Wednesday, 12 March 2008
This had me wondering. Had these bookmakers been setting incorrect odds? Were the cashiers getting their sums wrong? Or were Ugandans simply genius gamblers with a penchant for lengthy accumulators that don't fall down due to some freak result in the Scottish Third Division?
The answer, of course, is 'none of the above'. Below the banner headline, and paragraphs of suspicious anecdotes about one particular company (Simba Casino), was the admission that in the newspaper's research they found that "few will admit that they threw away a month's salary on an unlucky weekend of bets". No shock there but a greater concern was why this story was published in the first place and who decided to take such a positive slant on the industry? The whole thing stinks of an elaborate product placement perpetuating the myth that bookies love to push about everyone being a winner. The frontpage was at best ill-advised and at worst brings into question the integrity of the paper.
Thursday, 6 March 2008
"The Church of Uganda has been outspoken about homosexuality 10,000 miles away from here [in reference to Gene Robinson]...but while the house of your mother is on fire you don't talk about other problems"
In my view this is also true about other issues in the Church here. So much emphasis is put upon morality issues, dress and, yes, homosexuality, while many of their flock live with extreme poverty and hunger. In the evangelical church the situation is similar, except humility is invariably thrown out the window altogether. 'Prophetess' Imelda Namutebi, for example, drives round town in a bright yellow Hummer which she allegedly brought for 200 million shillings (~£60k).
Bishop Ochola couldn't be more different. He epitomises what I believe the role of the Church should be in general: to be political without being partisan, to advise without being dogmatic and to be a voice for those who struggle to be heard. His own forgiveness of the Lord's Resistance Army, who terrorised the North for so long, is all the more remarkable given his tragic personal history. His wife was killed by a landmine planted by the rebels and he also lost a daughter, who committed suicide after being gang-raped by the LRA. It is through the inspiration and leadership of people like Bishop Ochola that a long-term peace may finally be achieved in the North.