On Sunday 11th July 2010 19:00 GMT Holland and Spain battled for the World Cup title 2010 kicked off and fans of football the world over settled in front of a television somewhere to watch the beautiful game as they call it. In fact for some this was a big deal, my friend Shelley whose husband is Dutch but now lives in England had told me of her plans for a big family do that day- the family had to get together for this occasion!
I imagine folk in Kampala Uganda had similar plans, folk out there love football and follow European football religiously in fact some plan important events such as weddings around the English football season. Naturally Uganda being a developing country not everyone owns a television or has access to electricity so folk will go to places where they can access the game, besides it appears to me that football is best enjoyed in numbers as even those that have televisions would prefer to watch it it Pubs. My brother Sam is one of those and interestingly he doesn’t drink so he clearly prefers to be part of the football crowd in bar.
I am not a football fan but some in my household are so I was forced to sit down with them and watch the final game. As far as I could work out it was a very close game and the tension could be felt amongst the spectators.
Imagine if you will folk sat in a Pub and a Rugby Club(field) watching the game on wide screen TV with all manner of refreshments flowing the last thing on their mind was that someone amongst them was about to kill them! This is exactly what happened to folk in Kampala Uganda on the evening of 11th July 2010.
For those in diaspora and in fact those in the country our first concern was whether our loved ones were alive . My brother Sam told me he had in fact considered going to that Rugby club but had decided against it for some reason.
As the world woke to such news Al-Shabab, a Somali militia group claimed responsibility for the killings of 74 innocent people. There was anger amongst several Ugandans and in fact some declared to avenge the dead one way of another and this is the basis of my afterthoughts.
Uganda has always been home for many Somali people fleeing their country that has come to be recognized as a failed state and the Ugandan government has a welfare programme for these refugees as far as I understand and this includes cash handouts. One has to wonder why then did they turn on such a generous host?
An even more important question is what will happen to the ordinary Somali in Kampala in the days to come? The President was interviewed on this matter and I share his statements when he calls for calm and urges people not to turn on the innocent Somali people going about their daily lives in Kampala
Another concern I have is one of development! A friend of mine sent a TWEET as he left Uganda on 13 July ( he was due to leave anyway)
it is sad to see so many people leaving Uganda
Where all these other people due to leave Uganda anyway or was this due to the Bombings? I hope that is because they were due to leave anyway.
Uganda went through a terrible time 20 years of civil war, dysfunction etc and the last 24 years have been about rebuilding and rebranding itself as a safe place to be and to transact business. Most agree that it has/had more or less succeeded and they are many non Ugandan Natives that have been happy to call Uganda home. Will this continue to be the case? If not how might this impact the economic development of the country?
to be continued….