellar performances, seeking for counsel after the lecture, handing in an extra assignment for grading or even volunteering   / assuming some leadership roles in other co-curricular activities like Mooting, the Students Law Society, the  Students Christian Union, among others.  For example, my former student Bwesigye Mwesigire started the Prima Facie Magazine and approached me to become its first patron.  My current student Wadidi Francis has started two organisations while at law School – Objective  XXIX and NetMak.  Another student started an organisation to take the Christmas love to the disadvantaged people in Kumi, Northern Uganda. Other students have been involved at the University’s local Rotaract Club or the Debating Society.  

In all these organisations, they have either accepted to implement the advice we have given them, or involved us or even invited us to participate (and sometimes occupy positions of leadership on their Boards).  This co-curricular interface with the students in a professional way not only helps them to explore their leadership skills, but they have an opportunity to improve their negotiating skills, advocacy skills, writing skills( for proposals for funding), etc.  We also get the opportunity to easily identify who to recommend to certain places – like research positions – when we are asked by high profile legal professionals –for such recommendations.

Therefore, the student who seeks to better themselves is certainly a much better student.  Unfortunately, such information will not be taught at the class room of the Law School – at least, not yet.  The wise student will therefore need to get out of their comfort zone, be pro-active and seek to improve themselves whether individually or in tandem with others.