Does Federo require 2 days of prayers, eh?

Opinions July 24, 2006

Two days of national prayers show the absurdity of African thinking
Matsiko wa Mucoori

It started as a joke, then progressed into a circus and now it has matured into a laughable reality. When honourable members of a national Parliament, who have attained formal education, resort to fatalism to determine the country’s destiny, you know danger is lurking.
When Ruhama County MP and First Lady Ms Janet Museveni made her maiden contribution in Parliament by declaring that she had examined Uganda’s problems with microscopic exactness and discovered that the cure lies in “two days of national prayers, I laughed to breaking point. I was resting in the belief that no person of modern and scientific learning would lend any slightest attention to such.

That evening I and my pals at our local drinking joint, mentioned Janet’s motion in the House. We all burst into explosive laughter and declined to comment on it because we believed it was an obvious joke.

Shock came the following day upon hearing that the MPs had overwhelmingly endorsed that “two days of national prayer” was a critical and logical solution to Uganda’s prevailing problems. By endorsing the motion, the MPs confirmed their firm belief that Janet had discovered such a great cure, which had eluded them for all these years.

So Uganda’s problems; rising poverty, electricity crisis and the dropping of Lake Victoria’s water level, robbers, killers, defilers, drought, corrupt government officials who swindle money meant to buy drugs for the sick, the poor roads, rising HIV infection, will be best addressed by two days of praying!

Did Janet consult God and so did He tell her that He is not satisfied with the regular Friday, Saturday and Sunday prayers Christians and Muslims hold every week? Could it be the reason why God had been reluctant to help Uganda?

This just shows the inside of the brain of a typical Black African. Africans are not guided by scientific thinking. They survive on belief in a supernatural being because they don’t believe that solutions to their problems are within their means or knowledge. That’s why Africa will remain the most backward continent for centuries. We are so stuck in fatalism that we firmly (but falsely) believe we cannot determine our destiny by ourselves. There must be a divine intervention.

That’s why from Cairo in the north, down to Cape Town in the south, no single Black African has made a discovery of world standard.

When HIV/Aids cases were first detected in Uganda in 1980s, most people first called it a curse from God. Others said it was witchcraft. They had resigned to fate until a non-Black African discovered that actually Aids was caused by a virus called HIV.

This warped Black African thinking is what has ruined and continues to ruin Africa and its populace. Otherwise how would a progressive brain in this 21st century suggest that a country’s material problems are curable by mere prayers? That is why in Africa, we can still have a vice president who engages in live sex with an HIV infected woman and after he has enjoyed his fill, he runs to bathe with soap thinking he will not catch the virus.

When other countries were busy engaged in advance tactical and strategic planning on how to win the World Cup in Germany, Togolese were busy soliciting services of a witchdoctor to help them win the world trophy. Though the witchdoctor was denied a visa to travel.

Recently in Niger, the world’s poorest country whose 60 per cent of the population survives on less than one dollar a day, the President Mamadou Tandja, joined national prayers, like Janet’s, to pray for the seasonal rains to come. All people who went to school know what causes rain and definitely prayers are not among the factors. So if Africa is blessed with such leaders, who seek solutions to their countries’ problems from the divine world, not their brains, how will this continent and its people develop?

Resorting to prayers is an indelible admission of desperation. People go for prayers when they have lost all hope of finding any pragmatic redress to their plight. In Uganda, the problems we have are not spiritual and therefore their solutions do not lie in the prayers. We have government officials who have swindled public money. I would have expected Janet to call for tougher penalties to such fraudsters. She would call for their arrest and prosecution and probably say that upon conviction such criminals should be retired without benefits or should be forced to pay back the stolen money. Do such people need prayers or jail?

If we were to engage in marathon prayers to fight crime, wouldn’t we wake up one day to find the country besieged by criminals? But perhaps Janet and her fellow MPs can help me understand this: How will prayers for instance help raise the water level of Lake Victoria and solve our power crisis? How will prayers solve our poverty? How will they repair our roads? How will the prayers solve cattle rustling in Karamoja? This thinking is just embedded in the Black African mind. Africans always want to blame someone for their dilemma and they will find colonialism their easy target even when what colonialists left behind has been wasted or destroyed by the African pseudo-liberators/revolutionaries.

You will attend a conference presided over by professors and other intellectuals purportedly to tackle Africa’s problems. But speaker after speaker, will be blaming colonialists for Africa’s backwardness. Most present day developed nations were also one time colonised. America, the world’s super power today, was colonised by the British until 1783.

So was Japan, Korea, China, Russia, India etc. But how come they have developed and Africa has not? If colonialism was the cause, how come Ethiopia and Liberia which were never colonised are not Africa’s super powers or the world’s developed economies?

The logical question is: For how long shall we lament about colonialism? The colonialists had no obligation to develop Africa. It’s like blaming the Pope for not promoting Islam. If Africans had colonised Europe, they would have done the same.

The author is a journalist
pmatsiko@monitor.co.ug
0772-431939
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