I would like to thank the Monitor newspaper for agreeing to serialise Dr.Kobusingye's book, particularly after the drama we have been exposed to by Uganda Revenue Authority and Mr. Kivenjinja Kirunda as part of the reasons for holding her book. The Monitor is doing a lot of people a favour because most Ugandans I know don't want to part with their hard earned cash to buy books. Yes, they can talk about it as in like:' Besigye's sister wrote a book which is giving Museveni sleepless', but they never spend money on reading books. It will, however, be easy for them to part with shs.1500 daily to buy a copy of the Monitor just to read about the book chapters and other stuff in the paper. If in the process, so many people buy the Monitor and the sales shoot up, then definitely Dr. Kobusingye and other intended beneficiaries will get something out of it financially. As we all know, a newspaper cannot just serialize one's book without any catch because writing a book is not that easy.
In the same vein, it would be good if the Luganda newspapers such as Eddobozi, Gwanga Mujje and possibly Bukedde(if it wants to prove its independence from the state), do crack a deal with Dr.Kobusingye to do what the Monitor is doing at the moment. This may be helpful to those Ugandans who cannot read and write English to also benefit from this beautiful literature.
From the few chapters I have read so far, the book offers a selected view on the Museveni of today in comparison with the one of 1980s thorough research. While this book paints a rather negative picture of the president, it does remain as a very factual source. The book is written with a lot of sarcasm opinionated in the various quotes made by president Museveni verbally and in writing. The facts I have read so far are entertainingly presented and to be honest, I just cannot stop smiling.
Let us also remember that the world has seen a lot of controversial books being banned and accepted elsewhere. In 1906 in Britain, a book titled:'' The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion'' caused a lot of storm as it claimed to have secret minutes of the Jewish elites planning to dominate the world. The 'protocol' became one of the best selling books of the century before it was overtaken by another one of a similar sort written by an American politician, David Duke, whose research was done in the same way as Dr.Kobusingye's ,i.e. by quoting major Jewish figures and sources as Dr.Kobusingye has also done by quoting Museveni and other big people in the government. As a result, in 2000, the Jews in Russia filed a complaint in the Russian courts of law asking that the Duke's book be declared anti-Semitic and illegal but the courts decided otherwise after one year of examination of the book.
In 1953, the Literature Commission in Georgia (USA) proposed that a book titled: 'Southern Exposure' and authored by Stetson Kennedy is banned because it is filled with filth. This book did a good job of exposing the ill motives of the Ku Klux Klan and racism in USA. The main citation that was picked on for its ban was a statement by one of the southern officials that:'' "The only way we're willing to give the niggers equality is by filling them white". Common sense prevailed and the book was not banned such that the author is now recognised as an award winning one.
In 1999, a book about Adolf Hitler with the title: "Mein Kampf", put the German media company, Bertelsmann, on a collusion course with its online book selling partner, Barnesandnoble.com, because they believed the book was full of hate literature. Amazon continued to sell the book despite protests in some political circles in Germany.
In 2004, I believe a teacher was banned from working in France for questioning the Jewish version of World War Two and he was later sentenced to two years in prison by a French court after he made a film contesting the official Jewish version of an alleged massacre by German forces during the war. The crime was termed a 'thought' crime by the media.
Up to now I cannot understand the definition of a “thought crime”. I don't know whether the term is a technical one. So I guess my quibble is that the French teacher was punished, not for thinking, but for expressing and distributing his thoughts in the form of film. As a supporter of civil liberties, I have no patience for such absurd semantic quibbles.
I'm, however, surprised that the government of Uganda has decided to give Dr.Kobusingye's book free publicity by seizing it at the Entebbe airport. By the way, I remember telling a few Ugandans I interact with through online debates that several people will start writing about the years of NRM rule particularly when president Museveni is out of power, and this will bury the NRM for good, because there is a lot of evidence out there which Ugandans dread to read about. NRM will suffer more than UPC did when Obote left power, and they know it. That's why they will do anything to make sure that they maintain the status-qou. For the meantime, let us all endeavour to buy Kobusingye's book and see if there is anything new she has written about which we did not know.
Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba