Friday, July 26, 2013

“How The Crane Got Its Crown: A Ugandan Folk Tale”

From the Daily Monitor
By Charles Onyango Obbo
Wednesday, 24 July 2013
How the crane got its crown… and why today it is so sad

Sometime back I was sniffing around for the latest books on Uganda. Down at the end of the list, there was this “How The Crane Got Its Crown: A Ugandan Folk Tale”.

It is a children’s storybook, written and illustrated by Olivia Nakiingi Infield.

Since I couldn’t remember reading a folk tale about how the crane got its crown, I went on Amazon.com and ordered it. Two weeks ago the book arrived.

First to Olivia. We are told she wrote the book when she was 12. The book was published in July 2012, so knowing how long it takes to bring books to market even by the best American publishers, she probably finished it around mid-2011. Therefore, today she would be about 15. That is about right, because we learn that she is “now a high school student and lives in Kampala”.

Olivia writes that; “The characters in my book are based on my trips to various national parks in Uganda”, and that she hopes the book will encourage people of all ages (including your columnist, yes) to “appreciate the animals of the plains”.

It is a beautifully written and illustrated book. If you haven’t bought it for your little one, it’s worth all $16 of it.

So, what is the story and why should a grown bearded man like myself bother with it? The safest way not to spoil it is to quote the summary on the back, I guess.

“A long time ago on the African Plains, when the earth was flat and the sun never set, a terrible drought threatened the lives of the animals that lived there.

“Lion, king of the animals, is a wise leader and calls all the animals to an emergency meeting to see what can be done. First he sends cheetah, the fastest of the animals, and then elephant, the largest of the animals, to find water. But both fail.

“Finally, lion calls on crane. Crane devises a plan, and along with all the other Ugandan cranes, they fly into the sky to peck at the rain-filled clouds, high above the mountains. Water flows from the clouds and into the lake below.

“Crane is awarded a crown for saving all the animals. Today, the crowned crane is Uganda’s national emblem and can be seen in the centre of the Ugandan flag. And  that is How the Crane Got Its Crown.”

You must be smiling now, because I am sure you can see where this story is going. Olivia wrote the book so that we can all appreciate the animals of the plains. But  unbeknownst to her, at the age of 12, she also wrote one of the best Ugandan political commentaries of recent years.

In today’s real political life, we could say the crane got its crown for service to country. However, today every day is a reminder of how those who are trusted with power, with teaching our children, with spending our taxes prudently, and protecting the weak do everything that is against the spirit of Olivia’s crane. The crane on our flag has become a daily indictment of our failures.

Lion, king of the animals, is a strong animal. But he was wise, and democratic. He called an assembly to discuss what could be done to deal with the drought.

Today’s Uganda’s Lion King may or may not be wise. But he definitely is not democratic. He knows all, and doesn’t listen to wise counsel — except his own voice. And he beats down other animals that don’t agree with him.

Then crane flies to peck the cloud “along with all the other cranes”, i.e. with all Ugandans. And it is not just one crane that got the crown. All cranes got the crown. See? Everyone who works, everyone who is a citizen, gets to slice a piece of the cake.

That is what Uganda should be. Unfortunately, it is not. Not every Ugandan gets the cake. Not all the cranes that peck the cloud get crowns. Matter of fact, the cranes that peck the clouds today get nothing or little. The ones that don’t peck the clouds, get almost everything.

Things have changed. Today you have to be related to, be a favourite, a selected party mate, possibly even sweetheart, of a big crane or one of the big lions to get a crown.

In recent years, I have taken a very active interest in nature. Well before Olivia’s book, I had always been struck by the fact that the Crested Crane is an unhappy bird. Its eyes don’t twinkle delightfully like the parrot’s. Its crown and feathers aren’t as bright as the one that we draw on the national flag.

Thanks to Olivia’s book, now I know why the modern crane is so sad.

cobbo@ke.nationmedia.com
Twitter: cobbo3
Hat tip:  Lindsey Hilsum ‏@lindseyhilsum retweet: 
https://twitter.com/cobbo3/status/359952312476774400

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sudan files complaint to AU against Uganda's support for rebels

Report from English.news.cn published 20 July 2013; 16:55:46: 
Sudan files complaint to AU against Uganda's support for rebels           
KHARTOUM, Sudan - 20 July 2013 (Xinhua) -- Sudan has filed a complaint to the African Union (AU) against Uganda over its support for rebel insurgency against Khartoum, Almeghar Alsyasi daily reported Saturday.
The paper quoted Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Rahamtalla Mohamed Osman as saying that the Sudanese government "is waiting for the AU's response to its complaint."
"When we receive the AU's response, then every session will have a different discussion," he added.
Khartoum has been accusing Kampala of supporting and providing shelter for rebel movements fighting the Sudanese government.  Editor: Luan
Source:  http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/africa/2013-07/20/c_132558465.htm
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Further Reading

URGENT: South Sudan army says it and UN unable to protect civilians in Jonglei State. Western powers are worried the violence will escalate into full civil war. (UPDATE 1: Added YouTube video link) 
Full story at Sudan Watch, Thursday 18 July 2013:
http://sudanwatch.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/urgent-south-sudan-army-says-it-and-un.html
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DR Congo:  Over 30,000 Congolese flee rebel attacks to Uganda: UN
KAMPALA, Uganda (AFP) 13 July 2013 –  More than 30,000 refugees from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo fleeing a rebel attack on the town of Kamango have arrived in neighbouring Uganda, UN officials said on Saturday...
Full story at Congo Watch, Monday 22 July 2013:
http://congowatch.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/dr-congo-over-30000-congolese-flee.html
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DR Congo:  Heavy fighting has resumed between the Congolese army and the M23 armed group in the Mutaho-Kibati area, near Goma, in N. Kivu Province
HEAVY fighting has resumed between the Congolese army and the M23 armed group in the Mutaho-Kibati area, near Goma, in N. Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Excerpt from 22 July 2013 Daily Press Briefing by the UN's Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General...
Full story at Congo Watch, Tuesday 23 July 2013:
http://congowatch.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/dr-congo-heavy-fighting-has-resumed.html 
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CAR:  Communiqué of the AU PSC on the situation in the CAR
Communiqué of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 386th meeting on the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) [Last Updated on Friday 19 July 2013]:  The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 386th meeting held on 19 July 2013, adopted the following decision on the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR)...
Full story at:  Congo Watch, Friday 19 July 2013
http://congowatch.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/car-communique-of-au-psc-on-situation.html
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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Uganda charges four in alleged coup plot

ACCORDING to the following news report by Aljazeera online, four men who worked in the office of renegade army general David Sejusa have been charged with plotting to overthrow Uganda's long-serving president, their attorney said ... intelligence agents who worked under self-exiled general David Sejusa will face court martial for suspected "treachery".  Full story:

Report from Aljazeera dated Friday 19 July 2013 18:06:
Uganda charges four in alleged coup plot

Four men who worked in the office of renegade army general David Sejusa have been charged with plotting to overthrow Uganda's long-serving president, their attorney said.

Ugandan lawyer Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi on Friday said all four men who worked as intelligence agents in the office of Sejusa will face a court martial for alleged “treachery” an offence as serious as treason under Ugandan military law and which carries the death penalty.

He said the charge sheet alleges the four engaged in "activities intended to overthrow the legitimate government of Uganda,'' the same charge Sejusa is likely to face if and when he returns to Uganda.

Sejusa's aides were secretly charged weeks ago and are now detained in a quasi-military facility near the capital, Rwakafuuzi said.

Self-exiled in London

Sejusa, 58, is a member of Uganda's military high command and a decorated hero of the bush war that brought Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to power nearly three decades ago.

He is now in self-imposed exile in London after raising concerns that Museveni is grooming his son to become Uganda's next president. The general has since postponed his return to Uganda, saying his life is in danger.

In a letter to the head of Uganda's domestic spy agency, Sejusa had urged an investigation into reports of an alleged plan for the first son to succeed Museveni as president. The letter, which was later leaked to a Ugandan daily, also raised concerns that high-ranking army officers like Sejusa himself risked assassination if they opposed this succession project.

Museveni has never said he sees his son as his political heir. But the son, a senior army officer named Muhoozi Kainerugaba, has been rapidly promoted in recent years, leading many here to believe he is being prepared for high office.

Kainerugaba is now a brigadier with full command of the country's special forces, an elite group within the military that protects the president and guards national assets such as oil fields.

Uganda has not witnessed a single peaceful transfer of power since independence from Britain in 1962.
Photo:  Ugandan General David Sejusa is now in self-imposed exile in London [Al Jazeera]
Source: Agencies
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2013/07/2013719152359907873.html

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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Eastern DR Congo: Over 30,000 Congolese flee rebel attacks to Uganda: UN

Report by AFP dated 13 July 2013 reprinted by Fox News.com:
Over 30,000 Congolese flee rebel attacks to Uganda: UN

KAMPALA, Uganda (AFP) 13 July 2013 –  More than 30,000 refugees from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo fleeing a rebel attack on the town of Kamango have arrived in neighbouring Uganda, UN officials said on Saturday.
Streams of refugees have crossed the border into western Uganda's Bundibugyo district since the attack on Thursday.

United Nations refugee agency official Karen Ringuette said that as of late Friday, more than 30,000 had entered Uganda, updating a previous tally of at least 23,000.

So far, there had been no further updates of numbers arrived on Saturday, Ringuette added.

The town of Kamango in the northernmost part of North Kivu province was attacked and briefly occupied Thursday by a Ugandan-led rebel group, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

Ugandan army spokesman Paddy Ankunda said Saturday that troops have been sent to reinforce positions along the border with Congo.

"We have deployed enough forces on our common border to ensure these terrorists (ADF) do not cross the line, because Uganda is their target," Ankunda told AFP.

"We are in contact with Congolese army and the situation is getting back to normal, but people have continued to enter Uganda fearing the rebels will kill them."

The ADF was formed in the mid-1990s in the Rwenzori mountains in western Uganda, close to the DR Congo border.

Part of the ADF is now based in DR Congo after Ugandan government forces attacked their bases two years ago.

Photo:  A mother carries her baby at Rwamwanja refugee camp in western Uganda on February 28, 2013. More than 30,000 refugees from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo fleeing a rebel attack on the town of Kamango have arrived in neighbouring Uganda, UN officials have said. (AFP/File)
Source:  http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/07/13/over-30000-congolese-flee-rebel-attacks-to-uganda-un/

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